Why Webster? Employees Share Their Stories

| February 29, 2012
Length of service

40 percent of Webster's U.S. employees have served 10 years or more.

Why are you proud to work at Webster?

Considering the average length of service of Webster employees is 10 years — twice the national average, according to Department of Labor statistics — this must be a question with many answers.

As we approach the homestretch of another academic year and another Commencement in May, we’re all working hard — as usual — to provide our students a quality educational experience.

But it’s never a bad time to pause and think about what makes a quality experience for ourselves.

Webster Today recently asked some faculty and staff about what first drew them to Webster and what has kept them here, in some instances, for more than 40 years. Below is a sampling of what a few of them had to say. We hope you’ll share your experiences too.

Helping Lifelong Learners: ‘Your Success is My Success’

Timothy Groza (MA Management, ’87), senior director of the Myrtle Beach Metro campus location, has clocked 28 years and counting. He says he enjoys the interactions with his students, faculty and staff – watching them make strides in their academic and professional careers.

Webster University graduates


“Many students come here not knowing exactly what they want to do,” he says. “Then, a light bulb goes on and they’re off and running, they obtain their master’s degree and go on to lead very successful lives.”

He has a group of alumni who check in from time to time to share their successes. “I tell my students: ‘Your success is my success. So take the ball and run.’ It makes me proud to know we’re really accomplishing something special and that we have an excellent product.”

Tim was hired to launch Myrtle Beach Metro with 60 enrollments. Today, it’s up to 600. “The University really empowers you to succeed,” he says.

Wainz: ‘Webster Celebrates Student Body Diversity’

“For me, Webster University fosters hope and possibility for all students, not just for those that have straight A’s or have influential alumni in their immediate family,” says Laura Wainz, manager of licensure and information resources in Academic Affairs, and a staff member of eight years. She came to Webster from another university because of the warm, supportive and inspiring culture. “Webster celebrates student body diversity in ways that are truly unrivaled by others in the world of higher education.”

From Grad Student to Employee: ‘I Feel I am at Home’

Syed Ali, coordinator in Enterprise Information Systems, came to know Webster as an MBA student working at a St. Louis area corporation. He was particularly impressed with Webster’s international focus and began working in Webster’s IT division 21 years ago.

“I have stayed at Webster because of the family work environment and because when I go to work, I feel I am at home,” Syed says. “I always feel supported and encouraged in my job and, being in the education sector, I feel particularly able to stay sharp and keep learning.”

Ted Hoef, dean of students, prepares to launch his plane.

St. Louis employees had a casual, airplane-filled lunch after Convocation kicked off 2011-12 in August.

Young: ‘Fresh, Interesting and Fun’

“Each day brings something different — a new problem to solve or a new event to prepare for,” says Justin Young, a maintenance technician in Facilities Operations for 11 years.

Justin grew up in Webster Groves and always had his sights set on working at the University. He works as an electrician. “Webster’s atmosphere is fresh, interesting and fun,” he adds. “I work for good people and we’re a tight-knit group. There’s no doubt that I’ll retire here.”

Whitehorn: ‘We Help Students Achieve Their Dream’

Kim Whitehorn is an undergraduate financial aid counselor and an 18-year Webster staff member. “We really have a chance to impact students and help them achieve their dream of going to college,” she says. “And in many cases, college is life saving and life changing.”

Whitehorn recalls one student who was quite shy. One parent was deceased and the other, incarcerated. Since her admittance, through a financial aid package Whitehorn assembled, the student is now thriving and active in many student organizations. The student’s aunt regularly contacts Whitehorn with good news of the student’s successes. “We really stand out with our customer service,” she says. “We make our students feel comfortable and give them a lot of much-needed attention.”

Brasfield: A Witness to Institutional Expansion

When Jim Brasfield joined the faculty in 1976, there weren’t separate schools and colleges, there was no Faculty Senate nor any European campuses. Graduate programs and military campuses were still a relatively new institutional endeavor.

Prospective students packed the Geneva campus to learn about Webster's academic programs.

From the CMS to undergrads to graduates, from L.A. to Geneva (pictured) to Thailand, Webster employees now help students all around the world.

“Webster has undergone a lot of change and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen and been a part of a lot of it,” he says with pride. Jim’s 36 years at Webster have been during the most monumental periods of institutional growth. And he became part of the team of faculty and staff architects responsible for the form it has taken today.

“Although we have grown considerably over the years,” he says, “we have still managed to retain a lot of the good characteristics of a small institution. Often in larger organizations, people tend to cocoon themselves in their own departments. But at Webster, we still manage to interact with each other fairly well, and we’re all committed to what Webster is all about. It’s a very fun place to be.”

What Makes You Proud To Work At Webster?

From the atmosphere of collegiality to the chance to make a difference in students’ lives, there are many answers to the question: What makes you proud to work at Webster?

Feel free to share your story in the comments below.


Category: Employee News, Faculty, Webster News

Comments (1)

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  1. Quite simply, I love the community of the University, the staff — some of whom have been my friends for 15+ years, the students and faculty, the swell of pride I felt every time I entered and left the new library during my tenure in St. Louis…..now in Fayetteville AR….the students, staff and faculty. We are a close knit family and know and encourage each other. Roger is an amazing boss, as Laura Rein was for 12-1/2 years at the library. I feel blessed to be a part of this community after moving back to AR. There is just no place else I would rather be than part of Webster University!!