Donna Havener spent 45 years
working at Southeast Community College’s Milford Campus. She was only 18 when
she started working there, so you could say she grew up at SCC.
“I grew up with my job,” she
said. “All 45 years I worked in Student Services. There were so many good
memories and fun times.”
She started as a secretary in
Admissions and ended her career as Associate Director of Registration and
Records. She enjoyed working with the students and faculty and the positive impact
she made on them. Every day was different, she said, which made her job so
“There were wonderful kids
that came through my office, every day was totally different,” she explained.
“They became lifelong friends and some of them called me ‘mom’.”
SCC employees have always
been active participants in Milford organizations and churches, but to a
greater degree many years ago when more faculty and staff lived in Milford.
“We worked hard together, we
solved problems together and we had fun together,” she recalled.
Havener knew all the students
at the College since she registered most of them herself. Back then, the College
had a schedule and everyone stuck to it: classes started at 8 a.m., coffee break
was at 9:45 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and everyone left at 4 p.m.
Nowadays, there are more
flexible class schedules to keep up with the ever-changing workforce. Newer buildings
are emerging on campus to accommodate those changes.
“I watched them put walls up
and take them down,” she said. “All of the new construction is so important, so
fabulous, because we needed it so bad.”
Among those recent changes in
Milford include new residence halls and the Crete Carrier Diesel Technology
& Welding Center, with more on the way. Rose Ohlsen worked with Havener for
seven years and witnessed firsthand her impact at the College.
“Donna really tried to get to
know all the students,” Ohlsen said. “She was a mentor to so many staff and
Havener spent her last year
at SCC during one of the most memorable, with most people working from home
because of COVID-19. In a way, it helped ease her transition to retirement,
although she already misses the people at SCC.
In the meantime, she
encourages students coming out of high school to attend college, even if they’re
not sure what they want to do.
“The college experience is
wonderful,” she said. “I can’t believe how many people who graduated from one
program used it as a stepping stone to another field. They’ve done amazing
things. Take some basic classes and get started. You never know where it’s
going to take you.”
She plans to spend her
retirement years traveling, volunteering, doing community projects, and
spending time with family. In addition to her husband, Brad, she has two sons,
Calvin and Cody, daughter-in-law Jami, and granddaughter, Jadan.