Known for his waffles and selfless heart, Roger Bauman, commonly known as “Rodge,” tirelessly works for the College managing the Athletic Equipment Room. Perhaps the “truest Grinnellian” known to the Scarlet & Black, Roger was born only eight miles away from campus and has lived the vast majority of his life in Grinnell, working for Grinnell College.

Roger was raised on a farm. Roger began playing softball with a friend who was the assistant manager of Grinnell’s Equipment Room. Through this friendship, Mr. Bauman was eventually offered a job in the Athletic Department.

“My buddy was getting tired and asked if I wanted to take his place. I said, ‘sure why not?’ 27 years later, and I’m still here!” said Bauman.

Roger’s day typically starts at the crack of dawn and ends eight to nine hours later. His day is usually filled with “putting away all the [sports] items,” which is quite a feat considering that there are eighteen varsity teams, each averaging over 20 players.

“[Mondays,] all the items come back and I’ve got a long work day ahead of me,” Bauman said as he ate a waffle. “Thursdays are the other hard days, where I gotta prepare all of the teams’ gear. Do you know how much equipment fifty football players have? A lot, that’s how much.”

Even though his job may involve arduous work, Bauman still loves the fact that he is “working with new, wonderful people. I like learning about their backgrounds [and] their lives, which are so different from mine.”

Roger flashes his trademark smile in the Equipment Room.
Photo by Daewoong Hwang

He also assists with setting up for big events such as football games and track meets. The worst part of the day for this Grinnellian is “going home at night.”

Throughout the years, Roger has built a legacy with three children and five grandchildren. In addition to his own kids, he has a multitude of children he has “adopted” from the Cage.
“Just yesterday, an alumnus from 21 years ago dropped by to say hi,” Bauman said.

Bauman is especially close to the football team, whom he invites to his farm to fish at his pond and barbeque every year.

“One student took his socks off, put it on his hands, and picked up a fish. I walked up to him and said, ‘if it was that gross for you, you shoulda just left the job for my daughter.’ That got all the boys laughing!” Bauman said.

Roger is full of humor as well as wisdom, and has advice for both incoming students and departing seniors.

“Make the most of [school] ’cause, boy, does it go by fast!” he said. “[And] never forget where you came from.”