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Kathy Moss, executive assistant to three deans, to retire after 15 years

August 14, 2018

By S.A. Reid, Consulting Writer, Campus Life Communications

Emory Campus Life will lose a beloved member of its staff with Kathy Moss' retirement this month. Moss is concluding her 15-year tenure as executive assistant for the vice president and dean of Campus Life. A celebration to wish her farewell is planned for 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., August 15, in the Raoul Hall lobby.

The Atlanta transplant says she’s both sad and excited about her pending departure but believes it is time to let somebody else have all the fun she’s had providing administrative support to Campus Life’s top leaders and to the division’s community of staffers.

 Kathy Moss

“I look forward to seeing what’s in store for me in the next part of my life,” says the 65-year-old. “I’m so grateful for my time here at Emory. It’s been such an amazing, wonderful experience. I’ve been just so fortunate to have been a part of Campus Life.”

Her retirement agenda includes spending more time with family and friends and pursuing her favorite pastimes. They include making art, playing classical music recordings, gardening, and visiting the mountains of Georgia and Colorado.

Moss began in 2003 as a temporary executive assistant to John L. Ford, then senior vice president and dean of Campus Life, and became full-time a few months later following the death of her predecessor, Rose Fenner.

She had previously taught at an Atlanta-area charter school and at a private, faith-based school until each closed and, before then, at schools in the foothills of Tennessee near Knoxville where she once shared a farm with her now former husband.

The Louisiana native, who grew up in Shreveport, credits her successful transition from educator to executive assistant to an obsession with detail and organization that she inherited from her mother, office management experience gained during her college years, and penchant for preparation that she honed as a teacher.

Still, there was a moment of doubt when she first laid eyes on her wood executive desk and credenza.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’m in the wrong place,’” recalls Moss, who earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education and completed graduate coursework in special education and learning disabilities at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “I was used to being on the floor doing things with kids. I wondered if I could actually do this.”

Campus Life was such a wonderful experience that, after five years on the job, Moss says she officially turned the page on being an educator by donating a trunk of teaching materials to an Emory student.

“I was so happy. I just knew I had found my home,” says Moss. “I wouldn’t work anywhere else. Even at Emory, I wouldn’t work in any other department other than Campus Life. It really has suited me.”

Many High Points and a Few Lows

Moss takes great pride in having contributed to Campus Life’s important work and remains in awe of the amount of care, compassion, and dedication that goes into providing an exceptional campus experience for students.

The daily supply of new experiences and challenges as well as the diversity of activities and caring colleagues kept her inspired and looking forward to coming to work every day.

Additionally, Moss feels grateful to have had outstanding managers – currently, Paul Marthers, vice provost for enrollment management and interim vice president of Campus Life – all of whom she says demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and compassionate leadership.

However, the job has not been without its “sad parts,” such as notifying the appropriate university departments of Emory student deaths, as she had to do in 2016 when two were lost in a terror attack in Bangladesh.

But there have been many more high points. For example, she’s thankful for the opportunity to help plan a number of “benchmark” moments and signature events, such as the annual Carter Town Hall, CLASS Awards, and Campus Life brunches for graduating students and their families.

“These are memorable moments that I got to be part of, and I’ll miss a lot along with all the wonderful people in Campus Life,” Moss said. The feeling is mutual, according to current and former colleagues.

Chorus of Kudos from Colleagues

“Soon after being appointed to lead Campus Life, I came to a fuller appreciation of how large, complex, and essential the organization is,” said Marthers. “Kathy’s support from day one was indispensable – and her efficiency, commitment, and knowledge of Campus Life have been invaluable. She will be greatly missed.” 

Ajay Nair, Moss’ previous manager, offered similar praise. “Kathy’s guidance and support helped me and so many others thrive in very a complex organization. She’s been relentless in her support of student success during our time together at Emory – and beyond,” said Nair.

Ford makes such praise unanimous among Moss’ managers. “I am very thankful to have worked with Kathy for so many years. She is very kind, smart, cheerful, and well organized,” he said. “Together we tackled problems, pursued opportunities, and enjoyed Campus Life. I’ll never forget her sensitivity and attention to details in working with parents and students with problems.”

Wanda Collins, assistant vice president of Counseling and Psychological Services, has worked with Moss on numerous occasions. “Kathy Moss is incredibly warm, welcoming, thoughtful, bright, fun, and organized. Some of my favorite early memories of Emory include Kathy's beautiful smile and welcoming words," said Collins, who joined Emory in 2015. "She made Emory feel like a second home to me.”

Eddie Parsons, senior technology consultant in the Office of Technology and Bookstore Relations, has worked with Moss since she joined Emory. “Kathy is the portrait of professionalism; she handles even the most stressful situations with grace and class,” said Parsons. He added that, over the past year and a half, he has had the opportunity to connect with his colleague on a more personal level.

“Kathy was so kind to listen to me and provide advice during a stressful personal event,” Parsons explained. “Her compassion and understanding make her so special to me and many others in Campus Life and across the university. She will be deeply missed.”

Join Campus Life staff and others to bid farewell to Moss on Wednesday, August 15, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., in the lobby of Raoul Hall.