Diane Stone, Athletics Department division assistant, maps pathway to retirementby Jan Janes on Mar 8, 2019
Diane Stone and her husband have a morning routine she can share. “I say ‘bye hon, see you tonight’,” she said. “He looks at me and says, ‘retire!’”
This ritual will end in a few months. “I have been working 50 years, so it’s time,”she said. Her husband retired more than a decade ago. Stone joins more than a dozen people across Gavilan College retiring this spring.
Stone began her career at Gavilan working on a small project for Rachel Perez in 2006. She moved to counseling secretary while the full time employee was out on medical leave. Then came stints at the Academic VP office, followed by recording and transcribing minutes for the Academic Senate and the Curriculum Committee.
A call from Sharon Williams Zinghsheim changed everything. The athletics and kinesiology department needed an assistant and wanted to move quickly. Stone was hired part time and got to know the staff and new boss Ron Hannon, dean of Kinesiology and Athletics, during the summer. The position was temporary until the job was officially posted. Hannon encouraged her to apply.
“The hiring process moved along,” said Stone. “At the end of my interview, they asked if there was anything I’d like to say. I told them I’d like to be able to tell my mother I have a real job now.” Hannon told her to wait for him back at the office.
“Waiting, waiting, waiting,” she said. It was past noon when Hannon came back, sat on the corner of her desk, then said, “You can call your mother now.”
Stone’s career before Gavilan included working at a day care, managing SSA and SSI accounts, managing recreation departments in three municipalities, and as a registered sales assistant for a financial brokerage firm. She does not miss the extreme stress of that last one.
Her job in the division is, by turns, work, play, fun and craziness.
A candy jar sits on her desk, and students come in, often, for a treat and a talk. A parade of hundreds of students have come through the office door in need of something: where do I go, what do I do, I lost my lock, I can’t find my glasses, an instructor really doesn’t like me.
As popular division assistant for Kinesiology and Athletics, she will be missed. “I have no authority, can’t give grades, don’t bench them,” said Stone. Instead, she is the nonthreatening person who provides information, a shoulder to cry on, or a place to sit and chat.
“This entire division is full of people whose primary focus is student support,” said Stone. “That’s what we do best.”
Diane Stone receives flowers, gifts and a standing ovation from Gavilan College student athletes. (Photo Chris Spence)
Stone attends many Gavilan sports events. “It’s not part of the job,” she said. “But I see their faces shine when I show up in the stands or clapping at the entry gate.” She expressed the wish that more faculty would show up, sit in the stands and watch.
“Come across the bridge and see what these young men and women do after their bio tests and chem labs,” she said. Student athletes at Gavilan are enrolled full time, practice for hours in the afternoons, then dig into homework to maintain their GPAs. “The volleyball team, cumulatively, has one of the best overall GPAs of any group on campus,” she said.
An added impetus to setting a retirement date is the impending arrival of grandson number four, due in June. “I get to be super nana, taking the kids so their parents can have time together,” she said.
There are also plans for some remodeling, house and yard, as well as travel. Many friends have already retired, so now she can spend more time with them.
And a room beckons. “There’s a room in my house called The Box,” she said. Three walls of four are lined with craft supplies and work tables. Retirement means more creative time.
“I’m looking forward to family time, time with friends, sleeping in in the morning,” she said. “Or staying up all hours of the night and not having to go to work in the morning.” Trying out new recipes, baking and brushing up on the piano are also on the list.
“This has been my best job ever,” said Stone. “Sometimes the hardest, as well as the most fascinating.” Living local, she insists she isn’t going away and will be around to watch the student athletes compete.
“This job has been full of the most wonderful students, and the best people I’ve ever had the chance to work with.”