(continued from pg. 16)
One of the younger alums to work for the College, Christine says that being a recent graduate has never been a disadvantage in her professional life, because the College has an abundance of respect for its alumni. "I loved going to work when I was a presidential assistant," she says, "and I love coming to work now. It seems as if IÕve never left the family."
For most married couples, what happens at home stays at home and what goes on at work stays at work. But, things are a little different for Christopher and Dina Kovats-Bernat.
Chris '93, assistant professor of anthropology, was a philosophy major, since anthropology did not exist as a major, but he was the only anthropology minor at the time. Dina '94, associate director of admission, was a business/entrepreneurial studies major and a philosophy minor.
According to Chris, he sought out Dina his junior year. As a Tau Kappa Epsilon brother he would see her at social events and "always wait to see what she was doing to make my plans." Dina was a Cardinal Key, and one alumni weekend when she volunteered to baby-sit for children of alums in the basement of Brown, Chris showed up to "help."
Like many young college couples, the two broke up a couple of times as Chris went off to Temple graduate school and Dina, a year younger, was still at the ÕBerg. Fortunately for them, they got back together once Dina graduated and entered the "real world" of sales and marketing. And, fortunately for Muhlenberg, Dina found that world to be unappealing after only six months and she decided to return to her alma mater for a visit.
The College offered her a job in the admission department and Dina was immediately attracted to the personalized and homey atmosphere. She loved the idea of interviewing juniors in high school and later seeing them graduate from Muhlenberg.
"Because so many co-workers are also fellow alums, you can call anyone for help and people really extend themselves for you," she says.
During her first year as a Muhlenberg staff member, Dina would constantly tell Chris how much she enjoyed her job and how she loved the relationships she had formed with students. But, as hard as he tried, Chris could never quite understand Dina's enthusiasm until he began working at Muhlenberg himself.
After years of studying and working, Dina and Chris were married in May 1999 and Chris finished his Ph.D. on a Friday in May 2001. Dean Curtis Dretsch hired him the following Monday.
Chris says he came back to Muhlenberg because his office feels like home, but he also remembers being on the opposite side of the desk. "It felt natural being at Muhlenberg," he says, "and it's nice to be part of a new and emerging department like anthropology in which I was involved from day one."
Chris worries that people may think that the only reason he works at Muhlenberg is because he is an alum, but he believes, "this college is at the same Ivy League caliber without the same credit. I had my choice of places to work, but I chose Muhlenberg for the same reasons I chose to be a student here."
Chris and Dina love spending time on campus because it allows faculty to see students as everyday adults almost like themselves. Chris says: "Now I see where the staff is coming from because the last time they saw me I was this punk 22-year-old, and now I have some credentials. When I meet students, I like to see their potential to be professional people even though they might have the wild personalities of college kids."
Today, Chris and Dina are preparing to bring another potential Muhlenberg alum and staffer into the world, as Dina is due to give birth to their first child in April 2002.
Chris recalls, "The best time I ever had on campus was in East Hall and the Quad believe it or not, and I can't wait to show these places to our new baby." Dina herself prefers the General's Quarters for "the thrill of people watching - to see and be seen." These are just some of the memories that Dina and Chris both intend to personally share with their baby as they involve him or her in the Muhlenberg experience.