Distinguished GGU Service
Given to a GGU faculty or staff member in recognition of exemplary leadership and service.
By Susan Fornoff
With its Distinguished GGU Service award for 2013, the university pays homage to the cheerful voice, warm smile and calming presence of switchboard operator and receptionist Genell Dickey. Dickey has been the face of GGU since 1988, and she acts as its eyes and ears as well.
Dickey started her job 25 years ago, just three days before GGU opened its doors for the fall trimester. She had just picked out her own fall classes at Holy Names College and had visited Career Services there because she had a daughter to raise and the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis to manage. She needed at least a part-time job.
“The lady there was nice enough to tell me about this listing at GGU,” Dickey says. “I read about it online and it sounded like such an awesome place. I liked that it was a smaller school and not a big, gigantic campus. When I went to check it out before the interview, the atmosphere just felt so comfortable to me.”
Dickey liked the campus so much, she was thrilled to accept a full-time job that supplanted her own college studies. Thrilled, even though the job came with a warning on the label: “My supervisor said, ‘Genell, the next few weeks are going to be most difficult, and if you can get through this, you can get through anything in life.’
“She was right,” Dickey admits. I knew the phone system because it was a switchboard I had worked in the past. But I didn’t know the layout of the university. I knew very little about the classes, where people were located, and so I was in the middle of all this chaos. The new students coming in for fall don’t know where to go, don’t know how to find their classes. And they’re asking me.”
Today they can ask her just about anything, and she’ll have the answer or know where to find it. Her watchful eye observes and reports anything unusual. Her modern phone system doesn’t shut down when it rains, the way the old one did, and it steers a good number of calls through the voicemail system.
But callers continue to remark on the friendliness of Genell Dickey’s voice, and students keep stopping by.