Stewart Retires, Having Served Three MC Presidents
August 24, 2007Lots of hugs, gifts and kind words came Bettye Stewart's way at a retirement reception for the beloved Mississippi College staff member.
"She brought smiles, vitality and personality to the job," said art instructor Kenneth Quinn as Stewart's sea of admirers lined up Thursday at Alumni Hall on the Clinton campus. "The faculty and students all love her very much. Everybody does."
At the two-hour reception that drew visitors like Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman, Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale, plus MC faculty, staff and other school leaders, Quinn showed his love by surprising Stewart with a new piece of his art work.
Stewart, who served with distinction as administrative assistant to three MC presidents and an acting president since 1984, isn't leaving just yet. The last day on the job for the MC Staff Member of the Year for 2006 will be Aug. 31.
"We're going to miss you immensely," President Lee Royce told Stewart at the Dowdle Reception Room. Stewart brought an extraordinary amount of wisdom, discretion and capability to the position, a critical one at the Christian university, he said. "She has an amazing amount of corporate memory."
Royce's wife, Rhoda, also appreciates Stewart's value to MC and the contribution she makes daily to the people she encounters on and off the Clinton campus. "Knowing Bettye as the Christian, kind, comforting and sharing person she is has been a Godsend," Rhoda Royce said.
Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Sones, a Brookhaven banker, remembers Stewart as one who made sure to call at least once a month and make sure some important piece of MC business wasn't overlooked. "We appreciate all you've done at the school."
Stewart won't be going far away. She's stepping down to spend more time with her family and devote more of her attention to volunteer work at Broadmoor Baptist Church.
After greeting a steady stream of her biggest fans, Stewart told the MC family "I have been blessed to work here."
She noted she worked with a lot of Mississippi College presidents, from Lewis Nobles to Howell Todd to Lee Royce to interim leaders such as Lloyd Roberts. "I trained them well," she said as the crowd laughed with her and nodded in agreement.
With Stewart's departure coming next week, Patty Tadlock will quickly fill her slot. Tadlock is presently a secretary in the Office of the President. She's served on the MC staff for eight years. Two of Tadlock's children are MC graduates.
A Clintonian, Tadlock said she's looking forward to her new assignment. Stewart has given her some valuable pointers along the way. Stewart "has just been wonderful," Tadlock said. "As soon as you start working here you do have a love for it."
With Tadlock taking on a new role, her job needs to be filled, too. Amy Rowan, who works at Northside Elementary in Clinton, will succeed her at MC's Nelson Hall.
PHOTO (left to right): Dr. Lee Royce, Stewart, and MC Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Sones.