Longtime Milford employee retires
Donna Havener spent 45 years working at Southeast Community College’s Milford Campus. She was only 18 when she started working there, so you could say she grew up at SCC.
“I grew up with my job,” she said. “All 45 years I worked in Student Services. There were so many good memories and fun times.”
She started as a secretary in Admissions and ended her career as Associate Director of Registration and Records. She enjoyed working with the students and faculty and the positive impact she made on them. Every day was different, she said, which made her job so unique.
“There were wonderful kids that came through my office, every day was totally different,” she explained. “They became lifelong friends and some of them called me ‘mom’.”
SCC employees have always been active participants in Milford organizations and churches, but to a greater degree many years ago when more faculty and staff lived in Milford.
“We worked hard together, we solved problems together and we had fun together,” she recalled.
Havener knew all the students at the College since she registered most of them herself. Back then, the College had a schedule and everyone stuck to it: classes started at 8 a.m., coffee break was at 9:45 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and everyone left at 4 p.m.
Nowadays, there are more flexible class schedules to keep up with the ever-changing workforce. Newer buildings are emerging on campus to accommodate those changes.
“I watched them put walls up and take them down,” she said. “All of the new construction is so important, so fabulous, because we needed it so bad.”
Among those recent changes in Milford include new residence halls and the Crete Carrier Diesel Technology & Welding Center, with more on the way. Rose Ohlsen worked with Havener for seven years and witnessed firsthand her impact at the College.
“Donna really tried to get to know all the students,” Ohlsen said. “She was a mentor to so many staff and faculty.”
Havener spent her last year at SCC during one of the most memorable, with most people working from home because of COVID-19. In a way, it helped ease her transition to retirement, although she already misses the people at SCC.
In the meantime, she encourages students coming out of high school to attend college, even if they’re not sure what they want to do.
“The college experience is wonderful,” she said. “I can’t believe how many people who graduated from one program used it as a stepping stone to another field. They’ve done amazing things. Take some basic classes and get started. You never know where it’s going to take you.”
She plans to spend her retirement years traveling, volunteering, doing community projects, and spending time with family. In addition to her husband, Brad, she has two sons, Calvin and Cody, daughter-in-law Jami, and granddaughter, Jadan.