University Secretariat staff member retires after 41 years

Marlene Penner

Co-workers threw Marlene Penner a retirement party this week. She is leaving Brock after 41 years.

A familiar face in the hallways for 41 years is working her last day at Brock today.

Marlene Penner is retiring from her position as assistant to the University Secretariat.

Hired right out of high school, Penner began her career in Acquisitions at the James A. Gibson Library. Skilled at typing and shorthand, she was recruited for her current position four years later and has been there ever since.

Penner’s job has included providing the Senate and Board of Trustees with the tools and information they need to make decisions for the University.

“It has been really interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes,” she said.

The University was only six years old on her first day her in 1970. Brock consisted of “the Tower, Thistle and the residences,” and a fraction of the students that are here now. Every employee knew each other.

“It’s been phenomenal to see how it’s grown,” she said. “It boggles the mind. I can still picture what it looked like back then, but it’s getting more difficult.”

The Niagara-on-the-Lake resident plans to spend more time with her husband, Wayne, who is retired from his masonry business. She is looking forward to spending more time in her garden, golfing whenever she wants and reconnecting with her Harley-Davidson (“watch out everybody”). She will also play the piano and “knit to my heart’s content.”

Penner is not alone in her longevity at Brock. At the President’s Holiday Celebration Tuesday, eight people received awards for being here more than 35 years.

The reason for that, Penner said, is because Brock is a good place to work and provides its employees with everything they need, from income to exercise equipment to the walking trails that weave around campus.

An avid animal lover, Penner will also spend more time with her dog and three cats. But she’ll look back fondly on her time here.

“I’ll miss the friends I’ve made here,” she said. “I’ve been here more than two-thirds of my life.”

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