Easygoing employee starts anew

[Martha Amescua] Pamela McGuern (center) celebrates with her family during her retirement ceremony Nov. 29.

For 24 years, the doors to Pamela McGuern’s various offices have always been open.

Now, after nearly a quarter-century of service, McGuern will be closing the doors for the first and final time.

It will be a bittersweet moment for McGuern, who says that her daily interactions with students and the Citrus College community are what have kept her going.

“It’s true what they say: [Citrus] is a great place to work,” McGuern said. “I especially think it was because I was working in student services. I always tell people, ‘If you’re going to work at a college, why wouldn’t you work with the students?’ . . . If you never have any contact with students, you could be working at a bank.”

The great experience for McGuern started in August 1988. Her career on campus started with a part time job in the athletics department, thanks to a tip from high-school friend and disabled students counselor Vince Mercurio.

From there she moved into a full-time secretarial position in the counseling department in 1990, where she worked alongside associate dean of counseling and fellow 2012 retiree Jim Shannon for eight years.

But it was during the second half of McGuern’s career when she left her stamp on Citrus College. After spending a year as Academic Senate secretary, she was promoted in 1999 to administrative assistant to the vice president of student services under Jeanne Hamilton, Ph.D., who retired in 2011.

For more than a decade, Hamilton and McGuern not only built an outstanding working relationship, but also a lasting friendship.

“It got to the point we were finishing each other’s sentences,” McGuern said, laughing.

Hamilton was quick to credit McGuern for assisting her in drafting the college’s accreditation self-study. If done incorrectly, colleges may lose the ability to offer federal financial aid to students, which  can often force institutions to close their doors.

“She never, ever says ‘That’s not my job,’” Hamilton said, recalling how she and McGuern worked for a year on the self-study. “She’s just a person who always rolls up her sleeves and cooperates and does a good job.”

Despite the long days, McGuern says Hamilton was always supportive of her out-of-office, on-campus activities.

“She really encouraged me,” McGuern said. “If I ever asked her if I could go to this meeting or join this committee she never said no.”

Unsurprisingly, McGuern used that freedom to give back to the same students with whom she loved to interact. She helped coordinate the inaugural “The Taste of Autumn,” a wine tasting fundraiser sponsored by the Citrus College Foundation, which provides several student scholarships. McGuern even went so far as to set up the decorations and seating. She actively participated in the annual event for the next seven years.

But what McGuern says she’ll miss the most about her Citrus career is planning the spring graduation ceremony.

“I love that part of my job,” McGuern said. “It’s the happiest day for everybody: The parents, the students, the graduates, the faculty… it’s just such a great day.”

Now McGuern plans on spending time with her family and pursuing her hobbies of pottery and painting.

“I wish her all the best in her new endeavors,” said Arvid Spor, current vice president of student services. “She’ll enjoy it. She’ll bring that good-natured spirit that she has to everything that she does. We’ll miss her here.”