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Q and A with Alumna Donna Reynolds

Donna Reynolds '05, Executive Assistant for the Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs at WCU, shares some of her memories of Scott and Walker Residence Halls and the unique items that have been found during the demolition of the iconic buildings.

Portrait of Donna Reynolds

 

When did you graduate from WCU and in what subject?

I graduated in December 2005 with a BSBA in Business Management.

What are some of your fondest memories as a student at WCU—more specifically how they relate to your time in Scott Hall.

I moved into Scott Hall as a freshman in August of 1990. My roommate was my best friend from high school so we got to experience our first time away from home together. Home football game days where we inevitably would have to evacuate the building at least once due to aerosol hair spray being used in the hallways because that is where the full length mirrors were. The 2:00 am fire alarms because someone burned popcorn in the kitchen. The gathering of the hall to watch the news when Desert Storm began during the spring semester, worried about those of us who had friends and family in the military and what it would mean for us as a country, we had never experienced war before. I met some lifelong friends that I am still in touch with and one of whom our children have become great friends as well.

You are currently the Executive Assistant for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. Tell us a little about your career path since graduating from WCU.

I started working for Student Affairs as a student worker in August of 1990. From there I became an orientation assistant until I was offered a full-time position in Student Affairs in 1995. I served as a Program Assistant, Administrative Support Associate, and finally as the Executive Assistant always in Student Affairs. This is where my heart is, supporting students and helping them succeed in the classroom by supporting them outside of the classroom.

What are some of your fondest memories as a staff member at Western?

I have had the opportunity to work with truly amazing people. Some of which have gone on to be Vice Chancellors and Chancellors at other universities.

But my fondest memories have come from the students that I have worked with, usually when they were not in a great place. An international student from Japan was having issues adapting to life on campus and I was able to connect her other students who befriended her and helped show her around and included her in their social activities so she could make friends and not feel so isolated. She came to see me the week she graduated to tell me thank you and to bring me a small gift because she would have left without those connections, that gift still sits on my desk.

Another student who didn’t make the best decisions when he was here, resulting in his suspension, came to campus to visit me and another co-worker last spring. He said getting suspended was actually the best thing to happen to him as it made him take a hard look at his life and the decisions he had made. We spent over an hour talking and told him it was never too late to come back and encouraged him to talk to financial aid. He messaged me last week and he will be continuing his education here in the Fall.

Tell us how Scott Hall has changed from when you were a student to when you left it as a staff member.

The biggest change is men are now allowed to live in the building! When I was a freshman Scott was all women. My god son and nephew both attended WCU and both lived in Scott Hall their freshmen year, my nephew on the same hall I lived on just three doors down. It was strange being on the eighth floor and seeing a bunch of men on the hall; that would never have been allowed when I was a student. Free laundry? Where was that when I needed it!

In preparing Scott Hall for abatement, several documents, photo’s, and trinkets were found in the clean out process including a special personal item of yours—tell us about that.

Up until a month ago my office was located on the first floor of Scott.

Our maintenance supervisor was preparing for the abatement of Scott and happened to walk by the room as I was in as a freshman (815) and they were removing the dresser. There were several items which had fallen behind it over the years, it was bolted to the wall so there was no way for students to move it and check behind it.

He stopped by my office that afternoon and asked me what my maiden name was. I told him and he in turn handed me an envelope that was found behind that dresser. Inside that envelope was a Christmas card that my grandparents sent me in December of 1990. My grandmother passed away 15 years ago and it was written in her hand. To see her signature again brought me to tears. I took a picture and shared it with my family and that card is now sitting on my desk.

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