Patricia Carey: The Woman, The Myth, The Legend

by Gabriella DePinho Asst. News Editor

While many recognize Hayden Greene as the face of the Multicultural Center, he is actually not the first person you see when you walk into the space. Day in and day out, Patricia Carey sits at the tall desk in the corner of the room and is the first person that most people will be greeted by when they walk in.

Patricia Carey is the Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Student Life but she is fairly new to the staff, having only been here for a little over a year and a half now.

“I was looking for a full-time position because my daughters didn’t really need me anymore to pick them up and drop them off. I applied to several jobs and got several interviews,” said Carey, “I was in the doctor’s office with my dad and I got three phone calls stating ‘oh we’d like to offer you the position’ so I turned to my dad and asked him what I should do. He said to take the first one that called and that’s what I did.”

Before looking for a full time position, Patricia spent her professional career working part-time, able to focus on raising her daughters.

Carey said, “Since my oldest daughter, who is now almost 24, was born, I always worked part time. They were always secretarial jobs. For 15 years, I worked from home, I had my own office at home and it was great.

She continued.

“I was able to pick my children up, drop them off at school, be involved at school but still put in a good 6 to 7 hours of work a day. Sometimes I would throw the laundry in while I was on a call with somebody. I love working and I loved that my daughters saw that I could be a mom and work and I was lucky that I was able to do that.”

“I’m the secretary for Sonny [Ago] and Debbi [Damico] and Hayden [Greene] and the Orientation Office and now, the Women and Gender Resource Center. Hayden sometimes calls me the office manager, but I’m really just dipping my hands in all these pots,” said Carey.

According to Carey, the job never gets boring. In the early fall, her focus is more on the Multicultural Center, but then in November, the Orientation office starts to prepare for mid-year orientation. In February, preparations for the June and August Orientation events start. Carey helps out Debbi [Damico] with her appointments and guiding students to her. Now, Carey is also managing the new and growing duties that come along with the opening of the Women and Gender Resource Center.

Not only do students recognize Carey and she recognizes them, but students often go to her when they need someone to talk to because of her familiarity to them.

“I think because I’m the first person a lot of students see when they walk into the Multicultural Center, I’m a familiar face, especially with freshmen,” said Carey, “I know it sounds crazy but I think I’m like a mom figure to some of the students.”

She continues.

“Sometimes they ask me for my advice, which sometimes I’m afraid to give, so I suggest they go to the Counseling Center or the Center for Academic Success. A lot of them just want me to listen to them, so I just listen,” said Carey.

Carey feels that she is better able to carry out her tasks at MC and guide students because of her duties as a mother. Conversely, she feels she can better direct her daughters because of what she learns on a daily basis from the students.

“I’m with students 90 percent of the time, whereas my other jobs were all adults. I love the students, I think I have a basic understanding of where they’re coming from because I have two daughters who are 18 and 24. I know what they’re like coming in and I know how much they grow. The students here have taught me so much too,” said Carey.