The 17 recent retirees of MCCC were thrown one last ceremony Wednesday, where resolutions were read, hugs were shared, and emotion was felt.
“We’ve been a family here and now we’re moving on to new stages in our lives,” retiring professor Jim Devries said.
In May of this year, a law was approved by the Michigan legislature adding a benefit multiplier to the monthly pension for all qualifying school employees who announced retirement by June 11, 2010.
Out of the 50 eligible employees at MCCC, 17 retired. Twelve of them attended the reception.
The college had planned for the celebration since June as a way to honor the retiring employees and to invite back retirees from past years.
“Before we said goodbye to all of those distinguished employees, we needed a celebration to celebrate their service to the college, to honor them for their hard work, and to wish them the best in a long life of good health and prosperity,” MCCC President David Nixon said.
Previous retirees of MCCC who attended included James Keck, former director of Physical Plant, Laurence Wilson, former registrar, Allen Hileman, former dean of the Math/Science division, and Audrey Warrick, former president.
In the beginning of the ceremony, Nixon introduced Victoria McIntyre, the new administrative assistant to the President and Board of Trustees, who replaced Lynne Goldsmith.
The three vice presidents, Grace Yackee, Sue Wetzel, and Randy Daniels, announced the new employees within each of their divisions.
Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Bacarella then stood to introduce the members of the Board of Trustees who would be reading the resolutions for each of the 17 retirees.
These included board members Linda Lauer, Joseph Bellino, Marjorie Kreps, and Michael Myer, along with vice chairperson Bill Braunlick and Board Secretary Mary Kay Thayer.
The resolutions were written by the supervisors of the retirees and were a kind of thumbnail sketch of the contributions each person made, Nixon said. Nixon, therefore, wrote the resolutions for Lynne Goldsmith and Timothy Bennett.
“For Lynne and Tim there were lots of things that could’ve been said in the resolution, because over 30 years of time they made a huge impression on the college, and had a number of accomplishments in their careers,” Nixon said.
As the resolutions were read for each employee, there were many stories and laughs to accompany them. The audience could witness some long-term friends saying their official goodbyes.
Retiring employee Chris Sims, former administrative assistant in Information Systems, said she has made lifelong friends at MCCC over the last 38 years.
“Back when I first started here it was a much smaller place and there were fewer employees,” she said. “Everyone was truly a family.”
“A lot of us still are, it’s just that as it grows you lose touch with people,” Sims added.
Before reading Lynne Goldsmith’s resolution, Board Secretary Mary Kay Thayer spoke briefly about the reception.
“This is such a bittersweet day,” she said. “There are so many of you that I have known for 30 years. In particular, Lynne Goldsmith.”
Goldsmith stepped closer to Thayer and put her arm around her shoulders.
“She has been such a support to all of the Trustees coming and going,” Thayer continued. “It takes me back, reading this resolution.”
Board member Jo Bellino began introducing retiring professor Allan Thom, or “Coach” as Bellino called him, with an anecdotal story.
“There’s no mention in this resolution about Coach being an old baseball coach,” he said. “I played for Coach, in fact we won a championship in 1977, and I was the vital bench player on that team.”
He continued reminiscing on a spring trip the team took one year. Thom and Bellino ended up sharing a room.
“It was freaky for a 19-year-old boy to watch a man get on his knees and read the Bible every night,” he said. “I didn’t understand it then but now he’s one of my best friends.”
Bellino was not the only board member to recall personal experience alongside the resolutions.
Bill Bacarella announced that he had retiring professors John Miller, Donald Hyatt, and Pettit as professors when he was a student at MCCC.
“Those of us that have worked with them may have heard a few stories about them that we hadn’t heard before,” Nixon said.
Sims said she thought the reception was a very nice send-off for all of the retirees.
“I wish more of them could have been here, but they had other commitments,” she said.
Bob Pettit, retiring assistant professor of biological sciences, said the college planned the reception very well and he was happy to be a part of it.
“It’s a way of not just thanking, but recognizing the legitimacy of the process of employment and the legitimacy of the education that goes on here,” Pettit said.
The retirees who were honored Wednesday include:
Administrative assistant to manager
of Information Systems, 38 years.
Graphic designer, 36 years.
Professor of Psychology, 40 years.
Assistant professor of Biological
Sciences, 41 years.
Administrative assistant to dean of
Business Division, 33 years.
Coordinator of Learning Assistance
Lab, 25 years.
Registrar, 16 years.
Associate professor of Business
and Management, 43 years.
Executive assistant to president
and Board of Trustees, 28 years.
Prophesor of Physical Education,
Maintenance foreman, 30 years.
Professor of History, 40 years.
Vice president of Business Affairs,
and Treasurer, 31 years.
Administrative assistant to the director
of Human Recourses, 39 years.
Administrative assistant to director
of Physical Plant, 23 years.