Judy Gillentine does not remember a day that she did not know about Truett McConnell University (TMU). While she played in her grandparent’s front yard as a little girl, students of Truett McConnell Junior College would often walk past the house to Cleveland’s town square. Today, Berry Foods IGA stands in the place that Gillentine’s grandparents’ white house once occupied.
Joining the TMU Family
Gillentine has worked in library services from her late teens, when she started working at the White County Middle School Library. She later worked at the White County Public Library for seven years.
One day, as she was passing by the campus of Truett McConnell College (TMC), she felt God prompt her to turn in. She ended up at the front desk of the Cofer Library on TMC’s campus, where a young man greeted her. He promised to give her contact information to Ms. Janice Wilson, who was the director of the library at the time.
Even though TMC was not advertising any job postings, Gillentine received a call from Wilson a few weeks later, asking her to come in for an interview. Gillentine recalled that she was canning green beans on that hot July day while wearing shorts and a tee shirt. She told Wilson she would need at least an hour to clean up. However, Wilson insisted that she come just as she was. Gillentine showed up and received a job offer. She said, “By listening to that still, small voice of God and obeying, doors opened wide.”
A Growing Campus
During her 30 years at TMU, Gillentine has witnessed TMU grow from a two-year college to a university. She has also seen old buildings torn down and new building sprout up, most notably the Student Wellness Center and Wood Hall. “TMU has grown by leaps and bounds,” she said.
In addition to campus-wide progress, Gillentine has been able to experience the development of the Cofer Library. She recounted that 30 years ago, the library did not have a single computer, only two typewriters used to produce book labels, checkout cards and card catalog cards. Cofer Library has since transitioned from a card catalog to an online public access catalog. Gillentine said, “Under Dr. Nott’s leadership, we are transitioning from print sources to more electronic resources. The library is always changing and growing to meet the needs of our institution.”
A Meaningful Job
Gillentine enjoys being part of the TMU family and the freedom she has to talk about Christ at her workplace. Her favorite part of her job is seeing students light up with excitement when she is able to help them with research or teach them how to navigate a database.
She also shared one touching memory of a student who once encouraged her. On March 31, 2002, a student told her that God had directed him to pray for her and remind her that whatever would happen in the days to come, God would always be by her side. The very next day, Gillentine’s father passed away unexpectedly. The prayer of the student from the day before echoed in her heart and mind.
Gillentine has seen students become minsters, nurses, teachers, and many other professions. She often meets the children of TMU alumni when they come to tour TMU. She always greets past students with a smile and a hug. The TMU Administrative Assistant said, “I have forged many friendships over my 30 years here at TMU and hope to continue for many more years.”
Anna Skudarnova is a senior English major and content writer for the TMU Marketing and Communications Department.Return to News Archive