After 41 years…
By Madison Irving
After only three years at the former Bethel College, Shirley Martin graduated in 1970. Having her masters in Business
Administration as well as mathematics, she immediately went to work in the Admissions office as the Associate Director of Admissions at Bethel. In 1975 Martin moved over to the Registrar’s office where she is currently working today. She explained to me, “I’m a very detail oriented person, so this job has been perfect for me.”
Shirley Martin and her family grew up in McKenzie, TN and attended McKenzie High School. Martin's sister and brother-in-law both followed in her footsteps by going to Bethel. She knew when she graduated from Bethel she planned to stay much longer.
And forty years later she is still working at Bethel. In this amount of time many things are bound to change. Shirley Martin experienced many of these changes first hand. While she was working at Bethel she went through the process of changing out typewriters and calculators for computers.
“But the biggest change was the enrollment rate.” The enrollment rate basically forced Bethel to change over to a computer based system since the numbers of students were consistently growing and are still growing to this day.
“Even now is an exciting time to be working at Bethel, with all the new buildings, new classrooms, amount of students coming in, and all the technology we never thought we’d see at Bethel.” It’s true, it’s almost overwhelming the change going on at Bethel, change that wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for the people that invest themselves the most in the school.
Martin says, “The enjoyment I get comes from all the friends I have made. It’s an ongoing thing here, I meet new students all the time and it makes my life richer from hearing their story and how Bethel has helped them.” The only thing she hates is when students don’t take advantage of their time here.
“When they don’t take advantage of all the people that are here to help them it makes me sad.” These people that she references are every single person working at Bethel. Every faculty member, office worker, maintenance, security as well as cleaning staff will bend over backwards to assist a student. Yet many times their services aren’t utilized like they should be. Martin has stayed at Bethel because she does feel that Bethel makes a difference in people’s lives. She enjoys seeing her fellow workers helping students and loves watching freshman evolve into adults. By working in the Registrar’s office she gets to see students when they first get to campus, grow as the school grows and then she watches them graduate. Martin looks forward to hearing what these students go on to do with their lives, and is proud to say that she had something to do with it.