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Scotlight: Suzanne Bates

Suzanne Bates, Registrar at The College of Wooster, shares her professional journey and her post-retirement plans, as well as her advice for current students

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Suzanne Bates, Registrar at The College of Wooster.

In a few words, what has your career looked like? What made you choose to work with college students?

Well, it evolved through the years. I started teaching middle school back in the early ’70s when I graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington and then we kept moving so it just didn’t work out to teach. So I finished my Master’s degree and we lived in Greencastle, Ind. at the time and I acquired a position at DePauw University, there in Greencastle, another GLCA school. I worked there for five years until I had children and then took some time off, and then from 1989 until now, it’s been a straight shot — 30 years of this right now.

In the years of experience working with College students, what would you mark as a highlight event or moment thus far?

Not one specific moment, I just like working with college students. It sounds a little crazy, but most of the time it’s a rewarding experience; I feel like I am able to help them. I enjoy hearing about their plans, what they want to do, what their goals and aspirations are, and through the 35 years that, hasn’t changed that much.

Can you talk about some of your main responsibilities here at the College?

Well, those too have evolved. This is a busy, busy office; it’s kind of the nucleus of the College, if you will, because there are so many things that we have to do in this office in order for everything to work campus wide. We do registration of course, the schedule of classes, transcripts, diplomas, commencement plans, the College catalogue — we have just rolled out the new student planning module, Self-Service for Colleague, so that’s evolved recently. We are working on a new curriculum that will begin next fall, The Liberal Arts Core curriculum for the incoming class. It’s been a busy year.

Are you willing to share anything else about yourself that is interesting or unique?

I love to travel. I am retiring this year, after 35 years in higher education. I plan to travel quite a bit. I already have a trip planned next month to Cuba with my daughter, and then in June and July I will be in Ireland with a colleague from DePauw. Then I have a whole bucket list of places I want to go, so there are a lot of places back in Europe that I want to go revisit — especially Italy — and I want to go to Costa Rica. I have always wanted to go there, I just haven’t gone there yet. I also love to garden, I like to cross-stitch, love to read and watch movies. I am looking forward to just some downtime where I can do whatever I want. It’ll be strange after all these years; I hope to have a routine, not a schedule, but I think I need to establish a routine just because that is what I’ve always done.

If you could leave the students of Wooster one piece of advice, what would it be?

That is a tough one. I think you have to be open-minded and flexible. I have always tried to have a plan for what I was going to do, and I think students should, too. I mean you have plans, you have goals, and so forth, but if things don’t work out quite like you think they should, or would, you need to be flexible and maybe step back and reflect a little bit and think ‘okay, so this didn’t work out, or doesn’t appear to be working out, so what can I do? What do I want to do?’

 

Interview by Larissa Lamarca, a  Contributing Writer for the Voice

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