To many in the Stonehill community, the same thing happens every time we reach campus in the morning – we’re greeted by a smiling, waving Nancy Gammons at the Gatehouse.
To Nancy, her well-known wave all is about creating a welcoming environment and a warm greeting.
“I’m the first face visitors see when they come to campus, and if I’m just staring out the window, they could take that as a different, less-welcoming impression of Stonehill than they might otherwise,” says Nancy. “I have to approach each person who asks for directions and stops with a happy demeanor: ‘Good morning, how are you today? It’s a beautiful day, do you need any help?’”
Her partner, Jerry Mekler, takes a similar approach each afternoon, albeit with a bit of flare.
“Being the first person people meet means a lot to me because I’m able to start them off with a light, friendly attitude as they arrive at Stonehill,” says Jerry. “I bring some humor to campus, and that resonates with people. Often times families coming in for tours will shut their car off and chitchat because they’re here early and they feel welcome.”
Together, Nancy and Jerry offer a helping hand and a map to new visitors, directions to lost passers-by, and food recommendations to early arrivers who need a place to relax. They also keep an eye out for suspicious activity as part of the Stonehill College Police Department staff and facilitate parking during campus events.
Nancy is married and has two adult children. Her daughter lives and works in the Boston area, and her son participates in Special Olympics, which keeps Nancy very busy with his training. An avid Patriots fan, she also works at Gillette Stadium and proudly displays her collection of memorabilia in the Gatehouse.
Jerry, who just celebrated his 20th anniversary with his wife, is a parent of two, an avid runner and an outdoorsman. A retired 30-year veteran of the Postal Service, he also works part-time in the College’s mailroom.
Next time you’re driving into campus, beep your horn or even pull over for your chat. Not only will it brighten Nancy or Jerry’s day, but you will leave with a smile on your face and a new friend at Stonehill.