By Mallory Graves
Staff reporter

Retirement begins when a person stops living at work and starts working at living.

Linda Weippert, associate vice president for academic administrative operations, is officially retiring at the end of June.

“I am looking forward to it,” Weippert said. “I have been commuting from Wichita- about two hours on the road a day, for about seven years now. I am excited to get those ten hours that I lost each week back. It is definitely bittersweet.”

Weippert is ready to make the commitment that her significant other made about a year ago.

“I still feel like there is a lot that I could do at the college, but my husband already retired last year and is waiting for me to do so,” Weippert said. “When he retired, I just wasn’t quite ready. Then the pandemic happened, so we wouldn’t be able to travel anyways, so it was just as well that I was able to work an additional year.”

Weippert started working at Southwestern on March 31, 2014 in the registrar’s office. Three years later, she was promoted to her current position.

“I’ve learned a lot about the academic side of things,” Weippert said. “My background is primarily financial aid. I was a financial aid administrator for a number of years. I’ve enjoyed the work with faculty and also learning more about what goes on in academic affairs.”

Weippert attended three different institutions. She spent her first semester of her freshman year at Southwestern, but then got homesick and transferred to Wichita State University in her hometown.

Her final move was to the University of Kansas where she graduated with a double major of psychology in women’s studies. She then got a job at Emporia State University as a residence hall director, and received her Master’s degree in student affairs.

Weippert first dipped her toes in higher education when she became a residence hall director at Emporia State University and Drake University. She did that for five years until she discovered her passion for financial aid administration.

“I then got sucked into the world of financial aid administration,” Weippert said. “Anyone who works in financial aid has to be aware of things going on all over the campus, because there are so many regulations related to financial aid. I was fortunate enough to be able to work closely with the admissions office, so I know a lot about different regulations and requirements that a college has to do in order to be compliant with federal regulations.”

Weippert says she has never stopped learning, because life has never stopped teaching.

“I’ve figured out that I am still capable of learning new things,” Weippert said. “I know a lot about a lot of things and can make a difference by sharing that with the people that I work with.”

There has been many things that Weippert has done in her time at Southwestern that she is very proud of.

“When I first came in 2014, some of the registrar functions for the Professional Studies Division were handled by folks in Wichita,” said Weippert. “One of the things that I was in charge of was pulling that all together in the registrar’s office and consolidating it and we were able to do that. We also had five catalogues for the main campus and Professional Studies, so I took all of those and combined them into the one that students use now.”

Weippert said she has been working on two big projects. “One was this big accreditation project and the other was chairing the COVID-19 action team and being involved with all of the preparation for students coming back to campus in the fall.”

Amanda McKimson, registrar, has known Weippert for about four years. They became friends when they started working together.

“When I came to Southwestern, we started working with each other,” McKimson said. “She had been in the registrar’s seat prior to becoming into her current position, and we worked very closely together since our offices are interconnected.”

Just because the two offices are separate, does not mean that Weippert and McKimson don’t stay in touch.

“One unique thing about our offices is that we genuinely care about each other,” McKimson said. “We know what is happening in each other’s lives and we cherish the friendships that we have made.”

McKimson will miss Weippert.

“Linda has been a great asset to this institution and when she retires, she is going to be missed dearly,” said McKimson. “I have mixed emotions about her retirement. I am happy for her, but sad for the college.”

Other professors recognize Linda’s significance to the college.

Kurt Keiser, professor of business, said, “Linda’s contribution to SC is substantial but largely hidden from view. When she came to SC, she was the registrar for a few years and then became assistant vp of academic affairs. Both of those positions carry very important and weighty responsibilities. Linda ensures that the institution is in compliance with accreditation standards and that we offer the highest quality educational experience for our students. During the COVID pandemic, she assumed additional responsibilities that transformed her job into a 24/7 commitment. She has been instrumental in successfully guiding the college through this challenging part of its history.”

Despite the lack of closeness between Keiser and Weippert, he still has good things to say about her.

“I’m not close to Linda, like a good friend might be, but I have great respect for her,” Keiser said. “She’s a relatively quiet and humble person with an amazing work ethic who rises above stress and difficulties with calmness and grace.”

Keiser comments on Weippert’s retirement.

“Everyone must come to the end of their career and retire at some point in time,” Keiser said. “Linda has reached that milestone and we wish her the very best. She will be surely missed by the campus community.”