By Maggie Collett
It’s hard to avoid going into the Student Life office if you live on campus. But many people don’t know much about the first person they come to upon opening the door. Pat Boggs, Student Life administrative assistant, is not only the first person to greet visitors but she is also a major force in the Student Life office.
In October, Boggs will have been working at Southwestern for 10 years. The thing Boggs enjoys most about her job are her daily interactions.
“[I like] the people I work for: Dawn [Pleas-Bailey] and Dan [Falk] and Sarah [Hallinan],” said Boggs.
Boggs’s daily tasks include lots of behind-the-scenes detailed jobs that many people would never know.
“I manage the calendar for Dan [Falk] and Dawn [Pleas-Bailey]. I oversee the budget in the office. I send out the correspondence for judicials,” said Boggs.
Boggs said she sometimes struggles with communicating with students.
“I set up the appointments and I don’t have texting and just trying to call them or e-mailing doesn’t always work,” said Boggs.
Before coming to Southwestern, Boggs worked at an insurance company doing payroll and benefits. When the insurance company sold, Boggs began working at the bank doing customer service and setting up accounts.
Since Boggs has lived in small towns most of her life, she was born in Concordia, and was raised in Marion. “I grew up mostly in Marion,” said Boggs. While living in Marion, Boggs got a taste of her childhood dream: working in a clothing store.
“I wanted to either run a clothing store or work as a buyer in women’s retail,” said Boggs.
As a child, Boggs said they usually had dogs as pets. Now, however, Boggs and her husband don’t own any animals. “We’re gone a lot. The kids don’t live in town so it’s hard to keep a pet,” said Boggs.
Family is a huge part of Boggs’s life. She and her husband have two children, each with three children of their own. This means that Boggs and her husband keep busy traveling to Mead, to see their son and to Visalia, Calif. to visit their daughter.
Some mothers might balk at the thought of their child live several states away. Boggs, however, loves California. If she could do anything else with her life, Boggs said she would move there.
“Money no object, I’d live on the west coast,” said Boggs. “I’d manage my home.”
Boggs’s love of family and friends is obvious.
Sarah Hallinan, director of residence life, works with Boggs and remembered a Christmas event with her. “Pat had us over for Christmas one year and her husband makes the best shrimp boil. It’s like coming home to your mom’s house,” said Hallinan. “Sometimes you just have to have Pat time.”
Hallinan said Boggs is like a mom to not only her, but students as well. “Even if you’re up here about to get kicked out of school, Pat still loves you and she will make sure you have water and she will give you a comfy couch. Good times, bad times, she’s here for students,” said Hallinan. “She’s the first person you come to and there’s a reason for that.”
Hallinan worked in the Student Life office when she attended Southwestern as a student. She recalled that her job was to answer phones before Boggs was hired. When Boggs was hired, things changed dramatically in the office.
“I remember us talking about like, ‘Did you see her notes?’” said Hallinan. “It was just the amazement of having somebody up here that really knew what they were doing.”
Dawn Pleas-Bailey, vice president for student life, also thinks highly of Boggs.
“It’s my favorite story that I almost did not hire her,” said Pleas-Bailey. “I thought I was too weird for her. I thought she was too good and I was too whack-a-doodle.”
Pleas-Bailey said that growing up, she always admired certain people and wanted to be like them. In her adult life, Boggs is the person that she looks up to.
“As an adult I’m really comfortable with who I am but if there was one person I would want to be, its Pat,” said Pleas-Bailey. “She’s just a good woman with a good husband and good kids. She’s just a good person.”
The days when Boggs is gone seem to be pretty quiet in the Student Life office.
“Nobody calls. For some reason people know that she’s not here so the phone doesn’t ring. And if it does ring people always say, ‘No I don’t want to talk to you,’ and they’ll know who you are,” said Pleas-Bailey. “There’s only one Pat.”
Maggie Collett is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.