When you have been involved in a place for as long as Joy Jewell has been at Geneva, you grow accustomed to seeing change take place. If you are Joy Jewell, you make a career of embracing it.
In the collegiate world, this natural phenomenon is professionally referred to as development, and development is something with which Mrs. Jewell is very familiar. In fact, it is her specialty.
“I realized here [at Geneva] that I love the development process of watching freshmen become seniors,” she recalls. “So many come not sure where they fit. I really feel called to be a part of helping them make that connection.”
Mrs. Jewell graduated from Geneva in 1968, the same year in which her husband began to work at Geneva. She joined him in 1975, when she was hired to teach in the communications department. Over the next 30-plus years she has held a variety of positions, including coach of the forensics team, director of career development and adviser to the aviation program, continuing to teach both basic and upper-level communications courses. She moved into student development in 1985, and soon became the associate dean of students. In 1994 she accepted the title she will be relinquishing this year—dean of students.
“I didn't necessarily seek positions, they just came to me,” she laughs.
Handling changes and new challenges with grace evidently is something Mrs. Jewell has impressed upon her students. Sarah Zwinger ’98 remembers: “I learned from Joy how to take things as they come. She was always so levelheaded.”
As a student, Zwinger worked for Mrs. Jewell during the summer, helped her perform skits for students and parents at freshmen orientations, and even house-sat when the Jewell family went on vacations.
“There will be a great loss felt when Joy leaves,” says Zwinger. “She is one of those individuals that will be nearly impossible to replace. She is her own unique, distinctive person and she always encouraged that from anyone around her.”
Mrs. Jewell has made a life of taking things as they come; now she will be taking them as they go. She sees Geneva as the stories of its students, and says that it has been a privilege and a gift to be a part of so many of those stories.
“Those stories are what I will take with me,” she says. “Geneva will always be a part of my heart.”
Upon retirement, Mrs. Jewell will still be involved with development—only now it will be with her grandchildren.
Geneva College placed in the top 20 of U.S. News & World Report's Regional College North Rankings.