Inspired by my favorite 'St. Android'
By Alice V-Z Harrison '12
Every year, new students arrive on the St. Andrews campus. But what unites us all is the common St. Andrews history that we all share; we're all "St. Androids" as we so affectionately call ourselves. For some of us, it means a family tradition. For others, it's a new adventure that may start a family trend. Even many of the people right here within the St. Andrews community know some 'St. Androids' from way back when... one of those being former Dean of Students Marti Newbold '76.
Marti made an impression on me from the very beginning. I'll never forget my first day as a new student on the St. Andrews campus… it was late August 2009, and I was due on campus earlier that afternoon to take part in Orientation activities. Well, due to an unforeseen emergency regarding a family pet and some vehicle problems, we (my family and I) missed the meet and greet with all the faculty and staff. So by the time I arrived, it was already late in the afternoon. My mom pulled up in the van outside the Belk building, and walked in to inform everyone I had finally arrived, and to get my room key. I was very nervous. But, then my mom came back with the key, and told me not to worry, that everyone in there seemed very nice and that “this nice lady approached me and asked if I were you’re mom, because they are having a special event that all the Honors students are supposed to attend now, and you’re one of them. But, I explained the situation to her about why we’re late, and she said don’t worry, and for you to just get settled in.” Needless to say, that was a relief. I thought I was about to be in trouble on my very first day.
Well, I don’t quite remember if this was the same day, or the day after, but for some reason, at some point, I was heading up the ramp of Belk in my wheelchair, and as I came closer, there was this woman who walked out of the building.
Marti Newbold '76, right, walks in the Knights Fest 5K for Breast Cancer Awareness in 2008.
Marti, right, joins student Molly Basten on stage during one of the 24 Hour Theatre productions.
She looked like she was waiting for someone, but I had never seen her before in my life. Well, before I knew it, she walks up to me, holds out her hand and says “Hi. I’m Marti. And you must be Alice..” I replied. "You know me?" She then said with a smile, "Of course I know you. Welcome to St. Andrews. Come on in. It's about that time too, you must be getting hungry. So come on in and let me show you where to get dinner." So, I followed her in, she showed me the elevator, she pointed her office out to me, and told me where to find her, and the next thing I know, I'm in the Dining Hall.
Even as a newcomer, it was impossible to feel lost or forgotten with Marti there. She just made us feel at home. And, she had such an exuberance about her, that it made me excited to be there. Marti was a natural. Never have I received such a jolly welcome. And, considering the fact that St. Andrews had been her college home for 4 years out of her life, who better to welcome us?.
Yes, Marti was a student at St. Andrews from the years 1972 through 1976. She majored in English, graduated, and went on to pursue a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, which she earned in 1986. And, because of my interest in counseling (and her background in it), she agreed to let me interview her for a class paper last semester. One of the things I found most interesting about Marti's experience at St. Andrews is that it was not one that she considered her ideal at first. The fact is that Marti majored in English because she didn't know what else to do with herself.
Like many of us, she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She originally wanted to major in psychology, but was turned off by certain aspects of the curriculum. So, not knowing where else to turn, she majored in English. That's why it's so refreshing and inspiring to find out that in time, some of her English professors ended-up being her favorites, and that after her years at St. Andrews, she grew as a person (both because of and regardless of her obstacles and shortcomings) and went on to discover where her true passions lie.
So, through it all, she ended up knowing exactly what she wanted career-wise and went on to achieve her goals. And during her time as the Dean of Students, she made no secret of the fact that she looks back on her St. Andrews education as a fundamental part of her life experiences.
Marti's story is a good example for every student who is or will be confused about their own direction in life. For all the students here at St. Andrews, in particular, Marti's story shows that no matter what you choose to major in, no matter how confused you are right now, as long as you don't give up, everything will turn out fine in the end.
Suffice to say, Marti always knew how to encourage students to find confidence, and she did so with honesty and humility. Plus, she had an air of sincerity that was unmistakable. No doubt that’s why after talking with her, I felt some of my own fears of the future fade away. Marti was one of those people I really respected somehow. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she was someone I truly looked up to and admired. Everyone has certain people who make a big impact on them, regardless of time or circumstance. And, for whatever reason, Marti is one of those people to me. So, even though she’s not at St. Andrews anymore, I just want to say, thank you for inspiring me, Marti. You’ll always be my favorite ‘St. Android’. And, I think I speak for all of us when I say I really do miss you around here.
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