Skip to main content

As Long-Term Gulls Retire, Their Reflections on Leaving the Nest

Spring '24 retirees
It鈥檚 not just students that fly the Nest鈥攊t鈥檚 staff and faculty that retire and leave Endicott for exciting next chapters. Before their retirement at the end of the spring 2024 semester, we sat down with four faculty and staff members to reflect upon their careers at the College.
By: Therese Sison

At this year’s Convocation, Endicott President Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., gave a call to the entire College community: “Share Your Story”—and boy, do the Gulls featured here have stories to tell.

These faculty and staff members collectively have more than 100 years of experience at Endicott, and as they prepare to retire at the end of the spring 2024 semester, we sat down with them to hear their reflections on the development of their early career interests, how their professional lives evolved at the College, and the most important lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Kent Barclay
Associate Dean of Technology
Joined Endicott in 2000

What influenced your career interests?
I’ll start by saying that in no way did I ever envision myself doing what I’ve been doing now for nearly 30 years!

After I graduated from UMass-Amherst (and touring in a rock band for a year), I started working as a freelance video camera operator, editor, and director doing anything from music videos to documentaries. Eventually, I started my own video company specializing in the legal field.

Later, I was hired as an audio-visual director at Bradford College, where a staffing change unexpectedly put me in charge of the computer labs. I only knew the very basics of computers and was now in charge of supporting them at a college! That was almost 30 years ago, and I’ve been working in higher ed technology since.

What brought you to Endicott, and how has your role evolved?
Endicott was completely revamping their technology teams and had several job openings. I was asked if I was interested in interviewing for a position, but I wasn’t able to take the job at the time. Several months later, my circumstances changed and I called the College to see if there were still any positions. The rest, as they say, is history. I was hired as a Distance Learning Coordinator, but my duties quickly expanded and I became the Director of Instructional Media Services.

My role became increasingly involved with digital technology, so I was promoted to Associate Dean of Media and Instructional Technology. Eventually, that led to my current role.

I’m proud to say I was responsible for bringing Endicott into the 21st century with many technologies we now take for granted. This includes the first mediated classrooms with computer stations and projectors; the first online learning management system, called GullNet (later replaced by Canvas); a digital TV studio and production facility; live web streaming; and technology training for faculty and students. I also taught some courses in media production, advertising, and leadership for a few years, and completed my master’s degree in education here.

What are your post-retirement plans?
I want to travel more with my wife, Endicott Professor Gab Watling, (who I was lucky enough to meet here at Endicott in my first year). I also want to get back to more creative pursuits. I’m a musician (I was even in a rock band here at Endicott called the Professors of Soul), so I need to pick up the guitar again. I also enjoy gardening and landscape design, golfing, and skiing; I’m on a darts team and am an avid whisky collector. I have Scottish roots and have an interest in Celtic history and languages, so I would like to do more research on that as well.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?
The first is to expect the unexpected, which has been a constant theme throughout my career. The second is to learn how to get along and work with people because you’ll encounter all types throughout your career (and life in general). You have to be able to adapt, find common ground, be professional, and don’t take criticism too personally. Take pride in what you do, and know that what you do makes a difference, but respect what others bring to the table as well. Finally, always keep your sense of humor. When all else fails, that will get you through.

When I started working here, I never thought I’d be here as long as I have, or that I’d meet my future wife here! Endicott has come a long way over the years and it has changed my life in so many unexpected and positive ways. It’s the people that make Endicott so special and I’ve made lifelong friends here. Once a Gull, always a Gull!

Beverly Dolinsky
Professor of Psychology
Joined Endicott in 1989

What influenced your career interests?
I am the classic stereotypical psychology major—the person friends and family sought out for support and guidance. This led me to choose to study psychology. In graduate school, I learned my passion was teaching and research, so I earned my doctorate in social psychology and became a professor and scholar.

What brought you to Endicott, and how has your role evolved?
I was first hired to cover the courses of a faculty member going on a sabbatical. A year later, I became the first full-time psychology professor for the then-new bachelor of science program.

When our chair of the Liberal Arts Department resigned, I volunteered for the temporary role until a replacement could be found, even though I was the most junior member of the department. Amusingly, the vice president agreed I would not be suitable for the permanent position. Well, it was 11 years before I returned to my faculty role.

During that time, my role expanded to oversee several new degrees, including criminal justice, environmental studies, international studies, human services, English, and history. Minors also were instituted during my tenure. The division expanded so greatly that I became the first dean of the college, as the dean of arts and sciences. I also led the development of the First-Year Experience.

