For the last month, former and current University of Maryland students, staff and faculty have been stopping by Scholars Central Office to congratulate Nancy Metrenas on her retirement.
After being offered a job by the original College Park Scholars staff in 2000, Metrenas said that she took the job because she "felt good vibes" from the staff. Her 16 years in College Park Scholars make her the longest serving member of the central staff in program history.
"I enjoyed my first few years here so much, and then I just started settling in and liking the new people and got attached to them," Metrenas said. "I had my office family, my home away from home."
Along with Scholars staff, Metrenas said one of her favorite things about working in Scholars Central was working with students. During her time here, she said that there are probably more than a hundred Scholars that she has worked with over the years.
"There have been so many good students working, and I think that’s another huge reason I’ve stayed this long."
Former associate director of College Park Scholars, Martha Baer, said Metrenas has been "the heart" of Scholars during her time here.
"On numerous occasions I watched Nancy help new faculty settle into ‘the Scholars way’ and find their way through the sometimes confusing administrative processes," Baer said. "Her natural ability to build positive relationships with others has contributed to the strong partnerships across resident life, housekeeping and Scholars that is a hallmark of our program."
"[Nancy] brought skill, warmth, and dedication to the many tasks she was called upon to do — mentoring student employees, welcoming visitors, fielding inquiries from prospective students, families, faculty, and staff, and overseeing all the work of the front office," said Scholars executive director Marilee Lindemann.
"I was the Associate Director for Admissions and Registration, and I could always count on her to be a good first communication point for parents and students calling about admissions or advising issues," Mike Colson said. "When you know that you are going to deal with a high volume of callers, some of whom will be challenging, it was great to know that a smart and caring person was supporting you in the front office. Nancy gave her heart to Scholars and to her colleagues, and that is why we all loved her so."
After working for Scholars for 16 years, Metrenas looks forward to spending more time reading, exercising and volunteering at her grandson’s elementary school, but she will miss working with college students.
"The fact that [Nancy] can be with students all the time and show such a steady interest in them is remarkable, and I think it is quietly taken in by the students," said Kathy McAdams, former executive director of Scholars. "They know that they matter, even for the five minutes they are chatting with Nancy."