Rallying for Retention, With Love

Nancy Love troubleshoots financial barriers to college education

A mere five feet tall, Nancy Love doesn’t come across as intimidating. But when it comes to assisting students with financial need, she is a proven force to be reckoned with.

As an administrative specialist celebrating 15 years with the Department of Housing and Residence Life, Love devotes herself to advising, encouraging and ultimately contributing to the continuation of students at Ohio University. Known for her humble approach and compassionate nature, she is tireless in her efforts to troubleshoot financial barriers to a college education.

Last semester alone, Love worked with approximately 2,700 students who found themselves at risk of not being able to return to campus due to prior term balances. According to Director of Business and Conference Services Jneanne Hacker, these interactions have proven critical to student retention and success.

“Nancy exemplifies what Ohio University stands for: Putting students first,” said Alvena Collins, a records management specialist for Housing and Residence Life.

Soft-spoken and unassuming, Love isn’t one to seek public accolades. But this past academic year, her colleagues took that initiative for her — not once, but twice! She was named Classified Senate’s Employee of the Month in November and the Division of Student Affairs Employee of the Semester in May.

“Nancy makes a silent but valuable contribution to the success of our department and our division,” Hacker wrote in her nomination of Love for the latter award. “She is one of the most thoughtful, talented and dedicated staff members that has made selfless investments with both enhancements in our business practices but more importantly, success of students.”

According to Love, it’s all in a day’s work. “I try to be compassionate and let students know that I’m going to do everything that I can to help them,” she explained. “I feel like I’ve done my job if I can make them understand.”

Love’s impressive number sense stems from the 24 years she spent working at a local bank in her lifelong home of Glouster, Ohio. She relies heavily on these skills to address the complex financial needs of the students who wind up in her office.

“Out of students who come to see me, I’m able to come up with a resolution to help about 80 percent of them get registered while they’re here in the office,” she said.

Such positive outcomes have earned Love the gratitude of many students — occasionally even hugs. In cases where students are granted a deposit deferment to finalize their admit status to Ohio University, Nancy also has the privilege of sending the thank you e-mail, which officially welcomes them into the Bobcat Family.

Part of Nancy’s magic lies in the connections that she has forged with colleagues across the university. In “the old days” (when Housing and Residence Life was based in Chubb Hall), Love was able to walk students with financial need directly to her counterparts in the Office of Student Financial Aid. Today, she keeps those contacts close at hand via phone, email and even Skype.

“Nancy and I frequently collaborate to work toward finding solutions for students who might be experiencing financial issues,” said Sandi Krivesti, senior assistant director of scholarships in the Office of Student Financial Aid. “Nancy is always polite, respectful and caring with a goal of trying to resolve housing issues for students. She is truly a dedicated individual.”

Love’s dedication is also reflected in her love of learning. This month, her desk is piled high with study materials, which Love is reviewing in order to renew her certification with the International Association of Administrative Professionals. According to Hacker, Love’s ability to continually learn, adapt and lead amid changing office practices makes her incredibly deserving of DOSA’s Employee of the Semester honors.

“Nancy has taken on every task assigned and has done so with a level of professionalism, effectiveness and commitment with desired outcomes being achieved,” Hacker said. “Nancy’s impact to students and her contribution to our team is a critical part of our departmental success.”