Brooks thankful for opportunity to influence Stillman students

A black woman and black man hug
Postal clerk, former campus police officer ends career with 32 years of service

By David Miller

Balancing school with a job is a situation many college students face, and some never fully transition to the demands and the daily regimen.

Those students may reach a crossroads where they have to decide, “can I handle this? Is it worth it?” Unfortunately, some who withdraw may never return to campus to finish their degree and achieve their career goals.

Colleges and universities assist these students in a variety of ways, but sometimes, daily words of encouragement can provide an intangible layer of support to “stay the course.”

Geraldine Brooks has been that pillar of positivity for students across Stillman’s camps for more than 30 years. Whether during her time as a campus police officer or as a clerk at the campus post office, building and nurturing relationships with students has been a cherished aspect of her time as a Stillman employee.

Thursday, Brooks celebrated her retirement on campus with a catered lunch with faculty and staff. She reflected on a particular connection with a student who was on the verge of withdrawing from classes.

“There was one young lady I met who would come by the post office to check her mail,” Brooks said. “She was an out-of-town student who was really on her own, and she was having a difficult time trying to work and go to school. But I knew she was trying hard, so I would talk with her and encourage her to stay the course to make life easier for herself, which she did.”

Brooks, a Pickens County native, worked for Stillman’s campus security team before becoming a certified police officer on campus from 1991-2010. She left briefly to work at DCH-Regional Medical Center before returning to campus in 2013 as a post office clerk.

She ends her work at Stillman with 32 years of service.

Brooks said both positions allowed her the opportunity to mentor students to “go to class and stay out of trouble.”

“I’m going to miss that aspect of working at Stillman,” she said. “Even today, when I was coming to the plant, two students were driving by and stopped to say, ‘we’re going to miss you.’ One came to the post office today and said, ‘you didn’t tell me you were leaving … it’s all over bulletin board.’”

Phillip Cunningham, executive director of facilities management and campus safety, served as Brooks’ supervisor for two years. Cunningham said Brooks was “very dedicated to her job.”

“Ms. Brooks enjoyed coming to work and interacting with students and staff,” Cunningham said. “Everyone that came in contact with Ms. Brooks had a great customer service and friendly encounter.

“She thrived to get better daily with her craft and provided positive leadership and guidance to her assigned work study students and newer staff that assisted in the post office. I wish Ms. Brooks the best with the next chapter of her life goals.”