Three generations watched as the Barton Community College Board of Trustees said goodbye to Linda Haberman, who retired at the end of July after 46 years of employment at BCC.
“She is the longest full-time employee that we’ve ever had at the institution, and we don’t want her to go,” Vice President of Administration Mark Dean said.
Actually, she’s been at the college even longer than that.
“I came here as a student in ’69,” she said.
Barton’s standard of customer service helped her as a student, and then she carried that forward to help other students as an employee. When she came to enroll, she learned there was a problem and she did not have the financial aid she expected. The Dean of Student Services, Jimmie Downing, helped her find the assistance she needed.
Dr. Downing would later become the president of Barton County Community College.
A lot has changed in the decades that followed, Haberman recalled. Tuition was $3 a credit hour.
She started her career at the college the week after she graduated with an associate degree in 1971. “My accounting instructor recommended me.”
Linda married Brent, and their daughters Darcie, Stephanie and Andrea all attended Barton. Their daughters and grandchildren were at the college on July 25 for a reception in the Plaza De Cavanaugh room at the college’s Learning Resource Center. Then they attended the board of trustees’ meeting to watch Dean and Johnson present her with an inscribed brick noting her “dedicated service.”
“Actually, she was eligible for this brick after 10 years,” Dean said. Johnson figured they could give her four and a half, or Haberman could stay for four more years and get five full awards.
Haberman wasn’t swayed by requests that she stay another four — or 40 — years. “Brent and I are retiring the same day,” she said. Her last day was July 31.
“I’ve enjoyed the people here and working with students,” Haberman said. “I liked being able to help them with their finances when they need a little guidance or help getting things on track. I’ll miss it immensely when I leave.”
“From a board perspective, we appreciate your many years of service,” Johnson said. “To be anywhere for that length of time shows a lot for you personally and for your character.”
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman simply said, “I’m having a hard time keeping tears back.” Later he was able to add, “She has not slowed down. Linda has a tremendous energy level and commitment to students and staff.”
Haberman is now the manager of the business office. She has the longest full-time employment of anyone at the college. Art instructor Steve Dudek may be next on the list.
Dean told the board of trustees that Haberman still has the same stapler as when she started working at the college in 1971. “I said she could take it home with her.”
Additional reporting by Brandon Steinert, Barton Community College.