Longtime mail center director to retire after 30 years

Contact: Jennifer Mathany

Connie Ames started her career at Willamette in 1993.

It's with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of Connie Ames.

Connie began her career at Willamette in June of 1993 as the bulk mail clerk then quickly received a promotion to information coordinator, where she maintained all of the student mailbox and forwarding information. "Pre-computer days, imagine that," Connie jokes.

During this time, Connie was also responsible for answering the campus switchboard, which was located in the Mail Center for many years.

Connie remained in that position for many years until a sad turn of events took place, moving her into the director role — her supervisor and mentor, Judy West, was diagnosed with cancer.

Connie credits much of her expertise and success in her role as director to that mentorship and training. This event provided for one of Connie's greatest accomplishments and an incredible legacy at Willamette. As Judy battled cancer, Connie inquired about the possibility of donating her unused sick time. Through this process she found that other university employees were interested in this type of donation as well.

After much research — and not taking no for an answer — Connie was successful in helping the university implement the “Shared Leave Program,” allowing “donations” from the campus community.

Among Connie's many accomplishments are her service as chair of the all-campus picnic and coordinator of volunteers for Commencement for many years.

For those who have been at Willamette for some time, they know that Connie is part of a long serving Willamette duo. She married Jim Ames, former fire, life and safety technician, her first week on the job. Jim began his career at Willamette in maintenance in July of 1990 and retired in 2018. Together, they served Willamette for 57 dedicated years.

“We have many memories from our time at WU, such as: the flood of 96, the COVID-19 pandemic, a complete remodel of the UC (we temporarily set up the Mail Center in the basement of Lausanne Hall). Although I’m looking forward to retirement with Jim, I’ll miss all of the colleagues, student employees, and alumni with whom I’ve formed lifelong friendships. I feel fortunate, I’ve had the best team in the Mail Center. I know they will continue their hard work and dedication to the Mail Center and the university. I’m confident that I’m leaving the department in good hands,” said Connie.

Connie and Jim plan to take a moment to rest (“Well, maybe not Jim, but I will for sure,” says Connie). Then it's off to travel, enjoy their beach house in Yachats, and spend quality time with their five children, 13 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Please join the entire Willamette community in thanking Connie (and Jim!) for their dedication and service to Willamette. We will miss her, but know that she will always be a part of our Willamette family. Congratulations, Connie!

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