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#RCBC50Stories, Bernadette Wright

Bernadette Wright speaking to students during the Last Lecture Series

When Bernadette Wright graduated high school in 1974, she aspired to be a legal or medical secretary even though African-Americans held only 25 percent of the jobs in clerical occupations. Four years later, she achieved her goal when she started her career at Rowan College at Burlington County as a faculty secretary.

She set out to learn as much as she could both as an employee and a part-time student. She graduated from RCBC with a 3.97 GPA in Secretarial Science before completing a second associate degree in Business Administration. She later advanced to a bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Indiana University and a master’s degree in Administration from Central Michigan University – a quintessential lifelong learner.

As her degrees grew, so did her responsibilities at the college where her career advanced to division secretary of Business Studies, administrative assistant to the vice president of Academic Programs, part-time academic advisor, adjunct faculty member and finally associate dean of Liberal Arts – a position she will hold when she officially retires from RCBC after 40 years this spring.

“I have been in the trenches of higher education for a long time as a secretary, student, parent, community member, administrative support, administrator and adjunct instructor,” Wright said recently when sharing her story with the college community as part of RCBC’s Last Lecture Series. “I became a resource for students and families, by listening and working through many of their issues and frustrations, helping them understand procedures, ideas and pathways on being successful in college.

“I’ve absolutely enjoyed being an advocate of empowerment and serving the RCBC community,” she added.

After 40 years at an institution that is celebrating its 50th anniversary, it would be a cliché to say Wright has seen it all. It would also be incorrect.

“I would say, ‘I’ve seen it all,’ but I haven’t,” Wright said. “Each year brings new challenges and nuances that I haven’t seen before so this job never gets boring or repetitive.”

Bernadette's story is part of RCBC’s 50 stories for 50 years. In honor of the college’s 50th anniversary, RCBC is profiling students, faculty, administrators, alumni and the college community. Anyone interested in being featured can contact rcbcnews@rcbc.edu. To follow along on social media, use #RCBC50Stories.