Editor’s note: This is a series of columns by John Malcolm on his “50 years at Fredonia.” Retired, he is a professor emeritus at Fredonia State.

There were many strong secretaries. Joan Glenzer was one when I was a freshman but by the time I retired was a college vice president in charge of finance. Joan also claimed that she “kept me out of jail.”

She was married to Jack Glenzer, a professor in science education who also became Chautauqua County Executive. (Jack and I spent a summer traveling to Syracuse University to work on our doctorates. Jack was also once a Ford dealer so we rode in style in a red Mustang.)

Marjorie Reilly was another. You could really classify her as the Mother Superior of secretaries. She examined many for employment and trained them to the highest standards. She became a secretary to a dean but never surrendered to the computer. I remember well when the first word processors were brought to campus by IBM.

They were huge things and where IBM heretofore unpacked and set up their machines these monsters were to be unpacked and set up by the user. “Marge” sat in the front row and glared.

I’ve already mentioned Charlotte Clarke, who was my secretary in the Instructional Resource Center, but when I took over as chair of communication I was lucky to get the services of Helen Higgs, who was a veteran secretary.

She had worked for the physical plant operation and this proved very useful to us. She also had worked in the Psychology Department for chairman David Hesse who went on to become academic vice president. I was lucky enough to get Helen since the new Psychology chair and Helen apparently had a personality conflict. (New chairs sometimes swallow the wrong management text – mine is Up The Organization. I was told that she tried to tell Helen how to arrange her desk)

Now to know Helen is to know she is dead honest and does not suffer fools gladly. When she saw something wrong she addressed it. Woe to slipshod faculty or students. What a team she and Charlotte made – even if they did race to get those folders full of things to sign to my desk.

John Malcolm is a Fredonia resident.