Staff in the spotlight:

Bette Provost celebrates 45 years at Norwich

(l-r) Bette Provost and President SchneiderWhen Bette Provost first began working for the bursar's office, Eisenhower was president, the first sputnik satellite had just been launched, and tuition was $425.00 per semester.

On February 24, a large contingent of friends and co-workers gathered to help Bette celebrate her incredible forty-five years of service to Norwich University. In between greeting well-wishers, opening cards and serving cake, Bette reminisced about her time spent working on "The Hill," "taking care of her students," as she calls them.

Officially hired by the University in 1958, after having worked a few years at National Life, Bette remembers doing per diem work at Norwich while still in high school. "When the mess hall was located in what's now the chapel," she recalled, "my girlfriend and I served General Omar Bradley. That was a big thing."

cake: congratulations, Bette, 45 wonderful yearsFor Bette, working at Norwich is not just a job, it's a family tradition. Her mother, Leonora Thurston, worked in the snack bar for 34 years, while her father, Ralph Thurston, was the meat manager in the mess hall for 29 years. A sister, Linda Murray, worked in purchasing for 24 years, while a brother, Ralph Jr., (fondly known as "Skeezy"), is in his 56th year of service in the mess hall. Another brother, Allen, spent six years at Norwich learning the meat-cutting trade from their father before leaving to start his own business.

All told, her family has worked at Norwich for a cumulative total of 170 years, and that doesn't even include various aunts and uncles. "We've had a long history at Norwich," said Bette, a lifelong resident of Northfield.

Bette Provost distributes congratulatory cakeWhile being served cake, President Schneider congratulated Bette on her on her many faithful years of service, noting that he was just eleven years old when she began at Norwich.

Citing friendly co-workers and an enjoyable work atmosphere, Bette hopes to keep on working for many more years.

"I really enjoy working with the students," she said. "They keep me young."

Having spent so much of her life on "The Hill," Bette thinks of Norwich as her "home way from home."

"This has been a good place to be," she said.

dweggler@norwich.edu, February 2003

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