By Destiny Mitchell
After over three decades of service, Olivet will be losing one of its best and brightest. Mary Anderson, the Director of the Center for Student Success, will end her 35-year career at Olivet in June.
Anderson will be retiring with her husband, music professor Dr. Gerald Anderson, who has been at Olivet for 36 years.
The retirement didn’t come as a shock to the department of student development. The Andersons have been openly planning their retirement for a while.
“I think I’ve known for a year that this was going to be her last year,” said Beth Olney, also Director of the Center for Student Success. “I knew it was coming. She had said she wanted to retire when her husband retired so I didn’t want to keep her from that.”
As a worker in student development, Anderson’s job responsibilities include working with individuals or with groups on anything that’s career related. This includes resumes, cover letters, portfolios, and teaching students where to look for jobs.
She also presents workshops and seminars in academic classes.
“We do all of our workshops in classes so that we have a captive audience and [students] have to show up,” Anderson laughed.
The Center for Student Success handles close to 1000 students a year either through classes or appointments.
Anderson looks to help undergraduates—and a few alumni—prepare themselves for the task of entering the work force.
An important thing she teaches students is to market themselves as a “young professional” as opposed to a transitioning college student, because employers are looking for the former and not the latter.
Anderson found her tasks and titles always changing during her years at Olivet and said her job was never boring. As to why she has remained in one department for 35 years, the answer was simple.
“I like my job, it’s a very family friendly place to work,” Anderson said. She emphasized the welcoming atmosphere and the understanding nature of her supervisors.
Her absence will make a significant difference in the department. “She has an expertise in her field that is very hard to replace, [over] 30 years of expertise,” Olney said.
35 years of dedication has given Anderson much recognition amongst her coworkers.
“Mary is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever been around. She’s very responsible, she doesn’t quit until the job is done and she has very high expectations for her students,” Olney described.
Though Anderson isn’t exactly sure what the future holds, aside from a few planned vacations, she knows that she’ll definitely miss this large part of her past: the people of Olivet. And the people will miss her too.
“She’s a colleague and a friend,” said Olney.