Student Life Administrative Assistant Darla Hettinga will be retiring on March 31. She has been working at Northwestern for almost 17 years, starting on April 1, 2002.
Hettinga made the big decision for a variety of reasons.
“The timing seemed right at this time for me,” Hettinga said. “I would like more free time to do some things I enjoy inside and outside the house.”
Hettinga and her husband have many things they hope to accomplish and her retirement will allow them to do those things.
“Our grandchildren are growing up quickly and involved in school things during the day that I would like to attend,” Hettinga said. “Marv and I also want to do some motorcycle traveling, and my not working full time will hopefully give us more freedom to come and go only scheduling around his vacation time.”
Vice President of Student Life Julie Elliott appreciated many things about working with Darla.
“I really appreciate that every day I come into work, Darla, who is always there before everyone else, greets me warmly and we talk about life,” Elliott said. “It may seem like a small thing but that kind of daily practice of warmth and personal interest makes for such a great work environment.”
Senior Alayna Loveland does her work study under Hettinga and she also appreciated many of Hettinga’s qualities.
“Darla has always been a pleasure to work for,” Loveland said. “Every day I come into work, she asks me how my day is going and always invests in getting to know me more.”
Dean of Residence Life Marlon Haverdink agrees with Elliott and Loveland.
“Working with Darla has been an incredible blessing,” Haverdink said. “She is the most dedicated, responsible and kind-hearted person you could ever hope to work with. Her dedication to her job and to students is remarkable, and honestly, I don’t know how we will survive without her.
“When I reflect on her time at Northwestern, the phrase ‘faithful presence’ comes to mind. She just is always there, willing to offer a listening ear, a smile, a kind word … she will be dearly missed.”
However, those three are not the only ones who have gotten something out of Hettinga’s time on campus. Hettinga herself says she has benefitted greatly from her time at NW.
“Being part of the Northwestern family is a blessing in itself and is something I will cherish,” Hettinga said. “Working with the staff and faculty on campus and building those relationships has been great. I have enjoyed working with the students and building relationships over the years they were on campus, as well as later as I meet them in different places.”
She also says she has enjoyed seeing how the campus itself has changed over the years.
“Seeing new buildings come up, old buildings with their memories go down and other older buildings renovated making the campus more beautiful,” Hettinga said. “There is always more to be done. NW has been blessed. There have been tough times as well as times where the college flourished, but the Lord has provided for the needs as they arise.”
Hettinga has many activities she hopes to do during the free time she will have after retiring.
“I like being outside doing gardening, yard work and going for walks without having to do it on weekends or evenings. I would also like to spend more time with my 12 grandkids, and I hope to volunteer at Bibles for Missions, visit the widows and shut-ins from church and go to morning Bible Study.”