Employee Spotlight

Barbara Willmore | Administrative Assistant to the Dean for Student Services and Enrollment | 20 Years at SIC

Barbara Willmore





Student Affairs “Most likely to Mother”

What other positions have you held at SIC?

I originally was hired to work in Admissions, when Dr. Dana Keating was the Registrar.  I worked in that position for approximately 5 months before transferring to this position in the Dean’s office.

What positions have you held prior to/in addition to SIC?

I was a hospital pharmacy technician for eight years prior to working at SIC. I loved the challenge and variety involved in that position. 

What does SIC means to you?

I keep a quotation on the bulletin board in front of my desk that says, “Everyone should have the chance to grow into a dream.”  That is what SIC means to me.  I love being a small part of helping people achieve their dreams.  I have watched many people come our way, feeling lost, scared and unsure of their abilities, and it is so heart-warming to watch them slowly grow into confident, thriving individuals.  It is wonderful to know that their dreams and accomplishments will affect their individual families for generations, and we get to be a part of making that happen.  SIC also means so many things to me personally.  I have experienced many meaningful friendships during my time at SIC.

What is your favorite memory at SIC?

In years past, I often helped chaperone cultural trips for the TRiO/Student Support Services program.  One trip we went on a cultural trip to Chicago, Illinois, visiting the Museum of Science and Industry.  I arrived at our designated departure point early, just in case some of the groups finished earlier than others.  One of the students who had recently moved to southern Illinois from rural Kentucky came up and joined us.  She had never been to a city.  We were talking about the places we had visited during the trip, and she said, “So this is culture.  It is nice, but I like my woods in Kentucky better.”  I told her it was fine that she liked her woods better and the whole point of the trip was to experience something new.  If you never experienced it, then you would never know how you truly felt about it.  It was so meaningful to watch her experience something unfamiliar, as well as to know we had helped broaden her worldview and helped with her own self-discovery.  I thought her insight, as well as the courage to make the statement, was astounding. 

What do you do in your spare time?

Traveling is my favorite thing to do in my spare time, locally and afar.  My love of travel is so well known that there is a continuing joke in Enrollment Services about my retirement camper.  People actually take pictures of unsightly campers or vans and share them regularly with our department.  I also love to read and garden.  

Where’s your favorite vacation spot?

Any locale that has the sounds and smells and views of the sea.

In the movie based on your life, who plays you?

I have thought about this question when I read other Employee Spotlights, and I decided I would choose Meryl Streep.  Tyler Billman found out I was selected for this month’s spotlight, and he said I should put Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and Kathy Bates as my answer to this question.  Meryl Streep I understand, but he would not explain why he also included Jane Fonda and Kathy Bates!

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

My momma.  My mother died when I was eighteen and I didn’t have the opportunity to know and enjoy her as a person.  I only saw her as “mom” at that point in my life.  Also, her parents emigrated from Europe (Germany and Denmark) and now that I am an adult I have many questions about our heritage, traditions and the way we experienced things in our family.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever heard? 

I discovered this piece many years ago, and I try to reread and apply it regularly.  I strive to remain aware that “it is so easy to exist instead of live.”

“You will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life.  Your particular life.  Your entire life.  Not just your life at a desk, or in a car, or at the computer.  Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart.  Not just your bank account, but your soul.

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the sea, a life in which you stop and watch how a red tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

Realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted.  Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around.

It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes.  It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the color of our kid’s eyes.  It is so easy to exist instead of live.”


                                                                      Excerpt from Anna Quindlen’s Villanova commencement address