20 Questions for Associate Director of Development for Donor Relations Mona Wyatt
1. Position at Centre?
Associate Director of Development for Donor Relations and Parent Programs. If you’ve been here 34 years you get a title that wraps around both sides of your business card … but I started here as news services editor.
2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
Danville until age nine. In the very idyllic time of the ’50s and ’60s, this was truly one of the greatest small towns in America. We moved to Owensboro when I was nine years old, leaving behind all my relatives, and I cried every morning through fourth and fifth grades missing my hometown.
3. What are your hobbies?
Listening to live music—all types—reading, watching movies and finding humor wherever I can.
4. What is your dream vacation?
It would be Greece or Italy and it would involve lots of wine and food. Someday, someday—but for a quick getaway, the Smokey Mountains are a beautiful, nostalgic, peaceful place to go. Or any beach will do.
5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
Really—the Mona Lisa. It’s not just the same name thing—I find her both fascinating and haunting and just as mysterious as millions of others do. After that, I really love Bob Ross, who made painting seem so peaceful and so possible, for those of us with no talent. “Ex Astris” is my all-time favorite work of art on campus—I just love her and am convinced that one day she will just launch!
6. Favorite novel or poem?
This is torture. If I must, “The Source” by James Michenor. After that you’d get a list of my favorite authors, which is very long.
7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
After UK basketball? Professional bull riding, Australian rules football and Formula One racing—and no, I’m not joking.
8. Favorite TV show?
In the day, Johnny Carson, Dick Van Dyke, the Andy Griffith Show or Carol Burnett. After that, the list is as long as my bookshelf is tall: “Cheers,” “West Wing,” “M*A*S*H,” “Seinfeld,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Monk,” “American Pickers,” “Ice Road Truckers” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.” To just name a few.
9. Favorite album?
These are cruel questions—seriously? “The White Album.”
10. Favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. Food and family and fall weather is as good as it gets.
11. Favorite food?
Caprese salad and all cheeses, pasta dishes, shrimp, steak. Great, now I’m hungry.
12. Most prized possession?
Anything from my childhood or my two sons’ childhoods—all things family. My grandfather’s fifth-grade McGuffey Reader; my grandmothers’ Bibles; letters my dearest childhood friend wrote before she died; and a zillion photos. The best birthday present I ever received was from a coworker here at Centre—Diana Singleton—who managed to blow me a kiss from her hospital bed as she was undergoing dialysis a few days before she passed away. I’ll never forget it.
13. Three people, living or deceased, whom you’d invite to the same dinner party?
Depending on my mood, either a trio of Walt Disney, Roy Rogers and Walter Cronkite, or Woody Allen, Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett. Or Gertrude Stein and entourage. What fun!
14. Favorite aspect of your job?
Getting to know 33-years’ worth of Centre students—a job perk that defies description, as I tell Centre parents every year—and working with the greatest staff on the planet.
15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
Living with the woman who was the FBI informant in “The Bluegrass Conspiracy.” Most of my college experience was memorable.
16. What would you be doing if you weren’t working at Centre?
I’d be a reporter on a small weekly newspaper probably in far eastern or western Kentucky.
17. Educational experience that’s been most helpful to you?
As much as it might sound like a recruiting piece, the training I received as a journalism major at UK has really been a great foundation for a career that has always involved writing and communication. Also, starting my career as the one-person-shop on a small weekly newspaper—The Mount Sterling Advocate—taught me to juggle lots of things at one time and got me involved in community activities and event-planning, skills that I use today at Centre. And I owe a real debt to my seventh-grade English teacher and to the professor who taught the etymology class at UK. I can use big words when I need them.
18. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
Si in Jack Finney’s book “Time & Again” or any character in search of a historical treasure—“The Da Vinci Code” types in particular. I’d also love to be in the mind of Emma in Martha Grime’s “Hotel Paradise” trilogy. She’s the most amazing 12-year-old in any novel.
19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
Old Centre, without question. The daily details of work make it easy to forget the profound history of this place, but working in the building where it all began, where so many important historical figures came to study, is an honor and a privilege that I try not to take for granted. It’s not haunted, but it should be …
20. Advice you’d give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Enjoy every single minute because it will be over before you blink and take none of it for granted.