On Jan. 2, 29-year Pierce College employee Ruth Ann Hatchett retired as assistant director of development.
Hatchett’s journey at Pierce, however, didn’t begin in that role. In fact, she didn’t even begin at the Puyallup campus.
In 1985, Hatchett sought part-time employment as a college temporary assistant in the computer services department at Fort Steilacoom.
“I was the first help desk because there were four of us in computer services and that was really it,” Hatchett said.
After three years of part time work in computer services, Hatchett eventually became a full-time employee in 1988 still in computer services. After the department split into two sections, she found herself helping faculty with glitches in their computers and scheduling techs to come fix computers.
Hatchett remembers the whole staff not having email until shortly after 1992. Before that, there was one email account for the entire district that received a few emails a week.
“That’s just how it was,” Hatchett said. “I’ve seen this huge explosion in technology. When I first came, we were still writing notes on a notepad.”
Without the technology available today, Hatchett remembers how different the delivery of information and way of working in the office was in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“We’re still serving students, we’re still providing education but in different ways,” Hatchett said.
Although Hatchett had several different jobs through Pierce College, she realizes what pushed her to reach the position where she retired.
“I had fantastic bosses who allowed me to take on new challenges and I grew in my job,” Hatchett said. “I was always interested in what else was happening at the college and so I talked to students. I talked to people in every department.”
Hatchett’s persistence and involvement all over campus made her known among the people and proved her abilities at whatever level she was working.
As a manager of the Foundation scholarship program, Hatchett has been responsible for organizing many fundraiser events over the years. A golf tournament fundraiser that
Hatchett has coordinated is one of the biggest events.
Hatchett’s personal favorite, however, has been the Distinguished Alumni program
where three to five alumni are honored at a luncheon. The program has honored 75 people so far.
“I got to meet people who have had some level of success in their life and hear their stories about how Pierce influenced them and helped them become who they are,” Hatchett said.
Hatchett’s feelings are not only reserved for the Distinguished Alumni, but she has found student and faculty relationships alike memorable in her time at Pierce.
“One of the things I really liked about working at the college is that we work with smart people,” Hatchett said. “I’ve had interesting discussions with very caring people.”
Hatchett remains amazed at the level of care and hard work faculty members at Pierce put into their students and their jobs.
She remembers the conversations she had and people she met in the staff lounge during lunches when she came to the newly established Puyallup campus in 1992.
Several of those co-workers are still thriving at Pierce College.
“Working at a college exposes you to a diversity of people and ideas,” Hatchett said. “ (I really enjoyed) all the different opportunities you have to know about different areas and to take advantage of those.”
In her time working at the college, Hatchett often took advantage of the speakers brought to the college by The Office of Student Life team and other lectures or concerts provided.
As Hatchett moves on from her Pierce College routine of 29 years, she hopes to primarily use that time to spend time with her family.
“I’m happy to have time to do the things I want to do with my family and my grandchildren,” Hatchett said. “We have 10 grandchildren and it will be nice to do some traveling without worrying when to come back to work.”
Hatchett is also the co-president of the League of Women Voters of Pierce County. She will be giving much of her attention and time to that role.
“That’s a big job,” Hatchett said. “Our mission is to educate voters and encourage participation with government.”
During her time as assistant director of development and simultaneously the co-president of LWV, Hatchett found that both jobs influenced each other and shared different skills.
“I organized events in both jobs,” Hatchett said. “More often, it was what I learned at my job that helped me with my league work and the leadership aspect works both ways.”
Currently, Hatchett’s job is being taken care of temporarily by Mary Ann Toohey but eventually the college will hire someone else. She hopes that her successor will continue in the programs that have developed.
“I hope the scholarship program will continue to thrive and lots of students will be awarded scholarships and I hope the fundraising part of the program continues to grow and they award more money,” Hatchett said.
Hatchett will miss the relationships she has developed over the years and many members of her development team.
At her retirement party many of her co-workers from the past attended and they were reunited.
“We had a great time,” Hatchett said. “It was so fun to reunite and see each other again.
Now that Hatchett has been adjusting to her retirement she finds it odd but she is beginning to organize her time.
“I’m figuring out how to organize myself and not just let each day drift away,” Hatchett said.
She will continue to be involved in the college, such as being a part of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee that is coming up. She hopes to maintain the foundations and relationships built there.
“I loved my job. Absolutely,” Hatchett said. “I stayed here for 29 years for a reason.”
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