After 17 years of working for the athletic department, Claudia Gillette, aide to the athletic director, will retire Dec. 23. Madeleine Jepsen | Collegian
After 17 years of working for the ath­letic department, Claudia Gillette, aide to the ath­letic director, will retire Dec. 23. Madeleine Jepsen | Col­legian

After 17 years of service to Hillsdale College’s ath­letic department, Aide to the Ath­letic Director Claudia Gillette is retiring Dec. 23 to spend more time with her children and grand­children.

Gillette pri­marily helps with the ath­letic department’s bud­geting and expenses, and her suc­cessor will be respon­sible for finances and ensuring NCAA com­pliance. And although she leaves behind the work, it’s the rela­tion­ships she’s built that will leave with her. she said.

“My favorite aspect of the job is the people I work with,” Gillette said. “Every day, when you come in, it’s a happy place to be.”

Gillette was first hired as a staff assistant and returned to her back­ground in finances and accounting for the ath­letic department, after her three children moved out of the house.

“I’m really proud to work for Hillsdale College,” Gillette said. “It’s so dif­ferent from other col­leges, and the kind of stu­dents that we have here are just pretty remarkable. It’s been fun for me to watch our coaches — they mentor the kids, they care about them so much. It’s just really special to watch.”

As a part of her work, Gillette fre­quently interacts with coaches, both in passing while at the office and as a part of her work with the budget.

“All the coaches come by her office all the time to chat with her,” said junior Summer Burk­holder, one of the ath­letic department’s student workers. “There’s such a com­munity between the sec­re­taries and all the coaches.”

Her coworkers said she will be missed.

“She’s great to work with,” said Anita Gordon, aide to the ath­letic director. “We have a great group here, and I like to say that we just pray for the right people that are sup­posed to be here.”

Gillette said it’s the com­munity at the college that she will always treasure. She saw it in special action two years ago, after the unex­pected death of her husband in a car accident.

“This college was unbe­lievable in the way they just sur­rounded my family, and every day, there was food, and they were there for us,” Gillette said. “I felt their prayers just lifting me up, as I went through that. They were incredible.”

In addition to the com­munity, Gillette said she has enjoyed watching the campus grow over the last decade and a half. In addition to the con­struction of Lane and Kendall halls, Gillette saw the con­struction of the Biermann Ath­letic Center and the ren­o­va­tions in the Roche Sports Complex firsthand. She said it is exciting to see how the campus improve­ments have brought more people and events to the college.

In retirement, Gillette said she plans to spend more time with her three children and her two young grand­children, but she said she will miss the friend­ships she has formed in her years working for the college.

“I’m really looking forward to retiring, but I’m also going to miss the people that I work with so much,” she said. “I’ve become really close friends with so many of them. It’s a very special place.”

Nonetheless, Gillette said she plans to remain active in the Hillsdale College com­munity, whether by attending sports games or cheering on the Chargers from afar.

“We always say, ‘Once a Charger, always a Charger,’” Gillette said. “I’ll always be watching what’s going on with the teams and rooting them on, no matter where I’m at.”