When Nora Romero quietly announced her retirement to her department and student workers this semester, she had one request: no celebrations in her honor. She even went as far to tell the adviser of the Loyolan to advocate against an article on her. As you can tell, I’m writing it anyway. Although many of you may not know Romero and haven’t interacted with her, it is important to know that deflecting focus from herself is very typical of her.
Since joining LMU in 1999 from Loyola Law School, she has worked in multiple departments, spending most of the last ten years working as a student affairs associate in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs (OSVPSA), where she has managed the student workers and has been a key figure in the office.She was awarded the inaugural Student Supervisor of the Year for her work with student workers at this year’s Student Leadership and Service Awards.
“I wish she could train all of our student supervisors,” Dr. Lane Bove, senior vice president for student affairs, said.
Bove also shared that she believed if Romero’s training program was implemented across divisions and departments that LMU’s student work program would be a “best practice.” She attributed the success of the program to Romero’s balance of caring for students and having high expectations of what is expected of them in their work — being professional, engaged, good communicators and learning to do all of the small tasks in office, from making coffee to setting up for board meetings.
Elaborating more on what makes Romero’s training program great, Bove said it can be easy to do the 80 percent and that “[Nora] trains for the last 20 percent.”
Olivia Sikora, one of the two student managers in the student affairs office this year, shared the impact her three years with OSVPSA and Romero have had on her. She said that her time working and training with Romero has made her a “better person and harder worker.”
“The greatest lesson she taught me is that kindness goes a long way,” Sikora said. “Any situation, professional or otherwise, as long as you are kind, understanding and willing to communicate, everything will eventually work itself out.”
Bove praised Romero for taking an interest in every student who works for her, taking an interest in their lives personally and mentoring and training them.
“There are a lot of balls [being juggled] in this office,” Bove said. “And she makes sure they don’t hit us on the head.” She also said that everyone in the office will have to have a lot of patience when Romero leaves, since she “answers every question.”
This year I have been lucky enough to work with, and get to know a bit about Romero, and I have been amazed by her kindness, understanding and ability to always have the answers I’m looking for. During her time at LMU, she has worked with and interacted with thousands of students, having an impact on many student’s lives, mine included. She has been given various awards on campus and in 2013 she completed her degree while working at LMU. Her dedication to LMU and its students can be seen in her almost 19 year career here.
Discussing how the office will be different without Romero, Sikora said it will be an adjustment for her as she gets used to working without her.
“Her bright spirit and positive attitude have inspired all of us,” Sikora said. “I can’t thank Nora enough for everything she has done for me, all of the students she’s met, LMU, OSVPSA. I know she touched so many lives, and she certainly has touched mine.”
She may be leaving the Bluff but the lessons, skills and compassion she has taught students and others, will continue to work while she’s gone and hopefully, that is one way in which we can honor and celebrate Nora.
This is the opinion of Kellie Chudzinski, a junior communication studies major from Palo Alto, California. Tweet comments to @mskelliec or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.