Later, I became the vice president for student affairs. In this role, I enhanced the co-curricular offerings in residence halls, increased collaboration between academic and student affairs, developed outcome assessment methods, and supported the development of the Educational Leadership in Higher Education doctoral degree.

Since leaving the vice presidency, I’ve enjoyed returning to my position as a professor. I have a long-time commitment to supporting the health and well-being of seniors, and I recently was awarded the Rosemary F. Kerry Community Service Award for advocacy on behalf of older adults, awarded by SeniorCare and the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

What are your post-retirement plans?
I will be supporting my husband, Robert Jerin, a former Professor of Criminal Justice at Endicott, through his journey with ALS. I have no doubt that I will teach part-time, and continue volunteering with nonprofit organizations that support the health and well-being of older adults. I would also love to go back to school and learn more advanced statistics, and a new language, and take courses in literature and history.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?
I have a sign in my office that says, “Knowledge is Power.” We need to embrace and seek out educational opportunities to better people and support our communities. It’s also important to have a career path and strive to achieve goals, but also to be receptive and embrace new, unimagined opportunities. Lastly, you must lead with kindness and compassion.

Brian Fitzpatrick
Professor of Music
Joined Endicott in 2004

What influenced your career interests?
Since middle school, music has always been the most important thing in my life. During graduate school (I spent too many years in graduate school!), I seriously considered clinical psychology as a career and almost ended up in a doctoral program for psychology, but music was a much bigger part of me. After graduate school, teaching seemed inevitable and evolved naturally as a next step. And what better environment for engaging in music than a college campus?

What brought you to Endicott, and how has your role evolved?
During my first teaching position at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Berkshires, I began to feel a bit “landlocked.” The teaching position itself was great and the Berkshires are beautiful, but it felt too remote for my lifestyle. When a position opened at Endicott, it seemed a perfect fit. The teaching position and job description matched my experience and interests exactly. How lucky!

Then, to top it off, President Richard Wylie and Dean Mark Towner championed the Manninen Center for the Arts a couple of years after I started at Endicott. The new arts center provided additional space for music teaching, rehearsals, and for students to practice. Having a focused space for the performing arts gave students a dedicated area where they could get involved with music. Since the arts require a great amount of practice time, having a new building was essential. We continued to develop a curriculum to meet student interest and provide more performance opportunities.

What are your post-retirement plans?
I’ll have more time to write music and play piano. I might even revisit one of my first pursuits by playing classical guitar, too. The door is open!

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?
Great ideas in academia are fantastic, but kindness and sincerity often go a lot further. Consider asking yourself every day, “How are you letting yourself be today?”

David Parry, Ph.D.
Professor of Criminal Justice
Joined Endicott in 1996

What influenced your career interests?
I’ve been fascinated with criminal justice since I was in elementary school. My father was a banker, and I remember him bringing home several wanted posters that I eagerly scoured for every last detail about the robbers and muggers featured in them. Not long after that, his bank branch was held up 13 times in two years during the civil unrest of the 1960s. So, at 10 or 11 years old, I got in the habit of asking him nearly every day if he had been robbed that day, and it wasn’t unusual for the answer to be, “Yes.”

What brought you to Endicott, and how has your role evolved?
I came here after teaching for about 10 years at the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where I conducted the research for my Ph.D. dissertation on juvenile delinquency patterns and the operation of the juvenile justice system involvement with young offenders living in remote Alaska Native villages.

At Endicott, I’ve taught more than 20 courses, sat on countless committees, and served as faculty advisor to our Law and Justice Club and our Beta Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma (the national criminal justice honor society). I’ve taken students to London on two different occasions to complete three-week internships there. I’ve also published a book of readings on juvenile justice as well as numerous articles and reports on juvenile justice and the criminal justice system.

What are your post-retirement plans?
I want to keep teaching a class or two each semester, at least for a while, and hopefully at Endicott. I also have a book project that I’ve started working on, essentially as a sequel to my anthology that is now outdated and out of print. I’d also like to do some traveling—both in the U.S. and internationally. And I want to spend more time with my long-time soulmate who lives 200 miles from here. Last but not least, there’s a lake half a mile from me that needs to start seeing a lot more of my kayak. But that can wait till summertime!

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during your career?
Possessions are expendable, but people—and our relationships with them—are worth hanging onto, and they deserve a lot more of our attention than the things we possess or want to possess. Another thing I’ve learned is that money comes and goes, but time only goes. If spending money saves time, it’s likely to be money well spent. We only have so much time, and the clock keeps ticking.