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Cathy and Gabe Soto

October 2023



Get ready to celebrate SVSU’s 60th Anniversary Homecoming with our amazing Homecoming Marshalls, Cathy and Gabe Soto! With an incredible 74 years of combined experience at SVSU, their dedication is truly inspiring. Cathy, who retired in October 2023, devoted her 39-year career to the Campus Facilities department, providing invaluable clerical and support services. Not to be outdone, Gabe retired in June 2022 after spending an impressive 35 years at SVSU, the majority of which as a Duplicator Operator at the Graphic Center. For this power couple, education has always been a top priority. Both are first-generation college graduates, and while working full-time at SVSU, Gabe even managed to earn his bachelor’s degree, setting an outstanding example for their three sons and proving that higher education is worth every effort. Together, Cathy and Gabe embody the essence of what it means to be a Cardinal!



Cathy’s journey at SVSU kicked off in 1984 when she first joined the Registrar’s Office. Within a mere 8 months, she transitioned to the department then known as Physical Plant, now called Campus Facilities. There, she remained until her well-earned retirement in October 2023. Among her many duties, Cathy took immense pride in managing the key program. She often thought of herself as the university’s bookend, as she was the trusted figure responsible for handing over keys to new employees and bidding them farewell when they returned their keys upon leaving.


What Cathy cherished most about her role was the opportunity to meet and connect with a diverse array of people. As a friendly face to almost every new hire at SVSU, she gained valuable insights into the various departments’ functions. Post-retirement, it’s these interactions that Cathy misses the most. She quips, “I’m still learning how to be good at it” as a retiree, having woken up only an hour later than usual at 5:30 am. Cathy shared that her great-niece, Sierra, offered sound advice for adjusting to this new chapter in life: “Just like it took you time to become great at your job at SVSU, it will also take time for you to be great at being retired.”



In 1985, Gabe embarked on his remarkable journey at SVSU as a part-time night custodian while pursuing his bachelor’s degree. His unmatched expertise in cleaning techniques and chemicals soon turned him into an unofficial leader amongst his peers. Just two years later, Gabe transitioned into a full-time role, even cleaning the Cardinal gym before its final Commencement Ceremony in 1989. After dipping his toes in Bookstore Shipping and Receiving for a couple of years, Gabe discovered his true calling at SVSU in the Graphic Center in 1996. He stayed there until his retirement in June 2022, though in his final years, he worked part-time in the Mail department and part-time in the Graphic Center. While working in the Graphic Design Center, Gabe mastered every piece of equipment in the satellite center he proudly called his own.


Over 35 fulfilling years, Gabe relished the abundant opportunities presented to him at SVSU. He not only balanced work and academics to obtain his degree in 1994 but also formed lasting connections with campus folks as they sought Gabe’s expertise in the Graphics Center. The cherry on top came in November 2004 when Gabe was bestowed with the Employee of the Month award, sharing heartfelt words with the esteemed presence of SVSU’s President and Board of Control.


Cathy and Gabe Soto


Cathy and Gabe can’t believe the incredible transformation of the SVSU campus since the start of their employment. Cathy and Gabe, witnessing at the beginning of their time at SVSU, the construction of Brown, Science and Zahnow buildings, Housing, along with all the other new buildings and Athletics, soccer and football fields. They agree that today’s students are truly fortunate to have access to cutting-edge facilities at the university.


Cathy and Gabe’s story began even before joining SVSU, and have been happily married for 36 years. Proud parents of three sons, Gabriel, Xavier, and Jose, the Soto family holds education close to their hearts. Both Cathy and Gabe are first-generation college graduates, with education being important to both them and their parents. Gabe’s mother’s unyielding belief that he would pave the way for future generations kept him going, and she was right – all three of Cathy and Gabe’s children are college-educated.


Now retired and looking forward to exciting adventures, Cathy and Gabe have their sights set on exploring Hawaii next year. Though no longer working at SVSU, their connection remains strong through friendships that they have made and continue to hold dear. Embodying the spirit of a true Cardinal, Cathy, and Gabe leave a lasting legacy!

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