The year was 1967. Brenda Strong had just graduated from Madison High School. The EKU Registrar’s Office was seeking to fill a position and Strong came highly recommended. She had experience from working in the superintendent’s office during her senior year of high school and having taken every business-related course offered. She thoroughly enjoyed working in the office environment and knew she wanted to continue after graduation. As the saying goes, the rest is history. Strong has been an employee of Eastern Kentucky University ever since, having served in two areas: the Registrar’s Office and the Psychology Clinic.
Strong retired January 5 after 54 years of service to the institution. Her colleagues are quick to relay the success of the running of the Psychology Clinic due to her organizational skills and professionalism.
“Quietly competent,” said Dr. Robert Brubaker, chair emeritus of the Department of Psychology. “She had great compassion for the clients and dealt with even the most annoying of them with kindness and patience. She liked and respected the students and somehow got them (most of them) to toe the line. She dealt with the various eccentricities for the faculty with great forbearance. She was the perfect person for the job.“
Part of Strong’s duties were to facilitate therapy programs for the clinic’s clients, help psychology students complete assessments, and ensure the office operated smoothly.
“I have worked with Brenda for 26 years… all of my years at EKU,” said Dr. MyraBeth Bundy. “I would say that she helped facilitate every clinical service and teaching activity I have initiated during all 26 of those years. She is so organized, responsible and kind. She has a mind like a steel trap for how things should be done and for keeping track of people (like me) who need prompting to take care of details.”
Many in the department note Strong’s institutional knowledge is second to none.
“I will greatly miss her warmth, lovely smile and strong show of support,” said Dr. Theresa Botts, director of the EKU Psychology Clinic. “She has been our rock and go-to person for many of our ‘red tape issues.’ I cannot express how much we appreciate her knowledge about the workings of this university and all that she has done over the years to ensure that we meet the needs of the clients that we serve in the EKU Psychology Clinic. Indeed, she will be greatly missed!”
Not only will it be difficult for the department to fill Strong’s shoes after she leaves, but Strong says her decision to retire didn’t come easy.
“I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed my 54 years of employment at EKU, both working in the Registrar’s Office (1967-1996) and the Psychology Clinic (1996-2022). I have enjoyed working with all my fellow co-workers in both offices. Felt like working in a big happy family environment and never actually wanting to leave until last year,” Strong said. “I felt it was time for me to start thinking about retiring completely. It’s a big decision in my life since I have been here so long and have made so many friends over the years.”
Strong said she has been inspired by the people she’s helped during her 50-plus years at EKU. Whether it was students coming to the Registrar’s Office to inquire about their graduation status or clients getting the help they needed at the clinic, she said working with people has been a joy.
Retirement will bring more traveling, relaxing and projects for Strong.
“We have a winter home in Venice, Fla., and I am planning on spending more time there. Especially in the cold months. Also, my daughter and I have a trip planned for next summer, going to England, Ireland and Scotland. I am really looking forward to that trip.”