Mann to retire after 40 years at JSC

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Mann to retire after 40 years at JSC

Shannon Edwards

Shannon Edwards

Shannon Edwards

Sue Mann

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Susan Mann, an Administrative Assistant for the Environmental and Health Science as well as the Math Department, will be retiring March 1 to mark the 40th anniversary of her arrival at Johnson State College.

A retirement party will be held for her on Feb. 27 in the Stearns Performance Space from 3:30 to 4:40PM.

From Waterville, Mann commutes 90 miles a week to Johnson. She is married, and will be celebrating her 10th leap-year wedding anniversary with her husband, Roger, this upcoming Feb. 29. Their daughter, who is also married and has two children, lives close by in the same town.

Chair of Mathematics Department and Associate Professor Julie Theoret considers Mann’s services to Johnson invaluable. “From the very first day I got here, she just was extremely helpful, always happy, always smiling,” said Theoret, who came to teach at Johnson in 2008. “She’s a genuinely nice person; she cares about you and what you’re saying. It’s one thing to come in and shuffle around the paperwork and help remove the paper jams from the copier, but nobody’s going to do it like she does.”

Brad Moscowitz, professor of Outdoor Education and chair of the Curriculum Committee, also relies heavily on her assistance, especially due to the nature of his classes. Teaching courses that vary from avalanche awareness to white river rafting, Moscowitz needs Mann’s help to maintain, procure, and pay for licenses to operate on Vermont State Lands. “If I’m teaching off campus and I need something to be done or posted, I can always count on her to help me out,” he said. “More importantly, she’s always there for the students. If you have a question about procedure or where people need to go to do this or that, Susan can point them in the right direction. She’s just a great resource.”

As an administrative assistant, Mann’s duties vary widely in both scale and difficulty. Not only does she make coffee and maintain the copier, she also keeps an eye on the department’s hefty budgets, revises curriculum schedules to avoid class conflicts, schedules meetings, and organizes and distributes material. Students also rely on her to help them with anything from signatures to staplers.

The Environmental and Health Sciences and the Mathematics faculty universally admire Mann’s work. Professor of Environmental Science Bob Genter describes her as “efficient, collegial, and warm,” and said that she has been “a wonderful co-worker.”

Les Kanat, another Environmental Science Professor, said, “I had always hoped that I would retire before Sue because I have always feared the day that our departments will not have her here to guide us. We are going to miss her dearly.”

Even Greg Petrics, an assistant professor for Mathematics who has only been involved in the JSC community for a year, has felt Mann’s considerable influence. “She is one of the best people to work with,” he said, describing Mann as funny, nice, and humble. “It’s hard to overstate just how great of a person she is.”

Mann first came to Johnson State College in 1970 from the New England Tel and Tel company in Morrisville, where she worked odd hours as an operator. Her skills allowed her to run the switchboard down in McClelland. Over the years, Mann worked as a secretary for the academic dean, then was promoted to administrative assistant for several different departments, and arrived at Bentley in 1980, where she has remained ever since. Throughout her career, Mann has witnessed the coming and going of many students, faculty, and most interestingly, the transition from crank-operated DittoMasters and wet copiers to email and digital databases.

Many faculty will be sad to see Mann leave. “I’m still in denial,” said Theoret. “I don’t want her to go. I think you could talk to anybody and they’re going to say that.”

And what exactly will she do with her new-found freedom? “First thing I’m going to be doing is finishing our taxes,” she said, laughing. After that, Mann plans on spending her retirement doing the little things in life that she’s always wanted to do: more gardening, organizing the house, spending time with her family at their camp on Lake Champlain, and immediately after wrapping up their taxes, taking a short vacation with her husband. “There is life after retirement,” she said. “It’s what you make it, it’s what you want it to be.”

Clearly though, the 40-year chapter of her life at Johnson State College will be a difficult one to close. “It’s been a long road, a wonderful long road,” Mann said. “It’s been a journey that I really have enjoyed, and I’m going to miss it.”

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