Peggie Greer loves her job, and it shows. She juggles multiple responsibilities and endless interruptions with patience, personalized attention and humor.
“I love what I do, and our students mean everything to me,” Peggie explains. “They keep me young, and many of them have become my good friends. I enjoy my co-workers, too. There have always been so many good people here.”
Peggie provides support to Dr. Paula Dehn, the academic dean, assists faculty and students, maintains faculty files and coordinates Honors Convocation each spring. “Dr. Dehn trusts my judgment, and I appreciate that she relies on me. She is very supportive.”
Peggie became a full-time employee in 1992 after working part-time for six years and has worked with five academic deans, eight presidents and hundreds of students. She describes a common thread that has always provided strength and continuity to the College through changes and challenges. “We call it The Wesleyan Way now, but there has always been a commitment to our students and a sense of family among everyone in the Wesleyan community.”
The Jan. 3, 2000, tornado remains a vivid memory for everyone who was on campus that day. “We went to the basement of the Administration Building, and the sound of the storm was unbelievable,” Peggie remembers. “It was not a freight train sound like I’ve heard people describe tornadoes, but a weird, loud noise. I kept wondering how long it would last.”
When it was over, there was heavy damage on the campus, which was covered with debris; the streets were flooded; and streetlights were out. Peggie described the scene as eerie. “In the midst of the devastation and with concerns about our families and homes, here came Dr. Ken Ayers in his VW bus,” she recalls. “He was The Wesleyan Way in action and took many of us home. I’ll never forget that he could have stayed safely in his house, but chose to head to campus and help out instead.”
Peggie also recalls the Wesleyan sense of community in a very personal way. “When I lost my Dad, faculty and staff rallied around me. President Craig Turner had recently arrived, and we had not even met, yet he attended the funeral. Again, I experienced The Wesleyan Way in action.”
Favorite people? “There are so many,” Peggie says. “But Gus Paris is at the top of the list. I loved that man. He helped me so much when I arrived, answered my questions and steered me in the right direction. I always knew he was there for me when I needed anything. He seemed gruff at first, but I soon learned he was a big teddy bear with a big heart.”
A fun memory? “Sammy and I went on one of the New York trips that Dr. Jim Welch organized for many years. We saw a play with Henry Winkler and John Ritter, where we were seated next to Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. I chatted with her, and that was fun, but what we most enjoyed was watching the students and their reactions to everything we saw and did on that trip.”
A funny memory? “There are many, but one stands out – when Dr. Ayers was preparing students for a sailing trip in the Caribbean and took them down to the river to teach them how to right a capsized boat. Someone saw the overturned boat and called the police, who were soon on the scene with the fire department. We had a lot of laughs over that, and I’m still laughing about it.”
Peggie says her favorite event of the academic year is Commencement. “It is a bittersweet time. I am so proud of the graduates, but I know that when fall arrives, they won’t return. But new students arrive, and I get to know them, too, and the cycle continues.
“I like to encourage our students, and I think it is one of the most important things I do. They are away from home and preparing for their adult lives, and even when they mess up, I’m in their corner.”
Peggie has been married to Sammy, who is retired from Aleris International, for 43 years. Their daughter, Autumn (Greer) Wilkins, graduated from KWC in 2001. She and her husband, Jason, have two daughters, Sophia (15) and Isabella (12). Autumn is a teacher and softball coach at Muhlenberg County High School.
Thank you, Peggie, for all you do for our College. You are truly the Wesleyan Way in action.