Section: Features

Mount Vernon native reflects on her time at Kenyon

Mount Vernon native reflects on her time at Kenyon

Photo by Linnea Feldman Emison

Between working with administrators, taking classes and enjoying long strolls around the campus, Katherine Garzieri fondly remembers her time at Kenyon.

Garzieri possesses a caring and good-natured demeanor, and she was an asset to the Kenyon community until her retirement.

Garzieri worked as secretary to the vice president for finance at Kenyon, Samuel Lord, starting in 1958 until 1976, when she became his assistant. She was in this position until the early 1980s. “As his assistant, you do the things that he doesn’t want to do,” she said. “You do all the details, and he gets the big bucks.”

In her spare time during workdays, Garzieri liked to walk around campus, enjoying the bucolic setting. She also took a couple classes at the College: Spanish and a class for women about marriage.

“Not that I’d ever use it or remember any of it,” Garzieri said of the Spanish class. “I just wanted to take something different.”

Garzieri saw the College undergo vast transformations during her time here, including the student population’s switch from all-male to coeducational. Women were admitted in 1969 to the Coordinate College for Women, but graduated as Kenyon students in 1973. Garzieri recalled some of the administrators’ reluctance about the College becoming coeducational because it had been all-male for such a long period of time. It surprised Garzieri to learn that Kenyon now has more female students than male.

Garzieri was born in Mount Vernon in 1916. She attended Ohio University in Athens, where she earned a bachelors of science in education. “I was working a lot of my way through college,” recalled Garzieri. “I didn’t have much time for socializing.”

Before she started working at Kenyon, Garzieri taught in Mount Vernon. Her time as a teacher was brief.

“I found that the students were kind of smart-alecky, and I just wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be,” Garzieri said.

Garzieri’s favorite high school teacher, Paul Muse, a Kenyon graduate, drove her toward Kenyon.

Unlike some other women at the time, Garzieri knew how to take shorthand, a system of rapid handwriting that abbreviates words and characters from spoken communication, and had taken a few business classes. This gave her an advantage when she applied to be the secretary for Kenyon’s vice president for finance, which she maintained during her entire time at Kenyon.

Aside from her time in Athens, Garzieri has lived her whole life in Mount Vernon. Her two sons, Joseph and Gregory Garzieri, also live in the area, and Garzieri sees them often.

She has lived in the Ohio Eastern Star Home for four or five years and has enjoyed her time there, saying, “If you can’t be in your own home, it’s the best place to be.”

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