Mercer University students of all ages said goodbye as Fresh Food Company employee Carolyn Smith, commonly known across campus as Ms. Carolyn, retired on Oct. 5 after 23 years of service.
Throughout her years at Mercer, Smith came in contact with almost every student as she swiped their bear cards for access into the cafeteria each day and greeted them by name.
Her greetings and guidance of all things Mercer were well known across the student body. Smith informed new students how things worked at Mercer and in her cafeteria.
“I am going to miss the kids the most,” said Smith. “They gave me strength and motivation and kept me coming back everyday.”
“Ms. Carolyn was one of the few people who I could say with confidence knew more people than I did and left a lasting impression on my life,” said senior Ike Ekeke. “Ms. Carolyn not only swiped cards and gave warnings to those who left food, but she also gave words of wisdom and actions to follow.”
Smith became one of the staples for Mercer that everyone could share a story about. Whether she warned you to use your manners, danced with the cheerleaders, or played jokes on students, she became immersed in each student’s four years at Mercer.
“One of my favorite things about Ms. Carolyn was her consistency,” said senior Joey Dunaway. “I knew I could count on seeing her every day for lunch, and she never missed a day. During my four years at Mercer a lot has changed but one thing I could always count on was seeing Ms. Carolyn Monday afternoon waiting to swipe my card in the Caf.”
On Oct. 5 students, staff, faculty, and administrators celebrated Smith’s dedication and service to the university. There was a reception held in the rear part of the cafeteria with cake and a large card that people could sign to say goodbye.
“I am glad I was able to affect at least one person,” Smith tearfully said. Students lined up to say goodbye and hug Smith.
“I have a bond with the students that I couldn’t even explain myself,” said Smith. “I love Mercer and love these kids.”