Longevity at Mary Baldwin Valued Among Recent Retirees

May 27, 2008

The 2008 Mary Baldwin retirees at the annual Retiree ReceptionMary Baldwin University celebrated the retirement and hard work of eight faculty and staff members April 28 in the Student Activities Center. Just one of this year’s retirees had worked fewer than 20 years at Mary Baldwin. Some of them retired last semester — Sarah Cash, Beverly Henry, Paul Hinkle, and Robert “Leon” Runion. Chuck Belote, Carolyn Hensley, Elaine McCarrick, and Lesley Novack saw the college into 2008. The Cupola caught up with them for their departing words.

Twenty-six years ago, Chuck Belote was a man in uniform — an Mary Baldwin security uniform. Belote worked in William Wayt King Gymnasium (now King Residence Hall) checking IDs until he began to show signs of a hearing problem. A position opened in the stockroom, and Belote transferred to that department. Belote became stockroom manager extraordinaire, handling everything from accounts payable and delivery of large packages to stocking Mary Baldwin with its critical supplies.

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?Apple Day. It’s an event that involves the entire community. Everyone — staff, faculty, and students — is excited. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?Coordination, punctuality, and a strong work ethic.

Not many people can say they’ve had the same job for 26 years — Sarah Cash can. While working at Days Inn in Staunton, Cash waffled about applying for the housekeeping supervisor position at Mary Baldwin. She loved working at the hotel, but something enticed her to apply for the job at Mary Baldwin — on the very last day that applications were accepted. Cash has spent those years working closely with her staff to help create a sense of family. The people who have become her family are what Cash, who officially retired in fall 2007, already misses most.

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?I have two: Housekeeper Appreciation Day and the Physical Plant Christmas party. They are events that help rejoice and celebrate our Mary Baldwin family. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?Work ethic and a tradition of working closely with the housekeeping staff.

Beverly Henry first joined the Mary Baldwin University family through her daughter, Tara Henry Desmond ’99, and it was her persistence that led to Henry securing a position at the college, where she would remain for 10 rewarding years. “She actually brought an application home, and we filled it out together,” Henry said of her daughter, who graduated with a major in history. As a member of the housekeeping staff, Henry kept the Administration Building and Grafton Library shining for several years, then moved on to housekeeping in the President’s House. As one of only a few people with extended access to the President’s House during her four years in that position, Henry developed a close relationship with the home and its occupants. “They were a joy to work with, and so hospitable,” she said.

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?My favorite time of year at Mary Baldwin is when they begin decorating the President’s House — and other areas of campus — for the holidays. The house looks so gorgeous, inside and out. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?I hope that I have served everyone according to their needs. Director of Building Services Marty Weeks added, “She was a wonderful employee who gave her all on the job.”

There is rarely an alumna who attends Reunion Weekend who doesn’t squeal aloud and run to hug Carolyn Hensley. For many years, before she was the welcoming face at the Alumnae/i Office, Hensley greeted prospective students and their families in the Admissions Office. Jack Blackburn, former Mary Baldwin director of admissions, hired Hensley, and he is the person at the college who has meant the most to her. “Everyone in the office was treated like a member of his family, and we all respected him for that,” she said. Hensley is also looking toward the future of Mary Baldwin University. “I’m excited about the emphasis we are now placing on community service. Our students, and all of us too, need to be concerned about our neighbors, near and far, and the world in which we live.”

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?Spring Fling is my favorite tradition, although I didn’t know much about it until I started working in the Alumnae/i Office in 2005. We hold a theme party for seniors with costumes, T-shirts, water bottles, photo opportunities, a band, food, and a little “libation” on the front lawn of Alumnae House. A good time is had by all. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?I leave my cheerful and pleasant telephone voice to all who answer the phone. I leave my calm personality to those who are on their last nerve. I leave my sense of humor to those who need some. And I hope that I have helped someone along the way. I wish you all the very best, and I will miss you.

Of the eight retirees this year, Paul Hinkle has served Mary Baldwin the longest — a whopping 36 years. He has worked in the Physical Plant for the duration of his career, moving from grounds to maintenance, and finally to engineering. As one of just a few people in engineering, Hinkle has helped make sure we’re cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and that everything water runs through on campus works properly. He remembers when he and a coworker were digging a ditch in the pouring rain, fixing a water pipe. The next day, they received a thank-you note from Dane Cox, former Mary Baldwin business manager and treasurer. “It was very nice to receive a note thanking us for our work. We didn’t realize anyone even knew we were out there,” Hinkle said. As he stays busy at home, already enjoying his retirement, he thinks about those he worked with at Mary Baldwin. “They’re hard to forget, after you’ve spent so much time with them,” he said.

