Linda Martindale ’88 retired this week after 30 years as a program assistant with Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.
They call Linda Martindale “the College guru,” “the computer guru,” and sometimes just “the guru”.
Martindale’s been with Elon University so long — eight years in night school followed by 30 years on the job as a program assistant in Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences — she knows it inside and out.
“She knows everything about Elon,” Jeana Schickedantz, program assistant for the English Department, said Thursday. “If you’ve got a question, she’s got the answer.”
Martindale helped train and orient many new hires and program assistants over the years, making them familiar with the software and processes needed to keep departments running. She worked with faculty and students to troubleshoot and solve problems. She was generous with her time and shared her knowledge with others as often as she could.
“I’ve worked with Linda for 20 years and she’s been an invaluable mentor,” said Kimberly Rippy, program assistant for the Performing Arts Department. “I couldn’t have gotten where I am without her.”
So, when Martindale announced her decision to retire and her reception was canceled due to COVID-19, office assistants across campus decided to throw her a surprise, socially-distanced parade and party. They gathered behind Lindner Hall on Thursday morning with balloons, streamers, confetti-poppers and neon pool noodles, and caravanned to Martindale’s home on the southern edge of Lake Mackintosh.
Martindale was expecting only Jessica Russell, administrative assistant for Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, who’d planned earlier to pick up Martindale’s keys on her last days.
The caravan stretched nine cars, honking and beeping before the small crowd popped confetti in Martindale’s driveway.
“I’m going to miss you, girls. I’ve enjoyed working with you all,” Martindale said. “Who’s going to be the computer guru now? You know I only had one computer class in 1973? I had to teach myself everything I know.”
“You’ve always taken the time to help, even when you’re up to your elbows in work,” said Debbie Perry, program assistant for the Department of Education and Wellness & Exercise Science. “I can’t thank you enough.”
Most recently, Martindale was program assistant for the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Though retiring, she’s not quite finished with Elon yet. Martindale plans to work part-time in the campus bookstore.
Here’s more of what was said upon Martindale’s retirement:
- “As cliché as this might sound, Linda is the heart and soul of the Department of World Languages & Cultures. She is exceptionally skilled at everything from number-crunching to faculty and student support. In fact, she is so stellar at her job that we wonder if she could pull it all off with her eyes closed. We invited her to our virtual department meeting last week, and there wasn’t a dry eye visible on the screen. In retrospect, I should’ve added “bring your own tissues” to the agenda. With lumps in throats and tears in eyes, we each shared all the things we appreciate, admire and will miss about Linda. We were struggling. We love Linda and will never stop missing her.” – Sophie Adamson, chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures
- “Linda is the epitome of The Elon Way. She always goes above and beyond to serve the University, its faculty and staff, and the surrounding community well. She provides customer service unrivaled by many. Her retirement will be felt across all corners of Elon.” – Jessica Russell, administrative assistant for Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences
- “She was the second person I met when I came to Elon and she took me on a tour of the campus. She knows everything. … And she knows how to get her hot chocolate made just the right way at the Acorn. You just stand back and watch her tell them what to do.” – Jeana Schickedantz, program assistant for the English Department
- “Linda is a wealth of knowledge and has always shown true dedication to her job. Her willingness to always offer support — especially with the logistics of office moves and those crazy Informer/Colleague Reports, is something that I have truly appreciated.” Beth De Ford, program assistant for the Psychology, Human Service Studies, and Public Health Studies departments
- “I remember my first day at Elon (Oct. 16, 1991) when you took me around campus to introduce me to the different departments, areas and people that I would need to know (that would take much longer today). I was so overwhelmed because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to remember who those people were, what they did and how/when I might need their services. But you were always accessible to gently guide me and offer assistance when needed. And that hasn’t changed a bit over the years. You have continued offering your talents and knowledge ever since. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve helped me with over the years. It is very much appreciated! YOU ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!” – Debbie Perry, program assistant for the Department of Education and Wellness & Exercise Science.