35 years of service
Bonnie Walker has been preparing food for the students who use The Commons dining hall – of “The Caf” -- for 35 years now. But, in a way, it’s like she’s been cooking for family the whole time.
“I have kids, too. My oldest son went to school in Boston, and I have always felt that somebody is taking care of my baby, so let me take care of somebody else’s,” said Walker, a food service worker with Dining Services.
Walker started her career at the Commons on the grill as a breakfast cook. Now, she is in charge of the salad bar and creates a wide variety of dishes from pasta salads to chef salads and more.
But working with food isn’t the thing that has kept Walker at the College for more than three decades.
“The thing I like most is the people,” said Walker, whose daughter also works at William & Mary. “Some of the people have been there as long as I’ve been there.”
Walker said she also loves getting to know the students.
“You get to meet different kids every year,” she said. “I worked with the football team at one point in time when they had their training room in the downstairs of the Commons, and you get to know each and every kid separately.”
In the end, Walker just hopes that someone else is treating her own kids the way she has treated the students at William & Mary.
“That’s the way I live life,” she said. “I take care of yours like I would take care of mine.”
After graduating from Lafayette High School, David Tidwell took a job in Facilities Management working as a summer employee. Thirty-five years later, he’s still employed with the College.
Tidwell’s career started in the HVAC shop, where he spent 15 years before moving to the multi-trade team. For the past 18 years, he’s held the position of facilities management supervisor, overseeing a team of six.
“William & Mary has been my only full-time job in my entire life,” said Tidwell. “It’s a good place to work.”
Working with the students is one of the many perks of his job, says Tidwell. His office, located in the basement of Landrum Hall, is also home to upperlevel students.
“Sometimes the students will bake us cookies,” said Tidwell. “And if they need immediate attention for a repair, we’ll help. That’s what we’re here for.”
Memories about William & Mary are abundant for Tidwell. He's watched the construction of new buildings and what he calls the "growth spurt" of the College since 2000. His favorite moment, he says, is when the late president Ronald Regan visited William & Mary Hall during the 1983 G-7 Economic Summit.
“Ronald Reagan made a surprise, spur of the moment trip to the College,” recalled Tidwell. “He pulled up in his limo, got out, and started shaking hands.”
Providing a fast and reliable wired and wireless network is a top priority for Scott Fenstermacher, network manager at William & Mary. He’s responsible for maintaining all of the networks jacks and access to the Internet across campus, including administrative and academic buildings, residence halls, university libraries and student centers.
Fenstermacher has been an employee at the College for 35 years, and said he’s had no desire to work elsewhere.
“I enjoy the variety of my job. There’s always something new, which is good for me because I get bored with routine tasks,” he said. “William & Mary is a friendly atmosphere and a good place to work.”
Fenstermacher began his career as an electronics technician with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He conducted electronic fieldwork for various departments, including deep-water oceanography.
In 1984, Fenstermacher moved over to the Computer Center and transitioned into Information Technology as the College started acquiring networks. Over the years, he’s been involved in several major network upgrades across campus to keep the community connected.
“These upgrades affect the whole campus,” said Fenstermacher. “There are a lot of things that keep the campus going. But if the network goes down, the campus stops,” he said.
Fenstermacher also maintains the operation of the telephone switch room and the Jones Hall computer room. He’s been heavily involved in the new phone system, rolling out across campus this summer.
40 years of service
Deloris Holloway has spent her life preparing delicious food for the students at the College of William and Mary. Now, her 40 years of service to the College is being celebrated.
At only 16 years old, Holloway began working on weekends as a line server in Trinkle Hall at William & Mary, where her mother, Mary Holloway, also worked. When the Commons Dining Hall opened a few years later, Holloway began working there. Now, Holloway works as a prep cook in the commissary.
“I love it,” she said.
In addition to enjoying cooking, Holloway said she also enjoys working with students, helping them get acquainted to the dining hall and answering any questions they may have.
“If they need anything, I’m willing to help,” she said.
Holloway said she expects to stay at the College until she retires in about four years, and though she had other opportunities during her 40 years at William & Mary, Holloway said she has stayed because she likes the hours, the work and the students.
Juanita Achols starts her day as a housekeeper at William & Mary when most other employees are heading home. But Achols, who is celebrating 40 years at the College this year, said she enjoys the night shift because it gives her an opportunity to attend Bible study and choir rehearsal during the day.
“Church stuff, I don’t want to give that up,” she said with a smile.
Achols actually began working at the College more than 40 years ago, leaving and coming back after working at the Naval Weapons Station for a bit and another time when her mother got sick. She has worked in housekeeping for all of her 40 years at the College. She currently works in the university’s childcare center.
“It’s a nice day,” she said of her job. “I enjoy working with the people as a whole, so I guess that’s why I’m still here.”
Achols said she enjoys very good supervisors and colleagues.
“Everybody’s not perfect but we get along,” she said. “Some of them are just like family.”
Achols said she keeps saying that this is going to be her last year at the College, but it remains to be seen.
“I just enjoy working here,” she said. “I know my time is up, but why stay home when you can work?”
“God has been good,” she said.