That’s the pledge Teresa Stanley made when she began her work as alumni director for Bluefield College in the summer of 2001, and it’s exactly what she did for eight years before bidding farewell to the position, but not her alma mater, in November of 2009.
Stanley, a native of Bluefield, West Virginia, came to Bluefield College in the fall of 1994, first as a student. She was not your typical student, even though she enrolled in the school’s traditional program to pursue a degree in psychology. She had attended Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, in the 1970s, but had spent most of her life serving as a pastor’s wife.
“That’s really all I knew,” said Stanley about her marriage to minister Ernie Croy. “I was a minister’s wife for more than 20 years. It was my life.”
But, sadly, the life she knew so well came to an end in 1993 when her husband died in a tragic accident. Stanley said that she and her two sons, Andrew and Jason, were suddenly asking themselves, “what now?” But, she said, God answered.
“God just opened the doors for me at Bluefield College,” Stanley recalled. “I was at a point in my life where I needed to start over, and Bluefield College gave me that opportunity. Once I got in and saw how this institution worked with students, I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to work here.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree from BC in 1997, Stanley joined the staff as an accounts payable clerk and a receptionist in the Business Office. Later, she became an administrative assistant to the dean of students, before serving in the same role for the Department of Athletics, and then eventually becoming the director of alumni relations.
“The thought of being able to work with alumni who felt the same way about Bluefield College as I did was very exciting,” said Stanley about being named the new Alumni Director. “I had worked several years with students and enjoyed that aspect greatly, but I felt like this new role would take me to a broader group who loved the college.”
During her eight years as director of alumni relations, Stanley revived BC’s regional alumni chapters and played a key role in creating an on-campus Ministers’ Conference. She also was instrumental in developing a Scholarship Auction to support the BC Fund for Scholarships. In addition, she created the Delgado Christian Service Award to pay tribute to former academic dean Primitivo Delgado and to honor those alumni who exemplify his Christian service.
“Any accomplishment was definitely a team effort,” said Stanley. “The Advancement Office was a well-oiled machine where we all worked together for the common good of the college. That’s just how it was.”
The 1998 recipient of BC’s Distinguished Staff Award, Stanley spearheaded the publication of a new Alumni Directory in 2005 and developed a President’s Graduation Dinner to recognize graduating seniors prior to Commencement. Just this past year, she created the Golden Graduates Society to honor alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago.
“I will miss the alumni,” said Stanley, who influenced both her sons to attend BC. “After eight years, you really do get to know people. It was heartwarming to get to know the alumni so personally. I will also miss my ‘team.’ I had the privilege of working with an amazing group of staff members, whom I could call on for anything. Any success from my years as director is a result of the Advancement Team.”
Outside of the BC family, Stanley was elected president of the Association of Southern Baptist Alumni Directors (ASBAD) in 2007. Despite her departure from the BC alumni director’s position, she said she still plans to stand true to her pledge to give back as much as she can to the institution that gave so much to her.
“This was a tearful and prayerful decision for me,” said Stanley, who met her second husband, Jim, who is also a pastor, through a BC co-worker, “but I sensed my season was drawing to a close. I don’t have any regrets and have total peace, even though it was difficult to do. I feel that I came to BC in God’s timing, and I left in God’s timing. It was time for me to give more to Jim’s ministry, as well as to our families.”
Stanley said she looks forward to staying involved with BC alumni relations as a volunteer, “serving on the Alumni Council, cooking a meal, stuffing envelopes, making calls, or doing whatever else is asked.”
“I may be leaving a position, but I will never leave Bluefield College,” she said. “I will always be ready to say ‘yes’ when I am asked to help in any way. Simply put, Bluefield College is a part of my story now, a part I am honored to talk about and be a part of.”