Whitaker receives 40-year Service Award at UVa-Wise


The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has changed a lot over the years, and Brenda Whitaker has witnessed four decades of the College’s transformation from her Science Center office.


Whitaker, administrative assistant in the Department of Natural Sciences, was recently recognized for the 40 years of service she has provided to UVa-Wise.


“I’ve been in Natural Sciences all those years,” Whitaker said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m a very curious person, and I like learning things. This job has fed my hunger for knowledge.”


Whitaker arrived on campus in 1969 with the intention of working a bit before finishing a degree. She had taken some business classes in South Carolina, including a few medical-related courses. Frank Steeley, a dean, thought Whitaker would be a good fit to assist the science faculty. His hunch was correct.


“I’ve taken classes here, but never finished a degree,” she said. “I’ve gotten the best education I could have gotten just by working here.”


Whitaker used to spend a lot of time typing tests and walking to Zehmer Hall to make copies on an old mimeograph machine. After several years, Whitaker could tell when a professor accidently left out a crucial portion of a chemistry equation on a test.


Computers and photocopiers eventually replaced the typewriter and mimeograph machine.


“I’d never even seen a computer before,” she said. “I loved learning how to use computers.”


She taught herself computer skills, with some occasional help from the newly established computer science faculty.


“My job has changed a lot over the years,” she said. “I’m more of a procurement person now, and I help manage the department’s budget.”


Retirement is not in her immediate plans.


“It’s a great job,” she said. “I love it. This is a wonderful place to work.”


Whitaker loves to read in her spare time. Her bookcase is filled with a variety of books, mostly non-fiction. She is involved in a local book club and enjoys engaging conversations on a variety of topics. She also enjoys spending time with her husband Roger, their daughter Gwen, and grandson Andrew. She is also awaiting the birth of a great-granddaughter.


Others receiving 2010 Service Awards at UVa-Wise include:


30 Years


Linda Davidson


25 Years


Kim Marshall

Mark Ramsey


20 Years


Randall Gabbert

Jeff Kiser


15 Years


Don Calton

Karen Smith

Lora Williams


10 Years


T.C. Cooper

Ricky Hopkins

J.C. Steffey

Randy Wyatt


5 Years


Penny Basenback

Gina Chisenhall

Crystal Fleming

Chad Gentry

Susan Herron

Chelsie Lawson

Norman Mullins

Jennifer Partin

Randy Patrick

Slade Potter

Heather Wilson