Glenda Lowery started her career at Rappahannock Community College in the Summer of 1979. She’s still at it.
This Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the RCC Warsaw Campus during the 2018 Commencement ceremonies, Ms. Lowery will be officially recognized as a professor emeritus, which recognizes her nearly 40 years of service to the College.
Looking back on all of those semesters, the Tappahannock native will tell you that she hadn’t planned to be at RCC for so long but is very happy that it turned out to be the case.
“I was going to VCU, and there was a masters degree called teaching in the community college,” she says. “I had to do an internship at a community college. So I walked into Mr. [Wallace] Lemon’s office and plopped myself down and said ‘can I do my student teaching here?’ and he said ‘fine’.”
She began teaching English for RCC full time in September 1981 and just ended her run at the end of 2016. But she’s done with RCC just yet. For almost a year, Lowery has been assisting Dr. Glenda Haynie on some projects, including massive college reaccreditation project. She is also involved in the upcoming 50th Anniversary of RCC, which will begin on January 9, 2020.
“Through the 50th anniversary, we can go back and look at former students and what they have done and celebrate that,” she says. “I am looking forward to that!”
Lowery says that the biggest change in the classroom was “obviously” the technology. Computers and devices like the iPhone made teaching and learning completely different.
“When you think about it, we were still using typewriters and Xerox machines when I started,” she says. And it was those tools that she and her students used to create the old RCC newspaper, which was called The Gull.
“For several years [The Gull] was based on just the Warsaw Campus,” says Lowery. “But when I started teaching at the Glenns Campus too, I would go there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was a project-based class called English 198, and I had two groups of students.”
Through the newspaper class and the many others she taught, one thing remained constant for her.
“I enjoyed interacting with the students and watching them grow and progress and take other classes and graduate,” she says.
And it was that drive which carried her through the 37 years of service, which is now responsible for pushing Lowery into a new type of relationship with RCC — becoming one of the few faculty who have been honored with emeritus status.
“I am humbled by it, and I would like to continue to be an ambassador and a representative of the College,” says Lowery. “It helps me maintain my ties here.”
Lowery has been married for almost 29 years. She and husband David have one daughter, two grandchildren and have always had dogs and cats.
“And I am trying to get chickens,” says Lowery.
“I think that RCC is a great institution and I think it’s a great place to work,” she says. “I have been here so long; I must have liked something about it!”
“There are people here that I feel like I’ve grown up with and they are part of my family,” says Lowery. “I’ve seen people here get married and have children then grandchildren. This place has a great culture and a great atmosphere.”
“I hope that we can help as many students as we can — I know we’ve helped a lot.”