STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/21/2014
As Barry and Donna Loy hiked a seaside trail in Maine this winter, a young woman approached them tentatively. “Hi,” she said. “Are you . . . Barry Loy?”
That’s going to happen a lot. Forever. Barry, Gordon’s vice president for student life, will retire in July after 29 years in Gordon’s student life office, and his face is familiar to 12,000-plus alumni and current students. He knows many by name; the snapshots and missions flyers on the Loys’ fridge are mostly from Gordon alums.
“I was initially trained as a counselor,” Barry says. “As you move up in administration, the tendency is to move away from students, even at small schools. But I made it a goal to always have a certain level of student contact. I felt, ‘If I am going to be a good VP or dean of students, I need to know who students are, and how they are changing.’”
Gordon scholar-in-residence Stan Gaede, who was involved in hiring Barry in 1985, speaks of his gracious, gentle manner, his astute matches of staff members with jobs that fit just right, and his ability to understand people coming from a variety of points of view. He gives Barry substantial credit for Gordon’s ethos of “unity and diversity—a student culture that has, on the one hand, clarity about that which we believe and affirm, but also an appreciation of the diversity and range of people who make up the community.”
The Loy clan are linked with Gordon in many ways. Most of the family’s younger generation are graduates of the College. As the associate director of admissions operations, Donna trains and works as part of the crew who handle the increasingly high-tech work of processing student applications. She remains close to many of the former students with whom she bonded during the years when she worked nights at the Jenks Library circulation desk. “Conversations at 11 at night are very different from conversations at 11 in the morning,” she says. When the Loy children were youngsters, Donna says, students were role models and helped them “feel connected to something that’s beyond our family, connected to a faith community that’s bigger than the local church.”
In July the Loys will move to the North Carolina house in which Barry grew up, on land in his family since 1849. They’ll live with his father, who’s 92. Barry will do some consulting, and further research on his forebears who were potters (about whom he spoke on campus in March). If you find yourself in Snow Camp, North Carolina, stop in and say hello.