Service to Mary Baldwin Celebrated

May 18, 2005

Bill Pollard, Mary Baldwin University archivist, and Gini Ridge, director of food service, didn’t receive a college pin or an engraved watch to commemorate their Mary Baldwin service at the annual faculty and staff appreciation breakfast May 17. What they did receive was a less tangible, much rarer gift – being named honorary alumni of Mary Baldwin University. Ridge and Pollard are two of only 15 people ever named as honorary Mary Baldwin alumni.

Gini Ridge receives her honorary alumna statusGini Ridge, director of food service, was still reeling at the breakfast, although she received her accolade days earlier during Commencement and Homecoming weekend as a surprise addition to the Alumnae/i Association Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation.

“It is the greatest thing in the world, to me, to be recognized by this college and the group of people who work here, because I know how hard they all work and have incredible respect for them,” Ridge said.

Ridge started working at Mary Baldwin in 1993, and didn’t plan to stay for very long. She “fell in love with every part of the college,” and still feels passionate not only about the food operations, but also about the college’s overall mission, its students, and employees.

Bill PollardPollard was similarly caught off guard when he received the honor front of more than 100 of his Mary Baldwin colleagues at the May 17 breakfast. “He is known for his warm smile, gentle spirit, and unwavering kindness, especially to students,” Lynn Gilliland ’80, executive director of alumnae/i activities, said to introduce Pollard.

Pollard worked as the college librarian from 1977 to 1992, and he has maintained the college archives on a volunteer basis since his retirement 13 years ago as college librarian emeritus. Pollard’s honorary Mary Baldwin alumni status will complement degrees he earned at the University of North Carolina and Florida State University.

In addition to recognition for Ridge and Pollard, 27 employees from a wide range of college departments were applauded for serving Mary Baldwin for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 years — adding up to a collective 275 yeas of employment. It marked the fifth year that the college has organized a breakfast to show staff support and appreciation. Faculty and staff celebrating an anniversary received a Mary Baldwin pin or watch, and many other attendees headed back to their offices with flowers, gift certificates, apparel, or one of dozens of other donated door prizes.

Grounds Supervisor Jeff Wagner (at right with Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox) received an engraved watch and a standing ovation in celebration of his 25 years of employment at Mary Baldwin. “What makes the projects I work on here special are the people I get to meet and call friends,” Wagner said. “I’ve made a lot of friends in 25 years here. I could tell that from the reaction of the crowd.”

Wagner said his experience on the staff – he started at Mary Baldwin as a entry-level groundskeeper – gives him the advantage of knowing how people move around the campus and where pipes and lines are hidden underground. He is looking forward this summer to expanding a recent landscaping project at Hunt Dining Hall to Woodson, Spencer, and Hill Top residence halls.

Three of the honorees were from the Physical Activities Center. Jackie Bryan, sports information director and head basketball coach, and Christy Shelton, head softball coach and athletic events coordinator, were each recognized for five years of service. Athletic Director Donna Miller was noted for 10 years of service.

“I didn’t realize until recently that the college recognized employees at five years, and I think it’s great,” said Bryan. “I started thinking about it when I saw the announcements, and it doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long.”

Employees recognized for their service were:

5 years

  • Sue Armstrong
  • Christine Baker
  • Henry Bayne
  • Jackie Bryan
  • Velma Carman
  • Deborah Fisher
  • Lynn Gilliland
  • Carole Grove
  • Drema Hernandez
  • Christy Shelton
  • Judith Shuey
  • Morgan Alberts Smith

10 years

  • William Adkins
  • Brenda Bryant
  • Martha Clark
  • Kathy McDaniel
  • Donna Miller
  • Allan Moye
  • Gretchen Newman

15 years

  • Bill Betlej
  • Linda Fretwell
  • Diane Fridley
  • Marion Ward

20 years

  • Pat Hunt
  • Monique Johnson
  • Margo Leach

25 years

  • Jeff Wagner