Reeve, Reynolds and Griswold retire


Walter Reeve

“Are you going to print this?” That is the first response given by those interviewed about the soon-to-be-retiring Walter Reeve, circulation coordinator at the Willey Library and Learning Center.

All agreed on his propensity to talk and that he is always in a good mood. “He makes me laugh,” Public Services Librarian Linda Kramer said. “It’s wonderful to go into his office after a particularly long day and just shoot the breeze. He is always a very willing listener. We will miss him.”

One student worker, Whitney Nellé, added, “He is well-read and he knows about what’s going on and he is not afraid to tell anyone about it,” she said. “He is just funny. He is Walter.”

Reeve started at Johnson State College in May, 1986 as the grounds keeper and worked in that position for two-and-a-half years. “I started at the college because I was looking for free tuition,” he said. “As I got a lot of overtime taking care of the snow and stuff – the grounds – I converted that to comp time so I could go to classes. I had enough credits to convince the librarian that I could work in the library and got in here.” He eventually received his undergraduate and master’s degrees.

He started at the library the year it got computers and has seen operating systems change a couple of times. “But, they [still] do the same thing,” he said. “Screens are a little prettier, they use a lot more computer power for all the junk that’s on them and they do the same damn thing.”

According to Faculty Librarian Joseph Farara, Reeve is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the library. “He oversees the student workforce and is responsible for making sure all the material that is circulated gets returned to their proper spots in the library,” he said. “He is the enforcer, the policy enforcer.”

Nellé looked back at her time working with him. “He is a very nice man, he certainly is, but he seems scary though,” she said. “I was very scared of him the first few times I worked. He seems so professional and with it, and you don’t want to cross him. He seems really intimidating … but he is a very sweet man.”

His colleagues are all impressed by his dedication. “He is someone you can trust implicitly to be responsible, to be reliable, and to do the right thing,” Farara said. “He is an incredibly hard working and dedicated guy.”

Kramer says that he has been an instrumental part of the functioning of the library, working the night shift. “I can’t imagine what it is going to be like trying to fill his position and his shoes,” she said. “On the worst-weather days, I’d be at the reference desk when Walt would breeze into the library midday having braved the cold as he made his way up College Hill from School Street, his daily walk to work. Even before he could take off his coat and hat, he would be met by work-study students worried about their schedule or contracts. He never balked at the challenges of bad weather or conflicting schedules in all the years I worked with him.”

According to Farara, Reeve develops a real bond with students and serves as someone who will listen to them and provide them with really good, sensible advice. “It’s the fact that he has been so instrumental in the lives of students,” he said.

Nellé agrees. “I feel like I can trust him as more than a boss,” she said. “If I needed help with something I feel like whatever it was, he would try to help me to the best of his ability.”

Kramer shared a little-known fact about Reeve. During the design phase of the WLLC back in the 1990s, he lobbied for an atrium in the new library. “Whenever I’m giving tours of our main reading room and second floor balcony, I associate that area with Walt and think about how his early input helped create such a grand, beautiful, and welcoming physical space,” she said.

Reeve is looking forward to spending time pursuing sugaring and other physical projects, and though he says he hates to leave, he acknowledges that he needs the time to do other things. “I’m leaving because I feel it’s time,” he said. “If I don’t retire now I may not be able to do the physical things I want to do if I live longer. Someone pointed out to me that I may not be quite as robust when I am 77.”



Jean Reynolds
(photo by Leisa Kelsey)

Coworkers agree that Assistant to the Academic Dean Jean Reynolds has a great sense of humor that will be missed with her upcoming retirement. “It’s nice to recount one of the punch lines from one of the old Seinfeld shows and have her automatically know what you are talking about and be able to share the humor in that line,” Dean of Academic Affairs Daniel Regan said.“She has a terrific and quirky sense of humor which really makes days in the office fly by and a pleasure,” he said.” If you hang out that number of hours with a person on a nearly daily basis it’s important that you get along. If you share a sense of humor with that person it makes it all the more pleasant and special.”

Assistant Academic Dean Jo Ann Lamore, agrees. “She makes me laugh, which I think is important when you are in a stressful position,” she said. “For me personally, I am having a hard time, thinking about her not being here.”

