Secretary looks back on 30 years of service

Nancy Messick - Secretary to the President and the Board of Governors

Nancy Messick – Secretary to the President and the Board of Governors

After 30 years of service to Missouri Southern, Nancy Messick, secretary to the president and the Board of Governors, will be retiring Jan. 1.

Messick, a graduate of Southern with an associate degree in office administration, joined the staff in 1976 as secretary to the department of science and mathematics. There she worked for three department heads and 20 faculty and staff members.

“We were literally a family,” Messick said.

After six years, she was promoted to secretary for academic affairs where she assisted five University vice presidents.

“It’s a real change for a secretary,” Messick said. “I saw the good points in those people.”

Messick said the hardest thing about being the secretary to several people in one position was learning the style of each individual. Some were more formal, whereas others were more personal.

Messick moved the president’s office Feb. 18, 2002, to assist Dr. Julio Léon and to help change the face of the presidency.

“Students need to know we care about them,” Messick said.

As a member of the administrative staff, Messick is party to information about the University that she’s said, “should never be discussed,” such as student issues.

Though Messick has seen her fair share of administrative changes she has also seen Southern grow in size and in stature.

“I saw Taylor Hall, I saw Webster Hall, I saw all the auditoriums,” Messick said.

She also had involvement in Southern’s transformation from college to university status, a change she expected would be nothing more than a “change on the letterhead,” but has been able to see firsthand.

Messick can also provide a look back to the Southern of days long past, remembering the trailer where she took Theatre Appreciation class by the former Barn Theatre. The site where the building burned in November 1990 can still be seen on the west end of campus.

However, Messick’s decision to leave Southern was not an easy one for her or those she worked with.

“It’s been hard,” she said. “I won’t be on that set path anymore.”

Those she worked with will also feel the repercussions of her retirement. Messick was deeply involved with most aspects of life in the president’s office and her replacement has not yet been announced.

“It takes a special person to be the secretary to the president,” Léon said.

Though Messick has enjoyed her time at Southern, she plans on using her free time to continue her hobby of doll collecting. Her collection is made primarily of Madame Alexander dolls; Southern instructors have brought her a number of dolls from abroad. Instructors have taken extreme measures to ensure they can bring Messick something unique.

“Sometimes they even delay flights,” Messick said.

Messick said she also wants time to enjoy more time with her loved ones.

“I have a family I want to take care of,” Messick said. “I want to be able to learn from them.”

Messick’s retirement will be official Jan. 1, but her last day of work will be Dec. 21.