Celebrating 2022 Retirees and Service Award Winners

May 25, 2022

MBU held the annual retirement and service awards celebration on May 12.

MBU honored faculty and staff members for their dedicated service to the university community during a special ceremony on May 12. University leaders presented service awards to 34 recipients, who collectively contributed 405 years of service, and celebrated 13 retirees with a combined 319 years.

Read memories and experiences from MBU retirees, and see the list of service award winners below.

MBU held the annual retirement and service awards celebration on May 12.

2022 Retirees

Retiring after 38 years of service, Dr. Kathy McCleaf began working at MBU in the fall of 1984, coaching the fledgling field hockey team.

  • Positions held: Coaching field hockey, swimming, and lacrosse; chaired and taught in the physical and health education department, and served as athletic director for a short time; faculty member (instructor through full professor), including service as director of the first-year experience, developing and teaching the sexuality and gender studies curriculum for the College of Arts and Sciences, and teaching and leading the development of the higher education graduate program for the College of Education. 
  • Volunteer work: “During my time as a part of the sociology department, I had the opportunity to teach and expose students to local food programs and their missions. Collaborating with our physical plant to grow plants for the Valley Mission garden and experience how service learning can make an impact in our local community was a valuable addition to our community partnerships. I intend to continue this work once retired.” 
  • Special MBU memoires: “I have many wonderful memories of students learning to succeed. Athletic contests won. LGBTQ+ students becoming empowered and realizing their potential. Students recognizing their strengths and becoming community citizens and leaders. In addition, watching our community increase and value diversity, inclusion, and equity. Serving on the first President’s Council on Diversity and Equity where I helped to develop the college’s inclusivity statement. Furthermore, to be part of the movement to have sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression included in the university’s non-discrimination policy statement.” 
  • Retirement plans: “After all the house projects, I plan to camp, fish, travel, and visit longtime friends.” 
  • What she’ll miss most about Mary Baldwin: “All of the students, every one of them, and most colleagues :-)”

Retiring after 35 years of service, Terry Rowe served as the Pearce Science Center housekeeper since August 1987. 

  • Positions held: Housekeeping; team leader of housekeeping
  • Special MBU memoires: “I enjoyed driving the vans at graduation ceremonies, and for alumni weekends. And enjoyed the interaction with everyone associated with MBU, especially the staff of the science building.”
  • Retirement plans: “Taking time to slow down and enjoy things longer; catch up on some travel plans”
  • What she’ll miss most about Mary Baldwin: “The science building … they treated me like family.”

Retiring after 33 years of service, Dr. John Ong first joined the Mary Baldwin faculty in 1989.

  • Positions held: Faculty member; mathematics department chair
  • Volunteer work: Mentoring students in the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted
  • Special MBU memory: “When MBC became MBU.”
  • Retirement plans: Travel, visit, and spend time with family in Malaysia; working part-time as an analyst in a commercial environment; rebuild my health-wealth; and most importantly give my spouse some well deserved attention.”
  • What he’ll miss most about Mary Baldwin: “The students, the students, the students!”

Retiring after 32 years of service, Becky McCray started working in dining services as a secretary/bookkeeper in 1986 through American Food Management. 

  • Positions held: Summer temp for the business office in 1989; hired full-time as the secretary/cashier in the business office in November, 1989; moved into payroll as the payroll administrator in 1997. 
  • What she’ll miss most about Mary Baldwin: The employees that she enjoyed working with over the years.

Retiring after 30 years of service, Terri Walker began her career at MBU with career services in 1992, which then also absorbed the student life/engagement function while she served in that office.

  • Positions held: Moved to the dean of the college’s office in 2005, which evolved into the provost’s office/academic affairs in 2017. She has worked with eight different supervisors in 30 years. 
  • Special MBU memories: “I served as a bridesmaid for a fantastic student: purple dresses, toenails, and all. Also, one of my more favorite memories: the switchboard transferred an elderly gentleman to my phone one day. When I picked up the call, the gentleman sounded panicked and said he needed help. I asked what was wrong, and he proceeded to read a crossword puzzle clue to me and asked if I could help with the answer. Low and behold, we found his answer. He was most grateful and said, ‘I knew if anyone could help, it would be Mary Baldwin.’” 
  • Retirement plans: “My husband and I are expecting another grandchild in early September, our third. I am looking forward to being available as needed for lots of baby snuggles. We also completed our sailing certifications in 2016 and look forward to spending time on the water and at our little place in Emerald Isle, NC, where I hope to volunteer with the Sea Turtle Patrol. We also hope to travel a bit.”  
  • What she’ll miss most about Mary Baldwin: “I’ve had so many wonderful co-workers and students over the years. I will also miss the beauty of the campus.”  

