An unknown author once wrote that, when leaving a place, you often leave a part of yourself behind. Mildred (Millie) Waddell, who retired October 25, knows exactly what that writer meant.
Waddell worked at the College for 17 years. She started in the fall of 1977 after graduating from Maranatha with a Secondary Education degree. She began as a switchboard operator in the Business Office, using Maranatha’s first telephone system, but was soon moved to the bookstore and worked there until 1981. She returned in 1994 after her children were grown and worked until 1999. Then, in 2003, she came back as a part-time library employee. Her most recent title was Processing Clerk at the Cedarholm Library and Resource Center.
College founder Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm and wife Thelma first met Waddell at Camp Chetek. Waddell has worked during the administration of Cedarholm and every other Maranatha president.
Waddell has many fond memories of being a Maranatha librarian. She recalls moving books from Old Main’s basement into the new library in 1996 and communicating with other workers by walkie-talkie to help decide which boxes to unpack first. Waddell said, “There was a tremendous amount of work that was done. Every day we came home just exhausted, but the new building is great with everything in it. I think the new technology is great; it makes it so much easier for people to get the information they need.”
There have been many changes to the College outside of the library that Waddell has witnessed.
“Educationally, Maranatha has changed a lot; it has had to keep up with technology, and there is so much more out there,” Waddell said. “Maranatha was not accredited and didn’t have a nursing program when I was (a student) there. For women, the choices were either teaching or secretarial. The scope of fields that people can go into now is amazing, and that is one of Maranatha’s biggest changes. That is good, because we need to have a good testimony for the Lord and excel in the field we work in.”
The library workers, many of whom have a long association with Maranatha, became a tight-knit group.
“The library has been a great place to work, and the people are wonderful to work with,” Waddell said. “We have prayed together, cried together, and laughed together.”
Library Director Lois Oetken said of Waddell, “She brought a light-hearted spirit to the office and was willing to do whatever job needed to be done. She had a breadth of knowledge from her years working in the library that will be hard to replace. Her knowledge of various processes made it easy to assign her projects that required minimal instruction and supervision.”
Though Waddell will be greatly missed among the Maranatha library staff, she said, “It is the right time to move on to what the Lord has for me next.”
–By Bethany Wright