Tracy McGarey, former executive assistant to the president, has retired after 22 years of service.
Beginning July 1, 2007, the year that President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., entered office, McGarey worked to support the president by collaborating with the Board of Trustees, several board committees, the President’s Cabinet and many friends of the university.
This was often accompanied by supplemental secretarial responsibilities, resulting in “secretary of the corporation” being added to her official title in 2016.
Though McGarey served as the executive assistant to the president beginning in 2007, her journey at Newman actually began in the late ’90s.
“I came to Newman in November 1998 as an office assistant in Academic Affairs,” explained McGarey. “My primary job, in the beginning, was to coordinate the course evaluation process. I soon transitioned to administrative assistant for the vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of faculty.”
McGarey spoke fondly of her responsibilities, and her time at Newman as a whole.
“It was exciting for me to attend and record minutes of faculty meetings, to observe creativity in action by the ingenious and magnificent minds of our faculty members in developing new programs, courses and much more.”
Since she began working at Newman, McGarey has learned a lot about minute-keeping, describing it as less of a mundane chore and more of an intricate art form.
“Most people despise taking minutes. I look at them as a ‘story,’ a ‘future reference’ for those who come after us. When preparing meeting materials and minutes, I try to look at these documents from a future perspective. What do I want people to know about this time, this work, this planning and the results? What is important?”
With every sentence and idea she jotted down during each meeting, McGarey knew that she was preserving valuable experiences so that future leaders could learn from and appreciate the efforts of the past.
“I endeavor to create minutes and meeting materials in an organized fashion so that it all reads like a novel, with clear and concise information. My goal is for the minutes to reflect the passion, dedication and commitment by those who are diligently leading and working on behalf of Newman University in my time here.”
Beyond leaving behind detailed literary legacies for the next generation, McGarey described another fulfilling activity which she took delight in: forming connections to those around her.
“Relationships are key to life. Students, faculty, staff, the Board of Trustees, donors and friends of Newman University, the external surrounding community and the beloved Adorers of the Blood of Christ — where else could you work where your community will pray for you, or where prayer is what guides us?”
Newman is notorious for its wonderful community, which is something that every student, staff member and faculty member learns in their time on campus. McGarey felt touched by this beautiful social system that inhabits Newman.
“I am humbled to have observed the passion, dedication, commitment and brilliance of university leadership and to be a part of Newman University, which has been such a vital part of my life.”
While the responsibilities of each position gave McGarey experiences to appreciate and contemplate, McGarey has also gained her fair share of stories to share.
Take Marvin the Mouse, for instance.
“One of my favorite memories was in Academic Affairs, when we were in room 201 in Sacred Heart Hall. We suddenly had a pet mouse, whom we named Marvin.
“Marvin was not nearly as afraid of us as we were of him. He lived in Rosemary Niedens’ office and would come to the main reception area every morning to welcome us with a little dance. After he successfully had us up on our chairs, he would retreat.”
A most impressive act but Marvin is now retired as they were able to safely capture and release him on the north lawn of Sacred Heart Hall.
After reminiscing on all the years of service, stories and friends, McGarey now looks to the future, as she makes some exciting plans.
“As a retiree, my husband, Kevin, and I will continue our quest for finding gold — to land a big nugget. We have also taken up rockhounding and have enjoyed participating in several gold, gem and mineral symposiums in New Mexico and Colorado. There is truly nothing that beats exploring God’s great handiwork from rivers, streams and mountains.”
McGarey expressed her admiration of and thankfulness to Newman and said she plans on staying connected to the Newman community.
“I will forever cherish my time at Newman University and will be forever grateful that God chose to lead me up the east walk to Sacred Heart Hall all those years ago. God has provided, and always will provide, for this magnificent and dearly loved Newman University. I plan to continue to be a part of its future through service.”