Campus News

Shirley Sikora, Night Manager of the ’Sco, Dies at 65

Longtime employee was beloved by student workers and all who frequented the Wilder Hall club.

June 11, 2024

Communications Staff

happy students gathered around a painted rock that reads "Mama 'Sco Sees All."
In fall 2018, ’Sco student employees paid tribute to Shirley Sikora by painting a Tappan Square rock in her honor. Sikora, who retired from Oberlin in 2020, died on June 3.
Photo credit: courtesy of Sean Lehlbach

Shirley Adkins Sikora, a fixture in Oberlin’s Wilder Hall student union for 37 years, died June 3 at her home in Norwalk. She was 65.

Hired in 1983 to manage evenings at the Dionysus Disco—the basement-level club known more widely by its shorthand nickname, the ’Sco—Sikora quickly developed a warm rapport with her student employees. In addition to mentoring them on how to run the club, she delighted in teaching them how to crochet, scrapbook, and pursue other creative interests in their free time. Among generations of students, the lady who checked student IDs at the door came to be known affectionately as “Mama ’Sco.”

Marvin Krislov with Shirley Sikora.
Shirley Sikora, with Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, at a 2015 Service Awards celebration. (photo by Dale Preston ’83)

Sikora, who was celebrated at a Service Awards function in 2015, retired from Oberlin five years later.

“Shirley was the soul of the ’Sco, working tirelessly, sometimes for weeks without a break,” says Tina Zwegat, Oberlin’s director of student involvement and orientation, who worked with Sikora throughout her career. “Alums always looked forward to seeing her at the door of the ’Sco when they returned to campus for visits. She was a fixture on campus who made them feel like they had come home.”

Sikora is survived by her husband, James Sikora. Learn more in the Norwalk Reflector.

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