Journalism staff member retires after 27 years


(From left) Associate Professor Bella Ezumah congratulates JMC Administrative Assistant Marion Hale at Hale’s retirement reception on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Orville Herndon)

MacKenzie Rogers, Staff Writer

Murray State’s journalism and mass communications department prepares for the departure of Administrative Assistant Marion Hale, who has worked at the University for over 27 years.

Before her time with the Journalism and Mass Communications Office, Hale had worked in three different departments on campus over her 27 years of employment, spending some of her earlier years in the Dean’s Office in Fine Arts and Communications, an office that has since been redone and separated into two different offices.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting people,” Hale said. “That’s my one concern, keeping up with the people and the students. It’s been fun to watch the students as they come through in the different offices and especially [in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications] because I’ve been here the longest. I’m going to miss them.”

One of Hale’s most memorable moments from over the 27 years happened when one of her former student workers invited her to come and sing at his wedding.

Hale said while she was nervous, it was one of those things that she could ever forget.

Hale initially began her time at Murray State as a student in 1974, with both of her parents working at the University in some capacity. Knowing the retirement system through her parent’s campus experiences, Marion sought out a career at the university herself.

“My mom worked on campus for about 20 years in food service, so I was familiar with campus,” Hale said. “My dad worked on campus until he was actually old enough to retire.”

She came back to work at Murray State after years in the workforce because of the generous benefits offered to employees. Through her parent’s experiences, she had prior knowledge of how the accumulation of paid vacation and sick days worked at Murray State. Hale made it her goal to remain employed long enough to be eligible for the guaranteed medical insurance for life, a retirement perk in place for employees of over 20 years.

Hale reflected on the differences throughout the University since she first began working here, from the numerous physical expansions to the development and implication of technology.

“When I first came to campus, I did have a computer,” Hale said. “It was with one screen, but I also had a desk that had a typewriter. We used that quite a bit for several things, but now, everything that we used to do [on it], I can do on a computer. So things have changed like that. Of course, people have changed. Most of us have some gray hair now. But I think just in general, it’s just more modern.”

After retiring, Hale said she was looking forward to enjoying some time with her nieces and nephews, who are scattered around the Midwest, and finally getting around to some household renovations.

Like most retirees, Hale has plans to travel and hopes to go on a river cruise in the fall, traveling along the Mississippi River from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Memphis, Tennessee.

Hale admitted she has had to adapt over the years, but those changes have kept her going.

“Be willing to adapt because if you don’t, you won’t want to stay,” Hale said. “You won’t keep up with what’s going on on campus, in the world. You’ve got to keep learning no matter what and never be satisfied.”

Because she’s a  Murray local, Hale does not have to worry about missing out on some of the traditions and aspects of campus life, from seasonal sports to musical performances.

“My husband and I attend a lot of programs and get to watch a lot of my students in those programs, which was really fun,” Hale said. “A couple of my student workers were in plays that we got to go see in Johnson Theater. Some of my students were in marching band.”

While Hale is excited for the next chapter in life, she says she will miss the friends she has made over the years the most.

“It’s hard to say between all the people across campus who I’ll miss the most,” Hale said. “I might have to sneak back in when the faculty have their end of this semester meetings and have lunch with them. I don’t think they’ll mind.”