Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 9:58 AM PST
Mary Carpenter, who had been serving as Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, retired from Seattle University on October 31st. Mary first joined Seattle University in 1988, first working in the Dean's Office and then transitioning to graduate programs. To recognize nearly 25 years of outstanding service to the university and Albers, we hosted a dinner in Mary's honor on November 26th.
Fr. Steve Sundborg was able to attend and presented Mary with the "Honored Retiree" Award from the university. The award is presented to exceptional staff upon their retirement from the university, and Mary is certainly deserving of the award (which includes privileges such as SU email, library access, and Connolly Center access). Fr. Steve recalled that when he first started as President, they wanted to have a staff representative on the SU Executive Committee. Mary filled that roll for two terms, which says something about the respect people have for Mary. There was never any doubt that she would ably represent staff and not be afraid to speak up!
I first met Mary before I arrived at SU in 2001. Jebnet is a group of Jesuit business graduate program directors that meets twice each year, and Mary was representing SU while I was representing Creighton. Mary was well established with the group and one of the key leaders by the time I started attending meetings in 1997. She welcomed me aboard and showed me the ropes. When I applied for the dean's job at SU, I was happy to see that Mary was on the search committee. Of course, I don't know what that did for me, and have never wanted to ask! :}
I have always been impressed with Mary's attention to the needs of students. "Students First!" could have been her personal tag line. Her dedication to students no doubt rubbed off on other Albers faculty and staff over the years. Mary was also always one to pitch in and help with any project that we happened to be working on. You could always count on her to be a team player. Of course, you would also get her opinion on how the project needed to be done, whether it corresponded with your own or not!
A number of faculty and staff stood up to share their favorite memories of Mary. Several faculty spoke of her invaluable assistance in helping them in their role overseeing one of our graduate degree programs. Several staff mentioned some personal difficulties they had experienced and how Mary had been so supportive of them at a critical time.
Mary got to tell a few stories, as well. One was that former Albers dean Jerry Viscione used to call her "The Flasher," because she was always leaving budget documents in plain sight on her desk!
Great universities are built by the efforts of people like Mary Carpenter. Thank you, Mary, for everything you have done for SU and its students! You have created quite a legacy!