Three members of the Seward County Community College staff plan to retire following the 2017-18 school year. Their impact on students and the college community has been far reaching.
Friends of the retirees said they served the college well for the time they were on campus. The retirees are: Director of Respiratory Therapy, Ed Anderson, who served for 19 years; Gary Damron, Social Science Instructor who served for 13 years and Gayla Myers, SSS Grant Project Director, who served at SCCC for five and a half years.
Ed Anderson, Director of Respiratory Therapy, kept the SCCC Respiratory program successful during his time running the program.
“He is a pioneer of Respiratory Therapy in southwest Kansas, in the field of Respiratory Therapy, and of this program. At one time, without him, this program would not have existed or continued. He expects a lot of the students in this program in terms of responsibility and respect for themselves and others. Students that are motivated and respectful can always find a helping hand from Ed,” Janae Zachary, coworker of Anderson’s and Respiratory Therapy Clinical Coordinator, said.
Todd Carter, Vice President of Academic Affairs, mentioned that Damron also impacted students every single day.
“At his core, Gary cares about people and is deeply committed to teaching and serving others. He was selected by students as instructor of the year in 2011 and has served on college teams responsible for continuous improvement and accreditation. Gary is a life long learner and develops the same passion in his students. We feel honored that Gary chose SCCC as his college family and for sharing his life and work with the students, faculty, and staff here,” Carter said.
As for retiree Myers, she made a big impact in the TRIO office during her time at SCCC. Alex Widener, SSS Grant Project Director, worked with her in the TRIO office and was thankful for the opportunity.
“Gayla was with TRIO for about four years. In that four years, she led TRIO as our Director, and advised a great number of students. She was always willingly ready to assist students with whatever they needed. Gayla is a very caring person, but she was also very direct with the students. When they left her office, they knew exactly what they needed to get done, which makes for great advising. She went the extra mile to help our students out. I am proud to say I worked with her, and was fortunate enough to learn from her,” Widener said.
The retirees not only made their impact around campus and on the students, they also developed relationships with their coworkers.
Anderson will be missed for his knowledge and kindness, on top of everything else he brought to SCCC.
“Ed is a very knowledgeable and is a highly experienced and respected Registered Respiratory Therapist and educator in the Respiratory Therapy community; I will miss both of these things about him greatly. He is a kind person and always reminds me to not take life so seriously and to slow down and enjoy it,” Zachary said.
Myers took the time out of her day to connect with her coworkers.
“Gayla was a flexible and understanding boss. I really enjoyed working with her. She has a lot of experience working in education, and I am so grateful I was able to learn from her. She taught me a lot about being a supervisor, which eventually helped groom me for the Director’s position. I miss (and will continue to miss) Gayla very much. I am lucky to still have her as a mentor,” Widener said.
Although each retiree is excited to begin living the retired lifestyle and start doing their favorite things, they will all miss one common thing: the interaction they had with the students.
Anderson said he is going to miss his “students relating their experience of helping saves lives before and after graduation.”
Damron is most excited about traveling with his wife, Barbara.
“We are going to Yellowstone this summer and Israel next year. We have a condo at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri,” Damron said about his retirement plans.
For Myers, students were the best part of the job as a whole.
“My favorite moment can’t be put in one moment but summed up with my work with students on a daily basis. I thoroughly enjoyed working with students and helping each of them in their college experience,” Myers said.