University Operators

SMU’s University Operators: More than a friendly voice.

It’s amazing to see how much information new and returning students have to sort through in such a short time. Do you have health insurance? Are you interested in studying abroad? Mom & Dad, have you heard about SMU’s Mothers’ and Dads’ Clubs? Do you have your computer and know what type of software your school requires?

Much of the time, the information can be easily found on the SMU website but many times our parents, the students, and even the staff want someone to talk to directly. When they do, the University Operators are there. While we do have the SMU website that contains contact information, sometimes you need a recommendation for the best person to call for specific situations. That’s where the University Operators come in! It is not uncommon for them to help a parent locate the appropriate faculty or staff member, answer questions about University events and activities, or guide a potential donor to speak to the right representative in the Office of Development. When you call the main campus line at 214-768-2000 (or simply dialing  0  on your office phone) during regular business hours, you’ll be connected with a live person who knows the best individual or office for your inquiry. Here are some introductions to the folks you can look forward to speaking with:

Lisa Appelman, University Operator

Lisa AppelmanLisa joined SMU in March of 2002. Though her husband passed away in 2011, they were married 30 years, and together they have three daughters and two grandchildren. Lisa and her youngest daughter are very involved in the Special Olympics. Lisa enjoys seeing her daughter compete in equestrian riding and swimming. Her favorite movie is Brian’s Song.

Sharon Castro, University Operator

Sharon CastroSharon came to the University 13 years ago after 32 years of service at TXU. She previously worked in telecom but started her career as a telephone operator for the Dallas Power & Light Company. Sharon’s first experience answering calls was using the old plugged switchboard which resembles the one in Lilly Tomlin’s “telephone operator” skit. “I love my job at SMU,” stated Sharon. “After working in the corporate world for so many years – working at SMU has been so surreal. I love the fact that I can make a difference whether it’s helping students or parents with questions, providing directions, or help with any other issues they are having.”  Sharon and her husband recently celebrated their 45th anniversary. They have three children and one granddaughter.

Valeska Fahey, University Operator

Valeska FaheyValeska joined as an operator earlier this year.  She previously worked as a legal receptionist for Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, LLP and prior to that for the Forney Independent School District for 10 years.  Valeska and her husband have been married for 26 years.  They have a 23-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering at church and reading.

Whether you are trying to assist a member of the SMU community or locate information for yourself, the campus operators are available Monday through Friday from 8:00-5:00 PM. When on campus simply dial  0  to connect. The operators can also be contacted by dialing 214-768-2000 for off-campus assistance.

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Laurene Klassen

Laurene Klassen grew up in New England but came to Texas as fast as she could. SMU was one of the first spots she visited in Dallas. Laurene is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Manager of SMU’s IT Training & Communications Team. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and outdoor activities with her family.