Getting to know...Beth Clardy
While attending Spartanburg High School, Beth Clardy never dreamed she would one day work at nearby Wofford College. But after 15 years in the corporate world (Spartan Foods and Denny’s purchasing department, to be precise), that is what she is doing. Clardy is Wofford’s assistant to the vice president of student affairs.
Working at Spartan Foods wasn’t bad, as Clardy had three sisters working with her there. She just wanted something different.
“I didn’t want to get caught up in corporate world layoffs,” she says. So when an opportunity in Wofford’s annual giving office presented itself in 2001, Clardy seized it.
“I loved my job there,” she says. “I enjoyed the people and the atmosphere. It was an excellent change from the corporate world. I worked with alumni on Homecoming, parties, and Family Weekend helping Debbi Thompson. I also worked with Charlie Gray with the Parents Advisory Council. I was there for five years.”
She then moved to student affairs, where for the past three years she has been working for Dean Roberta Bigger. For a married woman with no children, it has been a godsend.
“I tend to adopt children,” she says. “I enjoy the students very much. They’re my passion.”
During her first year in student affairs, she was honored as Staff Member of the Year by the Wofford Greek community. Laura Murray ’08, Ashley Glasgow ’08 and Martha Albergotti ’08 (all Zeta Tau Alphas) nominated her.
“It was a total surprise,” says Clardy. “I was honored to receive the award, though, having been in student affairs for such a short time.
“I have found myself getting very close to campus leaders, be it campus union presidents or delegates...anyone in the campus union who’s in and out of our office all the time. Also the student workers. For a lot of them I feel like I’m their mother here at Wofford.”
Or, in some cases, their good friend.
“They come in and sit down and just want to talk,” says Clardy. “I consider myself a good listener. If they’re having a bad day, I’ll ask if they’re okay and they’ll open up about their problems that day. When they talk to their parents, it’s about grades or this and that. But when they come in to talk to me, they’ll tell me how they’re feeling.
“I really get to know some of them. Last year at graduation I think I cried more than their own mothers did.”
When they graduate, a lot of the students keep in touch. Former Presidential International Scholar Allyson Gibson, for example, emails frequently from graduate school at Washington University.
“I talk to her all the time,” says Clardy. “In fact, whether it’s an email here or there or a phone call, I like to keep up with all of them.”
When not working, Clardy’s passions are her family, bowling, shopping and going to the beach. In other words, many of the things she probably dreamed about while attending Spartanburg High School just down the road. She just didn’t know that she was so close to where it would all happen.