Kathy Biddick Says Farewell

By Laura Nelson

For the past 26 years, Kathy Biddick has been the problem-solver, fun-maker, and activities planner for the students of Sul Ross State Univ. Rio Grande College and now plans to retire Sept. 30, 2020.

She started at Sul Ross in 1994 in Student Services and went straight to work scheduling campus activities, preparing for a variety of events such as the annual spring honors banquet, and facilitating student clubs and organizations. As satisfying as that work has been, finding ways to help students with disabilities realize their goals has been particularly gratifying. Kathy said, "These students are here because they want to make a difference and have pride in themselves for their accomplishments. Most of these students don't get the encouragement from home to help them succeed. It has been truly satisfying to see them earn a bachelor's degree and some even going on to get their master's."

Her compassion and giving nature show in everything she does. More than one of her colleagues spoke about Kathy's willingness to help others. Senior Enrollment Specialist Juan Tamez has worked with her for many years and commented that she is open to suggestions and brings wisdom and serenity to her work. Tim Wilson, Professor of Education, said she has always put students first, and "Kathy has done a wonderful job with anything she does because Kathy is wonderful!" Vice President of RGC Robert Muñoz said, "As the new guy, how welcome she has made me feel. The sparkle in her eye and the” good trouble” we would have made."

Longtime administrative employee Paulette Harris has this to say about her co-worker and friend. "Kathy has been my 'right arm' for all these years. We shared many adventures holding graduation ceremonies. We have driven to and from Eagle Pass or Del Rio in rain storms, hauling podiums, chairs, tables, etc. to set up for the ceremony and then loading them back up and returning to Uvalde to unload at 10 pm and maybe getting to go home at 11 pm. I could never have done all these ceremonies without her help. There was never an occasion that she did not pitch in and help. She is truly a wonderful lady in every way."

Kathy fondly remembers working with student staff to publish RGC yearbooks, El Paisano. When students traveled between the three campuses frequently, Kathy appealed to RGC students, faculty, and staff to submit poems, short stories, and artwork for the Road Scholar Review. The popular periodical was printed, bound and distributed for several years.

As technology advanced, students could attend class via teleconferencing. Kathy recalls moving huge television screens on carts to a classroom and hooking up to a dial-up modem, listening to the distinctive electronic sound of a connection being made between campuses.

In her personal life, music has been a constant. The Uvalde native grew up in a loving, supportive home where her father and her grandfather were both ministers. She sang in the church choir and then joined choir in high school. Her talent was recognized when she was invited to audition for the State of Texas high school a capella choir. Kathy and friends Nancy Bennett and Mary Lou Williamson formed "The Memories" and shared their singing talent at many public events including Sul Ross State Univ. commencement ceremonies for 30 years.

After stepping away from RGC, Kathy plans to travel. First on her list is a place she has never visited, but is calling her—Utah. When south Texas gets hot in the summer, she and husband Jon will spend part of the summer at their family-owned cabin in Minnesota. The pair have been married 30 years and share six children, 12 grandchildren, and two God-sent grandkids.

Upon hearing of her retirement, students, faculty, and staff have expressed how much they will miss her support, her problem solving, and her cheerfulness. She leaves the following sentiment, "Be kind and you will get that kindness in return."