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Coming to work at a place you call home
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Now, let us ponder the subject that we are most familiar with when it comes to Muhlenberg - our education. Joan Marx '77, professor of Spanish, is approaching her 25th-year reunion with her Muhlenberg graduating class and she says she is "back at the place that opened the whole world to me."

Since Joan grew up in Allentown, she says it was the last place she ever thought she would want to find a career because of the typical college student's need to leave the nest. But once she learned that there was an opening in Muhlenberg's languages, literatures and cultures department, Joan figured her first interview might as well be at the place where her education began.

As Joan stepped foot on the campus for the first time since Commencement, she immediately found it "tempting to come back to where I grew up." Joan says she was further inspired to accept the position when she learned she would replace Kenneth Webb, one of her own favorite Muhlenberg professors while she was a student, and of whom she "thought the world and admired so greatly." The job, she says was an opportunity "not to fill his shoes, but more to follow in his footsteps."

After about five years in the classroom, Joan also took on the duties of assistant dean of academic life, at the same time continuing to teach advanced Spanish courses. As assistant dean, Joan bridged two presidential administrations from Jonathan Messerli to Arthur Taylor, and found the job to be a "unique opportunity to see how the system functioned" as part of the administration herself.

"I enjoyed the position, but my heart was in teaching," Joan says. So Joan returned to being a full-time professor and head of the department, but soon found that she would like to devote even more time to teaching, rather than continue with administrative duties as department head.

Joan was a commuter student during her undergraduate years, and paid her way cleaning Springhouse Junior High School at night for four hours, which left little time for extracurricular activities.

Today, Joan is making up for lost time in her professional academic life. She became faculty advisor and inductee to Alpha Chi Omega after receiving her Ph.D., and is now included as a sister to an organization of which she is quite proud. She and her husband, Muhlenberg philosophy professor Ludwig Schlecht, live close to the college, which Joan says allows them to "be part of the campus in ways other professors who live far away cannot."

Joan still admires her favorite campus spot through her office window in Ettinger. It is the graduation area under the trees between the Chapel and Ettinger where Moyer Hall now stands. Since Joan's husband now works there, it is an extra-special place to gaze.

Christine Murphy '00, an English major, wanted to move back to the Lehigh Valley area after a year at a publishing company because of the real sense of community at the 'Berg.

Christine was a presidential assistant in the public relations office during senior year and now works in the P.R. office as director of college communications. Christine says she was not actively looking for a new job when she learned of the opening in the P.R. department with her previous boss, Michael Bruckner, and decided to interview for the position, which she accepted in April 2001.

Christine found that the corporate world was more about the bottom line, rather than the broader picture, which attracted her to a non-profit atmosphere. "I wanted to work for an organization I believe in and I knew that Muhlenberg could do that for me. Even for employees, it is an educational experience."

Photo of staff alumni
(From left to right) Front row: Carey Hilton, Jennifer Tran, Regina Bortz, Nicole Williams, Cynthia Amaya, Heather Brown, Dina Kovats-Bernat. Middle row: Kristen Yngve, Monica Stufft, Matthew Hittinger, Laura Rasmussen, Jenifer Gilio, Christine Murphy, J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat. Back row: Aaron Bova, Chip Hurd, Amy Jeffries, Ellen Pothering, Blaec Croft, Christopher Hooker-Haring.

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