When Sandra Close, ’86, came to Meredith to earn her degree, she was pursuing a long-held ambition.
“In my day, you either became a teacher, a secretary, or a nurse. I loved the medical field, but had always wanted a four-year degree,” said Sandra, who was working in a doctor’s office as a nurse when she came to Meredith at the age of 40.
She loved every minute of her Meredith experience. So much so that she went to work part-time for the adult education program the summer she graduated.
Ultimately, Sandra served as the program’s assistant director from 1986-94, and then as director until her retirement in 2002. As an alumna of the program, Close recognized the opportunity it gave to adult women, whether they wanted to complete a degree, pursue a second degree, or begin their college experience as an adult.
Sandra was ideal for the position of director, because she understood both the challenges and joys of being an adult student.
“Adult students have a lot to give, especially to the other traditional-aged students. They have the social maturity to reach out to other students – and it’s especially easy to connect if you have children who are college-age, as many of them do,” said Sandra.
Alumnae who attended Meredith during Sandra’s tenure credit her encouragement with inspiring them to earn degrees. Her enthusiastic leadership and mentoring has resulted in hundreds of successful Meredith College alumnae.
Alumna Ginger Neustadt, ’05, who enrolled at Meredith at age 64, is among those who appreciate Sandra’s guidance and leadership.
“Sandra Close was key. She was really able to give you that individualized support and attention,” said Ginger. “She was so upbeat and positive – she was very encouraging.”
Since her retirement, Sandra has continued to be an active alumna. In 2013, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award in recognition of her work. Most important, The Sandra Critzer Close Scholarship endowment was established in her honor to support adult students – ensuring that strong women follow in her footsteps for years to come.