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Sue Olm­stead is retiring from serving Hillsdale College after 27 years. Nicole Ault | Col­legian

At her office, hidden in a back hallway of the Roche Sports Complex, Sue Olm­stead has just what everyone needs: candy for the ath­letes who daily tramp by her desk, encour­agement for the stu­dents who work in her office, schedules and timely infor­mation for her super­visors. She lends a motherly spirit of orga­ni­zation and care that will be missed when she retires March 31, her co-workers in the ath­letic office said.

“She’s been a delight to work with,” said Jeff Lantis, director of external rela­tions for ath­letics. “She has the most pleasant per­son­ality, no matter what chal­lenges she has going on in her life. We will miss her.”

After nearly 27 years working at Hillsdale College, with expe­rience in four depart­ments, Olm­stead is retiring from her job as staff assistant for the ath­letics department to spend time trav­eling and vol­un­teering in the area, she said.

In June 1990, Olm­stead started working as an auditor in the Dow Lead­ership Center because it was a night shift and allowed her to attend her son’s school events, she said. After that, she worked for trust and invest­ments in Central Hall for 19 years, then for insti­tu­tional advancement in Moss Hall for another year and a half before coming to the ath­letic department.

At the ath­letic office for almost three years now, Olm­stead has juggled several tasks: she schedules sports studies classes, creates call reports for Lantis when he travels, helps with events such as games and the Hillsdale Hall of Fame banquet, and coor­di­nates mem­ber­ships for the ath­letic facil­ities.

“Sue will do any­thing she’s asked to do,” said Anita Gordon, aid to the ath­letic director, noting that Olm­stead is cre­ative and has taught herself to work with new tech­nology. “If she doesn’t know right away, she will figure it out.”

A graduate of Hillsdale High School, Olm­stead never attended college but worked in banking for 12 years before coming to Hillsdale. During her time at the college, she said, she’s taken accounting classes to brush up her knowledge and she’s intended to take art classes but never got around to it.

One of her favorite parts of working at Hillsdale, she said, has been forming rela­tion­ships with stu­dents, parents, and faculty. She has a knack for remem­bering names, she said, and has gotten to know many stu­dents per­sonally, espe­cially those with whom she works in the ath­letics office.

“It is sort of like a family here,” Olm­stead said, remem­bering how co-workers brought her cards and flowers when her husband passed away last school year.

Sophomore Eliz­abeth Laux, who’s worked for Olm­stead for a year and a half, said Olm­stead con­tributes to the office’s close-knit atmos­phere.

“Sue is like a second mom to me,” she said, noting that she and Olm­stead often have deep con­ver­sa­tions about life and faith. “She brings such a com­forting per­son­ality. Everyone’s busy, but she handles all of the craziness in such a graceful way.”

Gordon said she, Olm­stead, and other women with whom they work often go out to lunch together.

“We help each other in our per­sonal lives and share our love for Christ together,” she said. “There’s a light about Sue. She’s just a sweet lady, very kind.”

Gordon said she’s glad Olm­stead will be staying in the area so they can con­tinue to attend events and lunches together.

Olm­stead said she plans to con­tinue living in her nearby house, where her late husband crafted much of the woodwork and fur­niture, and said she might travel to Florida, explore Michigan, and vol­unteer at the hos­pital and the college. And she plans to be at every grad­u­ation for the stu­dents she knows, she said.

“It’s unbe­lievable that I’m at this stage in my life,” she said.

Even as she retires, she said she’s thinking of what she can offer to others: “I want to give someone else the oppor­tunity to enjoy what I’ve enjoyed.”