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Student service remains Lloyd’s priority after 35 years


Mary Lloyd has been nearly everywhere and has done almost everything during her 35 years at Elgin Community College. Through it all, the director of operations at the college's Adult Basic Education Center (ABEC) continues to discover new things.

“The campus has gotten so big that I don't know where all the nooks and crannies are anymore,” Lloyd said. “It's huge compared to what it used to be. When I tell people now about how the campus was when it opened, they can't fathom how small it once was.”

How small? Lloyd is a 1979 ECC graduate who first attended classes in 1974-when the Main Campus was just four years old and consisted of three buildings. She remembers the “wind tunnel” created from the walkway under the former Second Street that connected the campus buildings to the parking lot because of the open space.

Lloyd's history continued in 1982, when she was hired on the spot as a part-time GED teacher. Her interview was held at the college's previous ABEC offices located in the basement of the old YMCA on Division Street near downtown Elgin. She would later serve as the ABEC coordinator in 1984 before being promoted to her current position in 1989.

We caught up with Lloyd and asked her questions about herself and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I facilitate the day-to-day operations of the Adult Basic Education Center. I work with students, instructors and staff; maintain the front reception desk in Building K; maintain all the data for our Adult Education Grant that completely funds our program; answer lots of questions; and make sure the adult education classes are set up.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

It's helping students become successful and that great pleasure when you see a successful student come back to thank you.

I remember having a student in one of my GED classes who sat back in the corner on the right-hand side. He was very quiet and never said anything. Since the time he was in my class he has earned his GED, associate degree, bachelor's degree, served two terms in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was going for his master's degree. He was also given a house as part of his service. I just happened to catch all that and was thinking, “That's my student!”

He later came back to see me at the Fountain Square Campus before we moved to the Main Campus and told me, “I owe it all to you.” He thanked me for being a great teacher. I was proud to serve as his stepping stone to better things.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

We used to have picnics by the pond. These days, everyone is so busy and caught up in their worlds of work and life, and stress and tension, that if I was president for a day I'd have a picnic by the lake.

I would just have everyone chill and get to know the people that they work with and have conversations, if just for a day. We could invite students, staff and everybody. It would just be cool just to close the doors and have a happy day.

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Melissa McCarthy. I think she's kind of funny.

What's on your “bucket list?”

It would be great to get in a mobile home and travel around the United States. I'm not a planner. I don't take planes. I don't take trains. But it would be fun to tool around and be free as a bird when I retire.

What's one fact we should know about you?

My door is always open and I'm willing to help anyone who needs help. Also students come first. They always have!

What's something about your job that others should know?

That no one wants it because it's so multifaceted. I've been here for 35 years and I have never been bored.

What would be your “theme song?”

“We Are the World” by USA for Africa because of all the diversity that I work among. That's really my whole world: here and at home. Diversity is everywhere.

What was your favorite class in school?

Shop. I'm a hardware person and I love tools.

What was your first job out of school?

Working in a nursing home because I was going to be a nurse.

What quote best describes your philosophy?

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” - Henry Ford

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

There's so many wonderful people here, from students to staff.


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