When Jane Martindell retires at the end of June, she will have been at Kenyon for 18 years — 16 as dean of academic advising and support, a position that provides guidance for students in everything from academics to social and personal matters. For the last two years as she transitioned into retirement, she has worked part time as the director of fellowships and awards.
Martindell spoke recently about her thoughts on Kenyon and what’s next for her.
Q: What have you liked best about your time at Kenyon?
A: Obviously I’ve loved the students. You don’t go into this work without that. But I’d have to say that just the general community here has made it so enriching. If you want to help students, you can never do it by yourself. You have to pick up the phone and ask for help or ask somebody to do something or check on something. Everybody at Kenyon answers the call, whether it’s a staff member or administrator or faculty member. To have colleagues like that is unusual. I’ve worked at some great places, but this was exceptional in that regard.
Q: How would you describe a quintessential Kenyon student?
A: They’re all different and quirky in their own ways. I like their enthusiasm. I like their seriousness, too — sometimes they have too much seriousness. They want to be their best and try to overachieve all the time. But there’s a real desire among them to want to be a better person. The kids I worked with, the ones I connected with, wanted to contribute to the world in some special way.
Q: What are your thoughts on retirement?
A: I go through the ups and downs that everyone goes through. I’ll miss students. Already I go into the coffee shop, and I don’t know everybody like I used to. That part I don’t like at all. But I’m also very excited. I hope to be back on campus just saying hello to people or hanging out or doing the coffee shop just for fun.
Q: You’re moving back to Crested Butte, Colorado, right?
A: I’m going to be around here for another year before moving, but Colorado is home for me. I still have a house there. I love the mountains. For some people, it’s the ocean. For me, it’s the mountains. Crested Butte is just one of the most beautiful parts of Colorado. It’s a small town. It’s very communal, kind of like Kenyon. And I still know all of the people there. It’s the kind of town just like Kenyon that if you need something you just go holler in the middle of the street and you’ve got 20 people helping you out. In that regard, I’m kind of keeping a similar village around me.