36 Years Later
By: Michelle Thompson
After 36 dedicated, treasured and hard-working years at Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture, it is a bittersweet retirement for Marie Law, Graduate Program Assistant at the end of August 2016.Marie first began working at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in August 1980 as the secretary for the Department of Biology. “At that time, the departmental secretaries in Cox Institute worked in an office pool located in what became the ‘Plant Science Office area’ until the new addition to the building was constructed in 1984,” explains Marie. “The Library was downstairs in Cox Institute and what has grown into Extended Learning started out as Vocational and Technical Education and was also housed in Cox Institute. The Department of Animal Science was located in Boulden Building prior to the construction of Haley Institute,” she added. “There were beef cattle and swine on the farm and the poultry centre did not exist. I saw the birth of the Rock Garden,” she said. “There’s been a lot of changes since 1980.”
The campus isn’t the only thing that changed throughout Marie’s career, her position did as well. After the Biology and Chemistry departments merged to form the Department Environmental Sciences, she went on to work in that department as secretary, serving mainly the former Biology faculty and at that time, also worked with IT. This was followed by a stint in the Principal’s Office on a maternity leave and then a position in the Research and Graduate Studies office which merged into her current position as, Graduate Program Assistant.
“My most rewarding years at the AC and been in my current position,” explains Marie. “There’s so much interaction with the students here, which I really enjoy. When I started working closely with grad students, it changed how I looked at the world,” she added. “Meeting so many people of different nationalities over the years has enriched my life. I admire how the students present themselves when they come into the office, even in frustrating and unsure times. Even though they are adults, I think of them as my ‘kids’ at times, I will miss being here for them. They have been a huge and wonderful part of my life.”
Marie is passionate about trying to make a difference, “especially for those students who are away from their families for a prolonged period – to be a positive part of their life,” explains Marie. She also loves making a not-so-good day for a student perhaps just a little better. “I feel good about coming to work in the mornings because I don’t just look at it as work, I feel like I am doing service – helping others,” explains Marie.
Marie’s time at the AC has been happy, challenging and satisfying. “The working environment is second to none – respectful, fun and supportive,” she explains. “I have met many fine people and forged lifetime friendships. When I retire, I will miss the students and the daily challenges and problem-solving that come along with this job. I will also miss the social atmosphere and comradery of my fellow colleagues,” explains Marie.
Immediately upon retirement, Marie along with her husband, Art, and dog, Mleka, plan to travel out West. “With no time commitments, we’re flying out, visiting our daughter, Elizabeth, in Alberta and my aunt in Vancouver,” explains Marie. “We then intend to secure a camper van and enjoy a leisurely cross-country drive back home,” she added. “No deadlines – it seems like a dream!”