Carmen Kenyon

Honored by:Scott and Kirsten, Mark and Deb, and Kent
Brick location:A:21  map

Carmen Ione Olson Kenyon is retiring today after 24 years of service in the Registrar's office at Iowa State University. When she first joined the university in 1974, Carmen took a job as a part-time clerk, helping primarily during registration. She soon expanded to a half-time position as a clerk in the graduation evaluators' office.

As society and the university became increasingly reliant on computers a decision was made in 1984 to code and enter all of the university's degree programs on the computers. The university needed someone to tackle this immense task and in spite of her limited experience or training with computers Carmen agreed to accept that full time position as the new degree audit clerk.

Carmen spent the remaining 14 years of her tenure in that position. She worked with each department of the university to determine what programs each offered and what coursework was required for each. She then entered course completions each semester for each student. This allowed the students and their departments to track what students still needed for graduation. Carmen has been the only person to fill that position since its inception.

Carmen is a unique individual, particularly in the rarified atmosphere of a major university. With little formal education beyond high school and a 20-year gap in her job resume as she reared three children, Carmen could easily have remained in an entry-level position. That did not happen, however, because of two characteristics-. Carmen never gave less than her best, and she always cared deeply about each individual with whom she worked. While many of her colleagues may have waited eagerly for 5:00 or Fridays, Carmen loved the time she spent on the job. There she found fulfillment, affirmation, and friendship. Her eagerness is illustrated by the ten weeks of vacation she had accrued at retirement!

Though Iowa State will continue to function smoothly and students will still manage to graduate without Carmen, her colleagues and friends will miss her both personally and professionally. Regardless, however, of her success on the job, her greatest accomplishments have been as a wife and mother. Married to Rupert E. Kenyon, Jr., since 1950, Carmen is the mother of Deborah (1951), Scott (1954), and Kent (1957); grandmother to Sean (1980), Case (1985), and Ryan (1989); and mother-in-law to Mark and Kirsten. To them, she will always be the most successful woman in the world.

Submitted on 5/29/98