Retirement Reception for Betty Sandy

Remarks by Dean Strikwerda

When I became dean more than five years ago, I was worried that I would not be on the job soon enough that summer and there would be a period when, in effect, there would be no dean in the office. Ed Pratt, who was then dean of undergraduate studies, told me not to worry. "Don't worry," he said, "Betty Sandy really runs everything anyway." I soon learned how true that was. Not long after arriving on campus, someone told me that I was the twelfth dean of Arts & Sciences whom "Betty had kept an eye on."

No one has ever worked harder for the College of William and Mary than Betty Sandy, and probably no one ever will. Every day, she was in the office from 6:30 in the morning, and she stayed every day until 5 pm. One time, I had to catch a flight from Newport News airport at 6:45 a.m., and I remembered that I had forgotten something at the office, so I stopped by the campus, picked up what I had missed, and still made my flight. Someone from the College had actually seen me, and asked me later, "What were you doing on Jamestown Road at 5:30 in the morning?" and I told them, "I was trying to see if I could beat Betty Sandy to the office."

Betty could always find everything, and she was always on top of every financial and personnel transaction. It is amazing to think that with all the growth in the number of faculty, staff, and students in Arts & Sciences over the last 30 plus years, the size of the staff has changed hardly all. That's because Betty has been doing so much of the work. I soon learned that if I was proposing something and Betty walked into my office with her arms folded and said, "I don't know if this is such a good idea," it was probably NOT a good idea. Each and every year, no matter how big the flood of red ink at the beginning of the fiscal year, under Betty's stern hand, Arts & Sciences finished in the black. Some years, the College's Office of Finance would call in June, trying to close the College's deficit, and ask how much money Arts & Sciences had left. Betty would listen and say calmly, "That depends on how much money you want."

While Betty has watched every penny and made certain everything has been done exactly right, she has also been a friend and counselor to office staff, students, and faculty who have sought her help. Along with her tough head for business has come a heart of gold. She has guided many people through the bureaucratic maze in order to get the right thing done. Thousands of students in Arts & Sciences and hundreds of faculty and staff in Arts & Sciences owe a debt of gratitude to her for her hard work and dedication to service over 37 years at the College of William and Mary. We will miss her greatly. Betty, enjoy your retirement, and we hope you have many, many years ahead with your family.