It is amazing to consider the impact one lady can have on the history of an institution.
Barbara Snipes has served Bainbridge State College for over three decades. On Monday, March 30, family, friends, present and former faculty, staff and students gathered for a public reception to honor her 33 years of dedicated service to the college.
Snipes began her career at Bainbridge Junior College in 1982, as a part-time, temporary financial aid clerk with the Admissions Office. Her temporary position led to her taking the role as the Admissions Office secretary. Just a short time afterwards, she was relocated to the Office of the President and became the Secretary to the President.
“I started out with a typewriter, and used a pen and pad to take minutes in meetings,” said Snipes as she remembered how things were when she first began her job.
She has seen the college evolve over the decades—from being a small junior community to college to a state college.
She said, “I remember when we celebrated the enrollment of student number 500 and then later student number 1,000. After that, the college began to hire more instructors and increase the class offerings in the liberal arts area and in the technical studies division. With the increase of instructors and students, everyone’s job duties increased, and computers became the mainstay in every office.”
As Executive Assistant to the President, Snipes has seen everyone who has passed through Bainbridge State College’s doors. She has served every president in the history of the institution. Snipes has also met and worked with a former U.S. President, International visitors and students, governors, legislators, chancellors, regents and University System of Georgia staff members.
Although she has worked with many prominent people, her favorite thing about her job was always her Bainbridge State family.
“Aside from the beautiful campus, my favorite thing about Bainbridge State is the great people. Faculty, staff and student all make up my college family and they are my favorite aspect of Bainbridge State College,” said Snipes.
According to Snipes, her experiences at Bainbridge State will always be a part of her. Through decades of interacting with a variety of people on the phone and greeting them in public, she always tried to listen and evaluate solutions for everyone’s requests.
She said, “I’ve always tried going the extra mile to help someone. In most cases, the behavior you exhibit to an individual is usually returned to you in the same manner. I have learned that treating people with kindness and respect are two of the most important characteristics a person should have.”
In celebrating a successful career, many representatives commented on Snipes’ commitment and service to Bainbridge State College.
Luther Conyers, the Foundation representative, said, “Behind every successful man there is a woman, and Ms. Barbara has been that woman for every president at Bainbridge State College. Dr. Edward Mobley hired her when she was good and then she got better—but Dr. Carvajal inherited the best.”
And to welcome Snipes into the “lovely land of retirement,” Connie Snyder represented the retirees of Bainbridge State.
“Ms. Barbara was one of the first people I met on campus,” said Snyder. “We even took classes together. She has been an awesome employee and the most loyal friend a person can have. She’s beautiful and a true blessing. Welcome to retirement, my friend.”
Kay Owens, the staff representative, also worked with Snipes for many years—but their friendship goes way back.
She said, “Barbara and I have been friends since grammar school. When we went to college, we lost touch—but met back up at Bainbridge Junior College where we both got jobs. For 32 years, we’ve seen many changes here together. She is the same Barbara as she was then—happy, loyal and concerned for others.”
Faculty representative, Dr. Michael Kirkland remembered being a student at Bainbridge College and visiting with Snipes in the President’s Office during his free time.
“I’d stop by and she’d always have a smile—just as she does today. It was always fun to talk with Ms. Barbara,” he said.
Past presidents had kind words to share about Snipes’ service.
On behalf of Dr. Edward Mobley, and his wife Martha, Pam Barnes reminded Snipes of the nickname Mobley called her for so many years—Radar. She was called Radar because she could always find anything. Mobley sent his many congratulations to his former executive assistant.
Likewise, Dr. Tom Wilkerson was unable to attend the reception, but sent a letter read by Dr. Ray Chambers, a retired faculty member.
In Wilkerson’s letter, he described Snipes as “exceptional” and “respectful.”
“I quickly learned that having you in the President’s Office was a huge asset in community college relations,” he wrote. “When people talked about the Foundation at Bainbridge College, I knew they were talking about Barbara Snipes. You are the Foundation of the college.”
Among the presentations made during the reception, the President’s Cabinet presented Snipes with two concrete benches to use in her garden. Also, Mayor of Bainbridge, Edward Reynolds proclaimed March 30, 2015, as Barbara Snipes’ Day to honor her faithful service to the Bainbridge community for 33 years.
According to Dr. Richard Carvajal, Bainbridge State College President, there is not a known person in the University of System of Georgia who has served as the Executive Assistant to the President for every president in his or her institution’s history.
“Ms. Barbara has excelled in all the roles of her life—she’s a daughter, wife, mother and friend,” he said. “She is so special to this institution—not only because of her 33 years of service, but because of her dedicated, loving commitment to the college. On behalf of more than 40 years of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Bainbridge State College, thank you for your service. You will always be a part of this college family.”