After working for four registrars and assisting thousands of students, Sue Morris has decided it’s time to say goodbye. Morris retired after more than 25 years of service. Her last day was May 28. The 62-year-old Morris, whose husband Norman is a retired conductor for Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad, said Cowley has been her second home. “I will miss it,” she said, “but not being here at 7 in the morning. I am not a morning person.” Morris was referring to Cowley’s summer hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday that begin June 1.
Morris is retiring from a career that began in Cowley’s athletic department. Former business officer Sid Regnier contacted Morris in 1973 and asked her to fill in for the athletic secretary for about three weeks, and she did. About five years later, Morris was called back to the college when William “Bill” Scott’s secretary was on maternity leave. It was October 1978, and Morris worked six weeks. About a month later, Morris was asked to work for Scott again, this time for three months. On May 1, 1979, Morris officially began working full time at the college as purchasing clerk in the business office for Regnier. “He was a great man to work for,” Morris said. Before long, Morris was working for Scott, who became the acting registrar. But it didn’t take long before then-president Dr. Gwen Nelson reassigned Scott. “I loved working for him, and I wanted to go with him,” Morris said. “But the administration thought I should stay in the registrar’s office.” In came Walt Mathiasmeier, whom Morris worked for until 1985. That’s when A.F. “Tony” Buffo retired, and Nelson promoted Mathiasmeier to dean of instruction and Conrad Jimison to registrar. Morris worked for Jimison three years until current registrar, Forest Smith, replaced Jimison on July 1, 1988.
Tasks within the registrar’s office have remained similar throughout the years, while technology has not. “We didn’t have computers in those early years,” Morris said. “State reports had to be typed. It took about three weeks to do it. We had the old key punch system.” Processing transcripts, recording grades, making sure reports to the state are accurate, and other duties have occupied Morris’ time throughout the years. Technology has changed dramatically, and so has the college’s enrollment. In 1979, Cowley’s full-time enrollment was 737. Today, FTE stands at more than 3,000.
Morris, who plans to celebrate her 45-year reunion with her Arkansas City High School classmates this summer, never attended college. Out of high school, she worked as a secretary for Anderson, Guyot and Dumenil, now United Agency. After three years, she decided to stay home to get her three children, Todd 41, Brian 38, and Jennifer Potter 34, into school. She worked from home for Gilliland Printing, and had a three-month stint as a secretary at Viola Industries.
In retirement, Morris said she isn’t sure what she’ll do. Activities involving her nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild will be on the calendar, along with a few other things. “I like to read,” she said. “Best-sellers and mysteries. I also play pinochle in a card club. And I enjoy my flowers.” Morris described herself as a “very loyal” employee. “A lot of my work ethic came from Mr. Scott,” Morris said. “He was big on loyalty.” Morris said she’d mostly miss the people she’s come to know and work with throughout the years. “There are various people you come in contact with,” she said. “I’ll miss the students and faculty. I know I’ll miss it.”