Retiring after 27 years of service, Donna Crowe worked as a housekeeper for the advancement office.

 

Retiring after 27 years of service, Sue Stephenson worked as the office coordinator for the support services department.

 

Retiring after 23 years of service, Kay Rexrode worked as the office administrator in the business office.

Retiring after 21 years of service, Dr. Ralph Cohen began his career at MBU as a professor of English and graduate studies in Shakespeare in 2003.

He served as Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance (S&P), and founded the master of letters and master of fine arts program at the university. He also serves as founder and senior advisor at the American Shakespeare Center (ASC), a partner organization to the S&P program. The ASC is headquartered at the renowned re-creation of the Blackfriars Playhouse in downtown Staunton.  

Cohen was the recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Non-Student Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the university, at this year’s Commencement. Below are President Pamela Fox’s remarks honoring Cohen:

From the top of the hill in front of me you can just make out the gabled roof of the Blackfriars Playhouse, the brainchild of today’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Award: the Virginia Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance, Ralph Alan Cohen, who retires today after a distinguished 50-year career as a faculty member, the last twenty of them at Mary Baldwin University.

But to call the Blackfriars Ralph’s “brainchild” fails to capture and convey its special essence. His special essence. Because the Blackfriars is not alone the child of his considerable intelligence. It is the offspring of his capacious heart. It is a playhouse built of brick, mortar, timber, and love. Ralph’s abiding love for sharing the things he loves with those he loves, a group that includes roughly everybody.

And the Blackfriars is built of a love large enough to hold all of us, or hold enough of us to fill it to capacity. At which point Ralph, with his familiar grin, would say, “put out more chairs and then let them stand” until the fire marshal says, “Hold! Enough!”

Ralph cannot see the Blackfriars from where he is seated today. But no matter. He saw it before it was there. And his vision means that for generations to come, students, scholars, citizens of Staunton and visitors to its climes can enter its doors and feel the love that raised its walls.

Most of us need to climb a hill to see as far as Ralph. But his gift – and the gift he leaves us with – is to know what the view will look like from the foot of the hill. And then urge us, all of us, that the view will be worth the climb. It was. It is. It forever will be.

Retiring after 19 years of service, Susie Schmeissing worked as an academic advisor for MBU Online.

 

Retiring after 15 years of service, Alice Brown worked as a housekeeper at the university.

Retiring after 12 years of service, Sharon Bosserman worked as the executive presidential assistant to President Pamela R. Fox since 2010.

Below are Bosserman’s reflections on her time at the university:

I really have appreciated the opportunity to become part of the Mary Baldwin family over the last 12 years. Having had a successful career for 33 years in the banking industry, academia was a new chapter for me. There have been many highlights for me during my time. One was being able to experience and support the creation of Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, and another was Mary Baldwin becoming a university plus going coed. The Board of Trustees and executive staff have been and are highly dedicated with strong leadership and compassion for MBU. I will treasure the friendship of the entire MBU family. 

 For my next chapter, there are special projects at home (catching up on the “honey do” lists), being able to attend the grandkids’ events, travel with our rescue lab, get more involved and volunteer at my church, and hopefully improve my golf game.

 I will miss my MBU family, and wish everyone the best and a most successful future.  

Retiring after seven years of service, Howard Byrd worked as an engineering technician in the facilities department.

2022 Service Award Winners

2022 Service Award recipients together contributed 405 years of service to MBU.

5 years

Smoogie Bell
Donna Bletz
Calvin Chung
Amy Davenport
Mike Engle
Mark Erath
Deb Greubel
Diane Harrington
Christina Harrison
Lisa Joiner
JinYoung Kang
Megan McAllister
Matt Munsey
Kim Nine
Marina Omar
Sam Sauder
Molly Seremet
Carol Waldmann
Whit Worman

10 years

Clayton Brooks
Joe Johnson
Lisa Shoaf

15 years

Alice Brown
Heather Macalister
Paul Menzer
Janet Rosen
Pat Turner
Tina Witherow

20 years

Carey Usher

25 years

Debbie Snyder

30 years

Terri Walker

35 years

Mary Hill Cole
Terry Rowe

45 years

Janet Ewing