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Y. HOSTESS PROVIDES MYRIAD ANSWERS _ ALONG WITH A SMILE

SHARE Y. HOSTESS PROVIDES MYRIAD ANSWERS _ ALONG WITH A SMILE

Not many people would know how many books are in the southeast corner of Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library or how many leaves have to fall before the grounds crew starts raking.

But Helen Grange, university hostess at the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building information desk, could tell you.According to her co-workers, she is a living encyclopedia of events, buildings and room numbers and administrative and staff personnel. She manages to remember even the smallest detail of new-student orientation, graduation, homecoming and other campus events.

Since March 1981, Grange has offered directions and valuable information to lost and homesick freshmen, their visiting parents and other campus visitors.

Grange remembers the day when one freshman came to the desk and was so happy to find the information he needed that he came to the desk whenever he had a problem.

Another student came to her before graduating to tell her that when he was a scared freshman, she was the first person to help him. He told her she was partially responsible for helping him graduate.

Grange answers hundreds of questions daily and manages to remember dates of events, prices and information about different academic areas.

Just in case she forgets, she can check numerous files that provide her with the information. And if she does get stumped, she knows where to call to get the information.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all had our own Helen Grange to keep things straight for us? Even if we didn't need the latest information on where to get report cards, experiencing Grange's pleasant disposition can make the day better when you do get that report card.

"Every single person she meets is a friend," said Ron Clark, coordinator of hosting services at BYU.

Last year Grange greeted more than a quarter of a million people in her work at the administration building information desk, he said.

"I get letters acknowledging her presence there all the time within and without the university. No matter what problem she is facing, it never surfaces when she is sitting behind that desk. She is totally `on' to BYU. I don't think there is an area on campus that she doesn't know completely."

Some Provo residents tend to resent the students when they invade their city every year, but Grange - a Provo resident since 1962 - loves the students and doesn't get tired of them or their questions.

"I just think they are special. I'm impressed with the caliber of people that work and go to school here. There are students who will bring money, wallets, and other expensive things to the desk to turn into `lost and found,' and it always warms my heart to see that happen.

"I meet a lot of real nice people. Visitors are real impressed with the cleanliness of campus. This job is never boring because I am always updating records and files and I usually learn some new thing every day. It's challenging."

Grange recently received the President's Appreciation Award for her service, creativity and competence at BYU.

(Sheridan R. Hansen, Provo, is a staff writer in the Deseret News Utah County bureau.)