06/25/06 — MOC career counselor retires

View Archive

MOC career counselor retires

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 25, 2006 2:03 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- After 22 years of guiding fledgling college students toward a career, Linda Greenwood finds herself retiring from hers.

Since being hired as director of counseling services at Mount Olive College in June 1984, she has had four titles and moved to five offices. She retires June 30 as director of the college career center.

Mrs. Greenwood has spent countless hours counseling, advising and honing students' skills as they prepared for careers. Her job entailed sitting through practice interview sessions, assisting in the writing and rewriting of resumes and making calls to connect students with potential employers.

While at Mount Olive, she introduced its first career fair and created an annual Majors Fair for students and faculty members to network about career and educational goals.

Mrs. Greenwood coordinated the college's first Freshman Seminar, a course designed to introduce students to the resources, requirements and overall environment of college life, and assisted the college in becoming a member of the Eastern North Carolina Career Alliance, a consortium of private colleges in the eastern part of the state.

Her own educational path included obtaining a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972 and a master's degree in education from East Carolina in 1977. She received her national certification as a counselor in 1988.

Early on, she worked with the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., for two years and was human resources development instructor at Wayne Community College for four years.

For a few years, she chose to stay at home to raise daughter Corey before taking the job at Mount Olive College.

"Developing students skills in career decision-making and the job search, discussing staffing solutions with employers and researching graduate schools' criteria -- all in an eight-hour period -- make for an exciting workday," she said.

Over the years, she said, she has enjoyed not only the people she works with, but the students she works for, as well.

"It has been a privilege to work with our most precious treasure -- each new generation of students. Watching them mature and hearing their often belated thanks, gave all of us rewards to last a lifetime," she said.

In career development, she said she has emphasized the idea of "preparing for life's work, not simply for the first job."

She said she hopes she has made a mark that will endure beyond her 22 years of wonderful memories as a college career counselor.

"Hopefully, my best contribution has been to people -- students, faculty, staff. How gratifying if I had a small part in students' success or left a footprint on someone's heart," she said.

Just as she diligently worked out employment strategies for others all these years, Mrs. Greenwood has mapped out her own course for retirement.

Her first order of business is to be whisked away to a villa in Florence, Italy, for two weeks in September. Husband Thurston Greenwood, a Goldsboro dentist, and her daughter and son-in-law will accompany her on the trip in honor of her retirement.

Earlier this month, the college hosted a reception for Mrs. Greenwood, presenting her with a plaque and a Waterford crystal bowl in honor of her service. Family members as well as staff, students, and co-workers paid tribute to her career, with an album of their letters given to her.

Mrs. Greenwood said she was especially pleased to have in the audience her parents, Ty and Shirley Ray Simpson, who now live in Springfield, Va., and her daughter, who lives in London with her husband Simon Tildener.

The ceremony, much like her pending retirement, was a bit unnerving, she said. Although she looks forward to a more relaxing schedule, she said it is a bit daunting to face the unknown.

"Life is not cast, it's forged. I'm still forging. I'd like to improve my tennis game and my bridge game. Those who know me know that I can easily be self-indulgent. However, God's purpose calls us to bear fruit, to serve," she said before calling on her friends and family to hold her accountable. "Help me to forge a well-balanced life."