Long-time secretary ready to begin ‘a new chapter’

By Theresa Evans 

After 28 years at Rider, Mary Kildea, administrative associate for The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, retired on Oct. 28.

“There wasn’t a day that I didn’t thank God for the best job in the world,” Kildea said. “I enjoyed coming to work every day. I found it exciting to be a part of our students’ education; to see them come in as scared freshmen and blossom into mature adults ready to take on the world.”

Kildea spent her first eight years at Rider working in the science and technology center. Then she worked for the communication and journalism department for 20 years.

“The department of communication and journalism has produced many successful students whom we are very proud of,” said Kildea. “I went to the department’s last reunion and I was thrilled to see students again who’d graduated 15 plus years ago. Of course, I no longer see them on a daily basis, but I am friends with them on Facebook and I still enjoy watching them progress through their careers.”

Kildea spent her Rider career working with the “nicest professors on campus,” and they made her days pleasant.

“Mary Kildea is, to me, a symbol of what has made Rider successful for so many years: hardworking, ethical, honest, loyal, unsung employees,” said Pamela Brown, director of the master of arts in business communication program. “During my two terms as chair, I saw on a daily basis both her level of commitment to the institution and to its students, and, of course, those commitments are intertwined.”

According to Kildea, she shared a mutual respect with students.

“She was student-centered long before that phrase became a slogan,” Brown said. “And every time she went out of her way to help a student with a need, something she did on a daily basis, she also was helping build that student’s prospect for success as well as his or her life-long connection to Rider.”

Kildea left a positive mark on the communication and journalism department, according to Brown. She was often asked for insight and ideas on how to address departmental matters and never failed to offer wise suggestions.

Rider has affected Kildea’s personal life positively, educating four of her children through graduate school. She said she is very grateful for that benefit because her children have pursued successful careers without the worries of being in debt.

Kildea believes most students feel the same way she does about Rider’s faculty: that they are respectful and fun to be around.

“Over 28 years, you interact with many people on campus,” said Kildea. “Unfortunately, most of the people I met over the years have retired and I miss them. Rider has a Retirees Association and I hope to connect with them again through that organization.”

Kildea will spend a lot of her retirement time taking care of her husband who became disabled this year. She considers her new position similar to how she took care of Rider professors.

“As he gets better, I hope to volunteer at St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center which is right down the street from Rider,” Kildea said. “If Rider used volunteer workers, I’d definitely give some time.”

Brown feels fortunate to have been chair of the communication and journalism department while Kildea was the administrative associate.

“Though I believe Mary’s retirement is a great loss to Rider and leaves an immense gap in my department, I also am thrilled for her as she begins this next chapter in her life,” said Brown. “I wish her many family, and laughter, filled years ahead. They have been well-earned.”

Kildea said she will be forever grateful to Rider.

“I was very fortunate to have been able to work for 28 years at a job that I loved,” she said.

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