Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Betty

Friends and family gathered in the Ramer Building on Tuesday to wish Betty Gibson well, as she heads into retirement. This is Betty's last week at the college. Did you notice that I didn't say colleagues earlier? There's a reason for that. The people that work here value her as a dedicated Vol State employee and a woman who helped to run the college in some respects, while serving three different presidents. But we also consider Betty to be a friend. To work with such passion and precision and still have so many friends is a testament to her character. As Dr. Faulkner mentioned in his speech at Betty's party, we are her legacy, as we carry out work serving students and the institution. 

The finale of the event was the presentation of a picture of Betty and Dr. Ramer together. And then Betty spoke, reciting the theme from the "Golden Girls" TV show: "Thank-you for being a friend."

Pictures tell the story best. But if you are not aware of her career here, we have a brief biography. Some of these words can be found in the state proclamation honoring Betty that was presented to her by State Rep. William Lamberth.

Betty Gibson began working at Volunteer State Community College on July 1, 1972 as secretary in the Planning, Federal Programs and Institutional Research Office, just a few months after the Gallatin campus officially opened.  She began working for the founding president of Vol State, Dr. Hal R. Ramer in 1976. 

She was promoted to Administrative Assistant to the President on July 1, 1981. She worked with Dr. Ramer for 27 years. Dr. Ramer named a building after her before he retired. Betty Gibson Hall is located on the east side of campus.  She went on to serve two more presidents, Dr. Warren Nichols and Dr. Jerry Faulkner, in her 42 years of service to the college. She received the Outstanding Professional Staff Award in 2003.

Gibson has been with the college through a time of great expansion and change. The first class at Vol State had just 581 students. In the fall semester of 2013, the college had 8,153 students enrolled. Gibson was a student herself at Vol State, graduating in 1983 with an Associate of Science degree in General Business Administration.

Betty Gibson was born in Lebanon, Tennessee on October 22, 1941. Her father was Cleveland Stewart and her mother is Lois Stewart. She graduated from Lebanon High School in 1959.  She married Steve Gibson in 1960 and moved to Gallatin. She has a daughter, Jenny and a son, Randall. She has three grandchildren, Cole, Cody and Bayleigh.

Betty Gibson has served the students, faculty and staff at Vol State with dedication and enthusiasm. Her depth of knowledge about the institution has proven to be invaluable over the years. No matter what challenges the college has faced, Betty Gibson could be relied upon as a steadying influence and a shining example of the Vol State spirit of service to students and the community.


  1. What a lovely event. We'll miss you Betty!!

  2. I missed the event. :-(

    Betty Gibson symbolizes all the good and positive things about Volunteer State Community Colleges, the community college mission, and the benefits of higher education in our society. She has dedicated her professional life to building an institution, and has paved a way for all higher education administrators to offer better service to the community and our students. It is hard to talk about Vol State without acknowledging Betty. It has been an honor to work with you. You have given me some lifelong advice and guidance. You told me to "never change", and my desire to not disappoint you keeps me going. Your expectations of me have helped me to do and be better, your dedication to excellent work serves as a guide for what I hope to become one day. Love you and miss you Betty. Looking forward to lunch conversations about the next phase in your life. - Kenyatta