For all of her sense of humor, Reynolds is a numbers person. “I do have a lot to do with the budget, especially where the part-time faculty is concerned,” she said. “We usually have about 90 part-time faculty members each semester, so I make sure that their contract amounts are right and they get their contracts.” She works very closely during those times with the payroll department.

Another attribute Reynolds holds is the ability to be calm, cool and collected. “This is a busy place,” Regan said. “A very large number of college staff and faculty report to Academic Affairs. There is quite a lot of traffic through this office and communications with this office and it also requires a delicate and steady hand to manage the complicated personalities who inhabit Academic Affairs. She is very smart, very competent and very loyal to the college and to its students.”

Lamore agrees that she is a good person to work with. “She is very good at her job,” she said. “She really holds this place together and whenever she is not here it is noticeable.”

Reynolds is retiring because it is time. “I’ve loved my 11 years here and I have made some really close friends and I will miss my office mates dearly, but it’s time to move on,” she said. She is in the process of putting her home on the market. “We want to sell our home in Waterville and move closer to the Burlington area. We spend a lot of time in the Burlington area. We like to go to concerts at the Flynn and it’s really a long drive home.”

Regan and Lamore are certainly going to be sad to see her go and will miss her, but at the same time Regan finds it’s a delight to see how enthusiastic Reynolds and her husband Mike are about moving on to the next chapter of their lives together.

Reynolds started in 2001 working for the Dean of Institutional Advancement and supported the Alumni Office before coming to work in her present position.



Bonnie Griswold
(photo by Mariah Howland)

This year’s Cookie Day will be bittersweet for one of the founders. The administrative assistant for the Upward Bound Program, Bonnie Griswold, came up with the idea for a student appreciation day that coincided with final exams. “It’s a little pick me up for the college students when they are taking their final exams,” said Tony Blueter, director of Upward Bound.

Griswold is retiring after 25 years. It will be the last time she asks for cookie donations from those on the staff.

Co-workers agree that she has been a major participant in the special day. “Bonnie is very dedicated to JSC and to Upward Bound and the students they serve. She is always thinking about students,” said Director of Academic Support Services Karen Madden.

Griswold started at Johnson State College in 1987 and has worked the entire time for Upward Bound, a TRIO program. “It’s a big office manager position and I have had responsibility for student records and budgeting and reporting,” Griswold said. “We’re completely funded by the U.S. Department of Ed., so we have several federal reports that have to be done annually, lots of data.”

According to Blueter, Griswold is the clearinghouse or hub of the office, central to the ebb and flow of the whole work environment. “She is one of the most detail-oriented people I have ever worked with,” he said. “It has been pretty remarkable that she has been able to balance all the information that comes through the office.”

Griswold has found her work at JSC worthwhile. “It’s very rewarding when you feel like a conversation you’ve had with a student has encouraged them to either stay in college or go back to college,” she said.

A few years ago one of her students graduated from JSC after 10 years of working her way through college because life interfered. “She came to me just before graduation and said, ‘I want you to know I credit you a lot with the fact that I am graduating.’ That kind of thing feels really good.”

The Upward Bound Program is funded for a specific eight high schools within a 50-mile radius of JSC. The schools involved make referrals of students that the coordinator and guidance office determine have the ability to be college students, but for one reason or another, the student never thought he/she could be.

These students are given more motivation, more exposure to what’s out there, and assistance with applications and financial aid. “They can go to college and finish college, which is a big change in the 25 years I’ve worked here. When I started here the U.S. Department of Ed. requirements were just that we would get students through high school and thinking about going into college. The change over the 25 years is now they are looking for statistics on students completion from college; the percentage who actually complete.”

With 90 students in the program per year, in any given year the program is tracking and keeping information on 400 to 500 students.

Going from full-time work to not working is going to be a big change for her.

“I’ve actually got several plans and am looking and really excited about having time off in the summer,” Griswold said. The Upward Bound Program unlike the rest of the departments at the college has its busiest period in the summer-time. “For 25 years I haven’t had time off in the summer,” she said.