Longtime Student Advocate Bids Farewell to Bluefield College
Longtime higher education administrator Carrie Anello Camden bid farewell to Bluefield College at the close of the 2008-2009 academic year after 20 years of service and dedication to BC students.
June 1, 2009
Camden came to Bluefield College first as a student in the 1970s when she admittedly didn't expect to stay very long. A native of Bramwell, West Virginia, her plans were to attend college close to home for a year, but then transfer to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. She soon became so involved in the BC experience that her stay became much more long term.
"The college was growing and expanding," said Camden. "I remember watching Alumni (New) Hall being built just outside of my dorm window. It was an exciting time, and people wanted to be here."
She began her studies in business, but soon discovered a passion for drama with BC Theatre. In addition to acting and producing plays, she earned a bachelor's degree in drama with a minor in business.
"My experience as a student was great," said Camden. "The relationship building was phenomenal. I still keep in contact with my roommates, and they are all still good friends. I even keep in touch with Dr. [Michael] Garrett, my academic adviser. Not many people can say that."
After college, she continued to be involved in BC fine arts, volunteering to help with a variety of productions on campus. And, when the opportunity arose to return to her alma mater and that relationship building she'd grown to love, she accepted.
Camden became an assistant registrar at Bluefield College in 1990. She eventually worked her way up to the registrar's position before becoming director of student support services in 2001.
In that role, she immediately began to improve the school's student retention rate, growing the number of returning students to record levels by 2003. As a result of the development of personal relationships with students and strong support services under Camden's leadership, BC students began to indicate an increasing satisfaction in their college experience.
"For Dean Camden, it was always about the students," said recent graduate Josh Cline. "Few people at Bluefield College have made the difference for and in students that she has."
In 2005, Camden was promoted to associate dean of students, where she was able to work even closer with students. During her tenure as associate dean, students were extremely active in service in the community and abroad, student satisfaction and retention remained near record highs, and the college strengthened its residence life with new living-learning community initiatives.
"For me, the best part of my job is working with students," said Camden before her departure in May. "It's always fun, engaging, and constantly evolving. The students are invigorating and have given more to me than I could have given back to them. I have laughed, cried, and grown with the students."
Prior to her departure in May, the college recognized Camden's 20 years of service during a year-end Faculty/Staff Awards Ceremony. The BC Board of Trustees also acknowledged her commitment to students during its spring business meetings.
"We thank her profoundly for her 20 years of devotion to the students of this college," said trustee Jack Marcom. "She will be missed."
But, despite her departure from the administration, Camden, an alumna who sent her daughter and two sons to BC, is committed to staying connected to Bluefield.
"My heart is here. It will always be here," said Camden. "You don't put in the time I have and not love this place."