A department is only as wise as its longest-serving members, and this week finds the Department of Internal Medicine a little less wise, and definitely a little sadder. For nearly 40 years, Sydney Harned has solved problems, connected individuals, and kept everyone on time and organized. Last Friday, the Department got to express its thanks and to wish Syd well on her next adventure.
Ms. Harned began her career in the Department in the steno pool, converting dictation notes. She worked in the Divisions of Nephrology and Cardiology, and then entered the front office of Department Administration, working alongside three Department Chairs and a handful of Division Directors along the way. It was fitting and an honor, Cardiovascular Medicine Division Director Dr. Barry London said in remarks, that Ms. Harned spent the last few months of her career in the same division. “Let the record show,” Dr. London joked, “I was the one who got Syd to retire.” He also read remarks from former DEO and Chair Dr. Mark Anderson, with whom Ms. Harned had worked closely for many years.
Ms. Harned’s own comments were filled with a similar lightness, though she did have to pass off the reading to someone else for a moment while she composed herself. (Typical Syd, she had a plan ready for this moment, just in case.) She then opened gifts, including a painting and other artwork.
In addition to socializing and enjoying one last parody song from Division Coordinators (a tradition long upheld by Ms. Harned), guests were also encouraged to sign a poster filled with photos of her from over the years.
It is impossible to summarize what Syd has meant to Internal Medicine, except to say that those who knew her for decades and those who knew for months all feel a similar sense of loss this week. We wish her the very best. Don’t be a stranger, Syd!