(May 3, 2001, Gazette)
happy to go, sad to leave
Photo by Chris Hammond
Bernice St. Croix
images float the computer screen: a hammock swinging against
an idyllic sunset
a perfect empty tropical beach
then the words, Retirement countdown: only 50 days until
The fact that a co-worker went to the effort of installing a
special screensaver should tell you something about Bernice St.
Croix, intermediate secretary in the Department of Psychology.
Genuinely well-liked by everyone who meets her, the Grand Falls
native has been a Memorial employee for over 20 years, and has
maintained her friendships for the duration.
Ms. St. Croix began at MUN in 1972 in what was then the Geology
Department, and quickly found a place among her co-workers.
I thought at the time that was the best place in the world
anybody could ever work, she said. They used to cook
up salt meat dinners in the lab sometimes. What a crowd they
Ms. St. Croix has also been popular with students. Returning
to MUN in 1982 after her husband was transferred to Grand Bank
and back again, she took up a position in Co-ordination, the
predecessor to co-op.
Everybody there was just exceptional, but it was one of
the slowdown times, she said. Engineering students
werent being placed really fast, and theyd come in
and say, Anything this morning? So I used to go home
in the nighttime and try to figure out where I was going to get
them a job; and then by this time I was thinking they were mine
and I just had to get them to work.
Her empathy did not go unnoticed, and when Ms. St. Croix made
the move to the Psychology Department, she was literally followed
into her new office by a florist carrying a bouquet from the
Her seniors like her work, too. Ms. St. Croix has worked under
four full-time department heads at the Psychology Department,
and was described by the first of these, Jack Strawbridge, as
a den mother extraordinaire who makes things work.
"She's also a proud mother to her own children, Chris and
Cory, (both MUN grads), and gets a little emotional while telling
about the momment from Cory's recent Admission to the Bar, when
his older brother made a surprise trip home from Toronto, doubling
his mother's pride in the day," said Dr. Strawbridge.
Curious by nature, Ms. St. Croix has enjoyed her opportunity
within the university for continuous learning. I thought
maybe Id get my degree in psychology since I was here,
she explained. But after three courses, I was wiped out!
I hadnt been in school since 1957, and of course I had
to get As or I wouldnt be able to hold my head up
Its so interesting working here because the psychologists
have expertise in different areas, like neuroscience and animal
behaviour. If you want to know something, just go to lunch in
the lunchroom and you get all kinds of interesting information.
Calling it recycling instead of retiring, Ms. St.
Croix has many plans for her future, including reading, gardening,
golfing, cross-stitching, walking her 16-year old dog Ziggy,
and perhaps travelling to Ireland next year. Primarily, however,
she and her husband of 35 years, Ed (an employee at Facilities
Management, who will also be retiring), will relocate to their
cabin on the lake in Central Newfoundland, near Grand Falls,
and spend much of the summer and fall remodelling in time for
Ed is fantastic at renovating, Ms. St. Croix said,
and I do all the planning and picking out fabrics and colours.
She added, When we finally do head to the old peoples
home, theyll be wheeling Ed out with a hammer still in
Ms. St. Croixs gift for working with people wont
be wasted, either. I looked into volunteering, she
explained. Grand Falls is just down the highway, so if
I come up with a position as a mentor in high school, I think
Id like that.
As for her opinion on how she achieved her success? Ms. St. Croix
You dont stay working at the university for the salary.
You have to like the atmosphere. And I love the atmosphere: you
learn something every day.
Theyve heard me say over the years what a nice environment
the Psychology Department is to work in, she added. I
would say theres going to be a lot of people applying for