After 39 years, dean’s assistant to retire

Kirsten Beverley

Honors College employee wants to enjoy life’s little things

Wilma Crawford is retiring after 34 years in the Honors College and 39 years at Kent State. After retirement she says you can find her in her new relocated “office” at Susan’s Coffee Shop with a cup of coffee.

Credit: Kirsten Beverley

For every end, there is a new beginning. Wilma Crawford, assistant to the dean at the Honors College and senior thesis coordinator, is saying goodbye to Kent State and hello to the beginning of retirement.

After working 39 years at the university and 34 years in the Honors College, Crawford is ready to start a new chapter in her life.

In fact, Crawford plans to write a book about the history of the Honors College or perhaps a book about the one-room schoolhouse she attended in Kentucky.

“I want to stop working here while I have the strength to do these things and the memory to write,” Crawford said.

Although Crawford is technically retiring, her schedule will remain busy. Crawford says it is time to enjoy the little things in life while she still has the energy.

“I have so many plans — I want to do another Ireland trip before my knees give out,” Crawford said.

Crawford said she plans to remove some of the clutter that has invaded her space, work in her yard and continue her tradition of writing letters to friends, family and former students, while sipping a good cup of coffee at Susan’s.

Crawford’s responsibilities have mounted over the years, and it is clear by the mountain of paperwork that it will be difficult to replace such a dedicated individual.

“Her advice has always been invaluable to the deans,” said Larry Andrews, dean of the Honors College.

Crawford’s warm smile and passion for her work is clear when one sits down and talks with her.

“Her warmth, good heartedness and her human interest in students as individuals is invaluable,” Andrews said.

“It is just so interesting and relaxing to talk to her,” said Carolyn Sampson, Honors coordinator.

Crawford said she will miss working with the students on their senior thesis projects. Tomorrow will be Crawford’s last senior thesis meeting.

“I’m going to miss the thesis program the most and the students in the program. I coach them through the process,” Crawford said.

Students involved in the senior thesis project feel that Crawford has been the driving force for completion.

“She is very informative and knowledgeable. She encourages us throughout the project. She is very approachable and friendly,” said Megan Jones, senior interior design major.

“She a mentor to students and encourages them throughout their thesis,” Andrews said.

Crawford has pushed through some difficult times and taught many about the power of positive thinking. “When I am tempted to complain, I think about how it is worse somewhere else,” she said.

“She has a willingness to work hard, especially through crisis, and she has taught me a lot about flexibility in rules and policies and treating students as individuals,” Andrews said.

As a storyteller, Crawford will tell you that this retirement is just a new chapter in her life. Crawford will be missed, but her stories will live on, and her lessons will continue to be taught through those lives she has touched.

“She is an institutional memory,” Andrews said.

Today, from 4 to 6 p.m. in room 204 of the Student Center, there will be a retirement reception to honor Crawford. Friends and colleagues will say a few words at 5 p.m.

Contact Honors College/Graduate Studies reporter Kirsten Beverley at [email protected].