Nine faculty members retire as spring semester draws to an end

THE BELLS — As the end of the semester draws near, students anticipate completing finals and turning the page on another year of college.
Students are not the only ones facing change. Several members of the university’s faculty and staff are closing one chapter and beginning a new one as they retire from their positions at the school.
Nine people are retiring during the 2013-2014 season. Their departments range from physical plant, business and the colleges of education and Christian studies.
As their days at the university come to an end, many of these men and women are packing their offices and reminiscing about their careers.
In the College of Humanities, Associate Professor Vicky Kendig has spent 13 years coordinating the journalism program and advising the campus newspaper.
Since her arrival in 2001, Kendig has witnessed the growth of the journalism program. She experienced historic events from the Fort Hood shootings to the explosion in West.
“(9/ 11) was our baptism by fire,” Kendig recalls. “The staff that year was so bonded to each other, it was just amazing, after going through that.”
The Bells staff has received an estimated 450 awards under Kendig’s guidance.
“It’s not to my credit, but to the students,” Kendig said. “I look around at all of these things, all of these memories, and it’s just awesome.”
Another long-time staff member approaching retirement is Resident Director Julia Walker. A member of the residence life staff, Walker spent 24 years working in a variety of campus housing locations. She began as RD in Johnson Hall in 1990 and ventured to the apartments over the years, working closely with the physical plant and residence life departments.
“My life has been very easy because of all these wonderful people I get to work with,” Walker said. “I can’t imagine working with a greater group of people.”
While each job at the school has unique aspects and concerns, the common element is the ability to work with students. Professors, advisers and staff members have the opportunity to shape lives and build relationships with the students they encounter through their jobs.
“The RAs—That has been the greatest joy,”  Walker said. “I get to see the great people become greater because they’re learning and they’re growing, and I think that’s the best part of this job.”
The university has a great appreciation for retiring members of the community. Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Susan Owens, stated that retirees are offered benefits, and her department encourages former employees to remain actively involved with events and gatherings around campus. Kendig and Walker both plan to keep in touch with the university by attending reunions facilitated by the Alumni Association and documenting university history for the museum.
“All of these students who’ve come through here are a part of history,” Kendig said. “It’s been a great time.”
Like the students, Kendig and her colleagues enrich history as they leave behind a legacy.

Author: Halley Harrell

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