Diane Hullinger, an employee in Loyola’s Office of Registration and Records, is remembered by friends and family as someone who never forgot anyone’s birthday.
“She was always thinking of other people, she remembered birthdays, she always remembered to call,” Anna Hullinger, Diane’s daughter, said.
Diane died from an aggressive form of brain cancer Aug. 4 at age 65. She worked as a senior associate registrar of records and technology at Loyola, which means she worked with students’ transcripts and other school records.
Diane was diagnosed in May with glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. Despite treatment efforts, the cancer was too aggressive, according to an email sent to the Loyola community from Campus Ministry.
A member of the Loyola community for more than 25 years, Diane was originally hired by Information Technology Services and worked as a data administration manager before joining Loyola’s Office of Registration and Records, the email said. In this office, she helped support the launch of LOCUS, Loyola’s online registration and records portal.
Diane was married to Ray Hullinger, 69, and had two children — Anna and David, who both graduated from Loyola.
Anna, a ‘16 alum, said she was inspired by her mother because she went to college and earned a degree in mathematics when it wasn’t common for women to do so. She earned her undergraduate degree at DePaul University, a Master’s in Mathematics at Chicago State University and an MBA at Dominican University.
Anna said her mother loved following a routine. She bought groceries on Saturdays at the same stores, she knew the people who worked at her usual coffee shop and she went walking every night.
While Anna was growing up, she said her mother valued her education and helped her with homework, even after working all day.
Anna said some of her favorite memories with her mother involved going to shows at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago on Sundays. She said they had season tickets for the past few years and went to dinner in the West Loop afterward.
She said she also enjoyed celebrating her birthday with her mom every year by getting tea at The Drake — a hotel in Chicago — and spending the day together.
Rita Vazquez, Loyola’s director of registrations and records who worked with Diane for about a year, said the two bonded over their shared love for going to tea and for wearing scarves. She described her as “nothing but kind” and said she made her feel welcome when she arrived at Loyola.
Jennifer Boyle, the dean of Arrupe College, said she knew Diane since starting at Loyola in 2015. She said Diane had a calming effect on the people around her and seemed to solve problems before they occurred.
She enjoyed going to the farmers market near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus with Diane on Tuesdays in the summer. Diane loved the crepes there, Boyle said.
“I really remember her genuine enthusiasm for being able to look for flowers and buy fresh herbs, she really did love that,” Boyle said. “It was very helpful to me to see that it was okay to leave work for 35-40 minutes, get out in the fresh air and relate to people.”
In addition to bonding outside of work, Boyle said she appreciated how Diane was conscious of the way school policies affected students. Boyle said Diane worked diligently to help students, especially first-generation students at Arrupe College who don’t have as much experience with higher education.
Larry Adams, a colleague who worked with Diane from the time she started at Loyola, said something that stood out to him was how kindly she treated students in difficult situations. He said part of her job was telling students they couldn’t graduate until they paid leftover fees, but she always spoke to them in an understanding way.
Another coworker, Susan Ries, met Diane in 2003 when they started working to implement LOCUS together. She said Diane was eager to answer questions, even offering to leave her office and meet Ries to discuss in person.
Maria Lettiere, an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she met Diane in 2005 when Lettiere first started working at Loyola. Lettiere said Diane helped make her transition to Loyola go smoothly while they worked on projects together.
Maria Muñoz worked closely with Diane as co-managers for about five years. She said Diane was a private person, but she loved when Diane would open up and talk about her children.
“The way she talked about her family, her children, she would always glow,” Muñoz said. “I always cherished those moments when she was able to open up and share that side of herself.”
Ries said they also often talked about Diane’s children and she could tell she was a proud parent.
Anna said if there’s one thing to know about Diane, it’s that she loved working at Loyola.
“She loved the Loyola community,” Anna said. “She loved being a part of it. … She loved getting involved in all the things the Loyola community had to offer.”
Condolences can be sent to the Hullinger family at 1226 N. Euclid Ave., Oak Park, IL, 60302.
Mary Chappell contributed to reporting this story.