A reception was held Wednesday, Aug. 19, to honor Brenda Spurlin, who retired after 35 years at Missouri Southern.

Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the School of Health Sciences, speaks with Brenda Spurlin during the reception.

Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the School of Health Sciences, speaks with Brenda Spurlin during the reception.

Spurlin worked for three years for Richard Massa in the Department of Communications before becoming an administrative assistant to James Maupin, the dean of the former School of Technology. She would serve in the same capacity for Dr. Jack Spurlin and then for Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

“She has been really dedicated to the university, to the faculty, the students and parents as well,” said Strait. “She has a gracious spirit. Sometimes people come into this office who are questioning something or upset about something. She’s always able to calm them or defuse the situation.

“She trains new department secretaries and mentors them … and, she keeps me out of trouble.”

Co-workers praised her for her knowledge and helpfulness over the years.

“I’ve never seen her upset,” said Richard Spencer, associate professor of criminal justice. “She always goes out of her way to help faculty and students. She will be irreplaceable.”

Spurlin said Missouri Southern became something of a family affair over the years.

“My kids went to daycare here and graduated from here,” she said. She married Jack Spurlin, whose own children have ties to the university, including JJ Spurlin, who is an instructor in the Criminal Justice Department.

She said she already has plans for how she’ll spend her retirement.

“We’re going to do some traveling, and I love to work outside so I’m going to do a lot of that,” she said. “I’ll miss the people the most. This has been a great place to work.”