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Mary Lou Barkley is often the first person students see when entering the registrar’s office.
“It makes me very grateful and proud that I can serve students,” she says. “It’s important to me to live my life with purpose. Our students are inspiring, and they need people who care. I want to treat students as I would want my sons to be treated.”
As an office support assistant, Mary Lou fields calls to the office, answers questions and directs students to the resources they need to schedule classes and meet graduation requirements. The registrar’s office works closely with departments throughout the university to make sure students stay on track.
Mary Lou and her husband, Terry, moved to Rolla in 2001 with their sons, then ages 9 and 12. The Barkleys bought a 40-acre farm 12 miles outside Rolla. They’ve worked on restoring their 110-year-old farmhouse throughout the years.
“I was fortunate to be able to retire after 25 years in a corporate career, to be able to stay home with my sons to help them settle into our new home,” she says. “The boys were doing well, and I made the decision to return to work fulltime in 2005.”
She joined S&T’s residential life department when the Residential College opened. (It is now known as Residential Commons.) She served there for 10 years before transferring to the registrar’s office in 2015.
“This is a good place,” Mary Lou says. “I feel fortunate to work here and help these students move forward in their lives.”
Mary Lou at a glance
Hometown: Owls Bend on the Current River in southern Missouri (between Eminence and Ellington, Missouri)
Family: Husband, Terry (a carpenter at S&T) and two sons: Thomas Herbst, S&T alumnus and currently a Ph.D. student in geology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Michael Herbst, a Missouri State University alumnus in agricultural business
Hobbies: Antique shopping, attending auctions and estate sales, embroidering, sewing, plants
Favorite S&T memories: Students decorating the residence halls around holidays, witnessing students gain confidence during their time at S&T
Advice to other employees: Be kind. We have to remember that we’re impacting families. The student just doesn’t come here – we impact a family.
Awards and honors at S&T: Favorites are student-driven awards, including the 2014 RC Keeper of the Crest Award and 2011 Residential College Association Faculty/Staff of the Year Award
Favorite food: Poached eggs, toast and hot tea
People are surprised to learn: Mary Lou, who grew up on a working farm that sustained her family, learned many skills as a child, such as milking cows, butchering and making soap.
About the staff spotlight
Missouri S&T’s Staff Council launched the staff spotlight feature in February 2019 as a way to highlight staff members throughout the university. Legends Bank, Au Bon Pain and the S&T Store are sponsors. The articles are published in eConnection and shared on Staff Council’s Facebook page.
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