(VIDEO) Mary Lou Flom celebrates 45 years of service with Texas Tech University, including the past 40 within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications.
In May 1972, Mary Lou Flom started her career with Texas Tech University in the Office of the Registrar, first helping students with transcript orders before eventually becoming supervisor of the registration department. Now an administrative business assistant in the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, housed within the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Flom spends her days assisting faculty and students, making sure everything in the department runs smoothly.
This year, she celebrates 40 years with the department and 45 total years at the university.
Can you describe some of the things you've done at Texas Tech?
“In the registrar's office, I worked in the transcript office and took care of the transcript orders that came through the mail. I also helped at the counter whenever students would come in to order transcripts. I was there for a year and a half, then I moved across the hall into the registration part of the department. I helped with grades and the registration process, then eventually I was the supervisor for the whole registration department.
“I left when I had a baby and stayed home for seven months. Then I went to work in the Student Business Office with financial aid and was there for a year. My supervisor from the registrar's office had been working in agricultural education. She called and asked me to come interview for the job. I went over there and the rest is history, 40 years later.”
Did you ever imagine being at Texas Tech this long?
“No, I didn't. Of course, you know, the time flies. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, I guess because I really enjoy my job, and I love working here. It makes me feel young to be around all the students. I love coming to work, and I look forward to it every day. That's why I'm still here.”
What's the secret to maintaining a career for so long? Any advice for someone who is just starting their career at Texas Tech?
“Just enjoy what you do and be proud of the things you do. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, you can't be happy and you won't last very long.”
What kind of changes have you seen during your time at Texas Tech?
“I would say besides the technology, just the growth of the university. When I first started in the department in the agricultural building, I was the only staff person they had. About 25 years ago, they hired a part-time person and then that gradually became a full-time position.
“In 1986, when we moved over to the building where we are now, I found an old picture. It's an aerial view of the campus, and it has the construction of the first residence halls. It looks like Indiana Avenue is not even there – you can still see some of the farmland. I started doing a little bit of research and found that picture is from 1956. I just think it's so amazing to see what it looked like then and see it now. Sometimes I go from one office to the other and I go, ‘Gosh, I don't remember that building being there.' It's like they come up overnight.
“The other thing is when I first started working in the department, there weren't many girls. Right before I graduated high school, they had just started allowing girls in Future Farmers of America (FFA). When I came to the department at Texas Tech, there were maybe one or two – now there are tons of females as students. I always think about that.”
What have you enjoyed the most about being a Red Raider? Do you have a favorite Texas Tech memory or tradition?
“My favorite thing is at the beginning of the fall semester, just seeing all the new faces come in. They're excited to be here, and you know it's the beginning of their journey. Everybody is unique, their goals are different, and I love to see what becomes of them after they graduate. It's always amazing to hear from them – I think I enjoy that the most. I always think, ‘They were just here the other day.' I always say ‘the other day' and then you look back and it was actually 20 years ago.”
What does being a Red Raider mean to you?
“Pride. The pride that all the Red Raiders have, I think that's the best thing. I think it's wonderful to have pride in the university you attend.”
What are your plans for the future?
“My husband is retired, and he thinks I need to be, too. I think about it a lot in the mornings when I'm coming to work. I think, ‘My whole life has been Texas Tech. What's it going to be like when I don't drive to work every morning?' I know I'll miss it. It'll still be at my back door, but it just won't be the same. But I look forward to spending time with my grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
“I hope our students remember I was there to give them a smile or a pat on the back or a little bit of confidence when they were down or having an issue. I really appreciate all the students who come by and thank me.”