After working with six chancellors, longtime Great Valley staff member to retire

MALVERN, Pa. — After spending 32 years working for the University, Linda Beavers, administrative support coordinator for the chancellor’s office at Penn State Great Valley, will retire at the end of June.

While Beavers is typically found behind-the-scenes on campus — planning advisory board meetings and commencement, maintaining important schedules, budgets, and deadlines — her role is critical to Great Valley’s success. Since 1993, Beavers has supported six chancellors, including Madlyn Hanes, the current vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor at Penn State.

Beavers started her tenure in 1985 at Penn State Brandywine, where she worked as a part-time staff assistant. She coordinated promotional mailings for the campus. Technology was different — Beavers remembers using copy machines, manually addressing envelopes, and delivering large stacks of fliers to the local post office.

Three years later, a full-time position opened up in the continuing education department at Penn State Great Valley. At that time, the campus was still located in an old elementary school in King of Prussia, but moved to Malvern shortly after Beavers’ start. She spent five years as an assistant to an academic program manager before applying for a job in the chancellor’s office under Larry Cote.

She has fond memories of the chancellors she’s assisted, like Cote’s commitment to serving the community and Hanes’ vision for a unique, special mission campus.

Beavers credits her adaptable and flexible nature for her success at Penn State Great Valley. She’s had to adjust to six different working styles and personalities and be quick on her feet when unexpected changes arise. She’s meticulous, an important quality for someone so heavily involved in both special events and the day-to-day functions of the campus.

“I try not to sweat the small stuff — even when things don’t go as planned,” she said. “It’s important to maintain a level of confidentiality, too.”

Because the current chancellor, James Nemes, also serves as chief academic officer, it’s required Beavers to take on new responsibilities, including promotion and tenure. She carefully prepares each faculty member’s dossier for consideration. She also keeps track of Nemes’ academic obligations and scheduling, including conferences and meetings.

“Linda’s time with Penn State Great Valley goes back to when we were in King of Prussia, so she obviously has a wealth of knowledge about the institution that will be impossible to replace,” said Nemes. “During her time, she supported six different chancellors — including myself. While I can’t necessarily speak for the others, I would venture to guess that all would agree that it would have been impossible to do the job without Linda’s assistance.”

In addition to her varied and ever-changing duties, Beavers’ colleagues have made her time at work enjoyable. She recalls times when staff assistants would meet each morning to discuss their current projects and offer support to one another over cups of coffee. She’s made many friends here — including former bookstore manager Karen O’Hara, who shares her love of Penn State football.

To prepare for her departure at the end of the month, Beavers is going through her old files — serving as a reminder of the past three decades. She’s discovered old Lion’s Roar memos — handwritten notes from colleagues recognizing her efforts and assistance. She’s even found an old performance evaluation from 1988, documented on paper before reviews were completed online.

After retiring, Beavers plans to travel with friends and spend time with her grandchildren. She will stay in touch with colleagues and hopes to travel to University Park for a football game in the fall.

“The people at Penn State Great Valley have made me look forward to coming to work each day,” said Beavers. “I’ll miss the collaboration, support, and camaraderie of my colleagues. This has been a great place to work, and I look forward to receiving updates on what’s happening on campus.”