Loretta Massenburg never seems to have had a bad day at work in registration and records. Just ask her co-workers and her boss.
What makes her attitude even more remarkable is that it’s lasted for 37 years—that’s more than 9,000 good days at work.
On Friday, Oct. 22, colleagues from across campus will help Massenburg round out her career with a special day, ending with a retirement party from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Joyner Visitor Center.
They Call Her Yoda
Many people Massenburg helped over the years never knew her name. She’s been the friendly voice reassuring a parent whose call has been transferred repeatedly: “This will be the last time. I’m going to fix it.”
Co-workers knew she’d volunteer to take the phones when the department was shorthanded. Colleagues across campus came to count on her, including a “genius” of a computer-phobic professor she entered grades for, semester after semester.
Students appreciated her skill in being able to give bad news about being suspended or missing graduation with wisdom and compassion.
“She’s one of the kindest, most genuine people on this campus,” says enrollment communication coordinator Nicole Wood. “But she’ll give it to you straight, if you know what I mean.”
It’s easy to find evidence of the goodwill Massenburg generates. Visitors wave and smile when they walk by her office in Harris Hall, where thank you cards turn up regularly, along with flowers and baked goods. A once-struggling student who credits Massenburg with encouraging her to finish college, and then law school, often stops by.
The Star Wars items are from Massenburg’s colleagues, who have nicknamed her “Yoda.”
Old School to New Technology
When Massenburg began work as a file clerk in 1973, each student’s folder had a label, typed on a Royal manual typewriter.
Through the transition to digital records and from one computerized system to another, Massenburg kept learning and growing. As a short-timer, she was helping colleagues set up customized queries to make work smoother.
“She was one of the fastest to pick up the new PeopleSoft system,” says Registrar Louis Hunt. “Her depth of knowledge has helped us fix deep-seated problems in software.”
Massenburg’s notes on policy changes have been invaluable to her bosses. “She’s been our institutional memory,” Hunt says. He also considers her a mentor, confidante and friend.
When she started work, Massenburg’s daughters were 2 and 3 years old.
Now she shares a house with her younger daughter, Nikki, and 16-year-old granddaughter, Bria. She’s also keeping an eye on her older daughter, Wendy, who’s recuperating from breast cancer surgery.
As always, Massenburg looks forward to plenty of company and plenty of good food. She’s making plans to travel with her sisters.
And although she’s retiring, another family member is on campus.
Her grandson, Nicholas Knight, is majoring in business and marketing education with a minor in business administration. She looked him up in the records system, just to make sure her information was exactly right.