Mona Wyatt will retire at the beginning of March from her position as Centre College’s director of parent programs & donor relations after spending 38 years serving in numerous roles at the College. A retirement reception honoring Wyatt will be held on Feb. 21, from 3-5 p.m., in the Pottinger Room in Old Centre.
Wyatt began working at Centre as the staff associate in the office of information services in 1979, and since then, has assumed the role of assistant to the general secretary and alumni house, director of donor relations and prospect research, associate director of development for donor relations and parent programs, and now finishing in her current position. In this role, Wyatt was able to bring a distinctly relevant and unique perspective as a Centre parent herself to John Ross Wyatt ’15.
“I have known Mona since I arrived at Centre in the summer of 1994,” Senior Philanthropy Advisor Richard Trollinger said. “Of course, she was already an ‘old-timer’ on the advancement staff by my arrival. She was among those experienced members of the team upon whom I relied most heavily as I got to know Centre, its culture and its people.
“Mona is among the most reliable people I have known,” he continued. “She knows everyone—and everyone (in the Centre family) knows her.”
Trollinger said that Wyatt has been an amazing and effective director of parent programs, and she has never had a parent call with a concern that felt like they didn’t have her undivided attention. Wyatt has conveyed the sense of high regard, respect and gratitude Centre has for the parents of its students better than anyone.
“She is the epitome of the Centre spirit,” he said. “Throughout her 38 years at Centre, Mona has been an important figure in the life of the College. The past four decades have been pretty good ones for Centre, and Mona has been a factor in the College’s record of success. She’s a ‘player’ in the best sense of the word.”
Director of Student Life and Housing Ann Young has worked with Wyatt in some fashion most of the time she’s been here, including working together on both vice-presidential debates, several College committees and staff congress, among other appointments.
“Mona is one of the most compassionate and caring individuals I’ve ever known,” Young said. “She always puts others above herself. She is a person you can always rely on to not only get the job done but to do it well. She does things first class.
“She is truly a person who made a difference in the lives of students while in school and after graduation,” she added. “Mona continues to follow so many of them and has a genuine and caring interest in what they are now doing, as well as in their families and their Centre friends. She cares about everyone.”
Terena Bell ’99 said there is no one who has worked as diligently to keep her connected to Centre as Wyatt.
“I barely knew her when I was a student—she works with parents after all, and I wasn’t one—but my senior year, I got very sick two weeks before graduation, so sick the doctors at Ephraim McDowell told my parents I would die,” Bell said. “Mona sprang into action, working with my mom and dad to transition me home so I could heal. I still have the VHS tape she sent me of my class’ graduation ceremony. She knew I’d earned my right to walk among them and sending me that video was her way of making sure I didn’t miss it.”
Bell said when she and her family needed Wyatt, she latched on and never let go.
“It’s been 19 years since I graduated, and today, she is a very dear friend and personal confidante,” she continued. “Every email from her is a reminder that I’m part of more than ‘the Centre mafia’—I’m part of a larger Centre community that will always be home.”
Young said she will miss how much Wyatt deeply cares about the College.
“Mona is a wonderful listener and colleague to so many,” Young said, explaining that Wyatt is among those people who add the personal touch to the “Centre Experience.”
“After Mona retires, Centre will carry on, of course, just as it has for two centuries, but it will not be quite the same,” Trollinger concluded. “Mona has a deep, positive attitude on the life of the campus community, as she will be missed.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
February 9, 2018