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?Apple Day. When I started, they were still going out to the orchard, and playing games, and picking apples. Everyone had the time to enjoy the day and share in a strong community. What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?A loyalty to my job and to the college. No matter the job, I was there.

Elaine McCarrick considers Mary Baldwin her home. Her mother was an alumna, her father dated many Mary Baldwin girls, and she was born in King’s Daughter’s Hospital (old Bailey Residence Hall, and now the location of the PEG Center). Her first home was an apartment in Woodrow Terrace, she was a child attendant in the 1947 May Court, and she took two Mary Baldwin summer school courses. McCarrick, acquisitions/budget coordinator for Grafton Library, names Bill Pollard, college archivist and college librarian emeritus, and all the exceptional women she has worked with as those who have made the most impact on her Mary Baldwin life.

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?I love every tradition held on Page Terrace. Barbara Kares Page sat in front of me in church every Sunday during my childhood, before she died in an automobile accident. When I am on the terrace I feel a sense of the past, present, and future of Mary Baldwin. It is where we have congregated for many formal college traditions during the last 40 years. For me, it represents the heart of the college. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?Each individual involved with Mary Baldwin is important to our success. I believe that no matter how small each person’s contribution is, he or she should be treated with respect and appreciation. I hope I have modeled that. (My sons would roll their eyes and think this was way too mushy.)

How did Lesley Novack maintain her passion for teaching after more than 20 years as a psychology professor at Mary Baldwin University? “How much more blessed and fortunate could a person be than to be in a classroom teaching and learning in a discipline that is central to her greatest interests, while simultaneously being surrounded by young and eager minds?” she said. Novack earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts, master’s degrees from New York University and University of Virginia (UVA), and a doctorate from UVA. She has “never stopped being a student” and still feels in tune with their needs, she said. “Every so often, shared experiences in the classroom involve an electricity, a vibrancy that I can feel, and I know my students can feel the power of learning.”

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?My absolute favorite is graduation, particularly as it exists at Mary Baldwin. Graduation represents great achievement for our students and for faculty and staff as well. I love that it is typically outdoors, and, often, I feel as though we are in a gigantic Renoir painting with children playing on the hill, families seated and spread out on blankets, and faculty parting their ranks for students to pass through. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?(From a note to her students announcing her retirement)At this time, it is important to me to let each of you know how very much you have meant to me; since the beginning of my time at Mary Baldwin, my students have been central to the love I have for the college. I am very grateful to each of you for the continued role you have played in my life. As many of you have heard me say, I have never thought of teaching as a job; it has been something that I have looked forward to every day, and the memories will stay with me forever.

Before he began his tenure at Mary Baldwin 30 years ago, Robert “Leon” Runion worked for many years in the maintenance department at Staunton Military Academy (SMA). He brought with him to Mary Baldwin invaluable knowledge of the inner workings — plumbing, sewer, electrical — of the SMA buildings acquired by the college after the academy closed. As a member of the engineering team with fellow retiree this year, Paul Hinkle, Runion was known for coming into work early — even though the workday for many physical plant employees begins at 5:30 a.m. Already enjoying his retirement for the past few months, Runion admitted that he also misses the faculty, staff, and students in Pearce Science Center, where he spent much of his time.

What is your favorite Mary Baldwin tradition?The holiday luncheon was always one of my favorite times. What’s your Mary Baldwin legacy?Runion was unsure about his legacy at the college, but as he reached into his pocket to give Sylvia Fielding, physical plant secretary, one of his ever-present treats, it was clear that Runion will long be remembered as Mary Baldwin’s “candy man.”

Congratulations to the following individuals celebrating the indicated years of consecutive service to the college.

(Click on image to see a caption)
5 years

  • Sylvia Fielding
  • Pamela Fox
  • Nancy Krippel
  • Teri Maerki
  • Dawn Medley
  • Susan Schmeissing
  • Beverley Shilling
  • Adam Smith
  • Annette Wallace

10 years

  • Randal Arehart
  • Lisa Branson
  • Valerie Gangwer
  • Alan Mullenax
  • Karen Parker
  • Roger Shifflett

15 years

  • Carol Creager
  • Jan Galvin
  • Janette Shipe
  • Wanda Thayer

20 years

  • Crista Cabe
  • Nancy Keaton
  • Eiko Mauzy
  • Judith Neff
  • Sara Talbott
  • Brenty Taylor

25 years

  • Lew Askegaard
  • Shelly Irvine

30 years

  • Timothy Kennedy
  • Elaine McCarrick
  • Wanda Morris

35 years

  • Thomas Reed