By Emily Glory Peters
Scripps recently bid farewell to Peggy Vasquez, supervisor of special projects, after her retirement following a remarkable 39 years of service to the College community. Initially hired as a part-time building attendant and working her way up, Vasquez’s journey at Scripps began with a coincidental job opening—and a special revelation.
“Before coming to Scripps I worked at a factory in La Verne for four years, making dials for machines. My mother-in-law worked at Scripps at the time, and said they were looking for help because one of the employees had surgery. I went in to interview, but told the director I had something to share—that I was pregnant!” Vasquez laughs. But she notes that the revelation wasn’t a deterrent. “The director hired me part time and said to come back afterwards—that she would wait for me. I started in 1981 and became full time after my son’s birth in 1982.”
Vasquez has seen significant change on campus since then. Her work took her everywhere from aiding students in Toll Hall—the campus’s oldest residence hall and its prettiest one, in her opinion—to the ribbon cuttings of new buildings, to executing a flurry of activities during Commencement. This event, along with New Student Programs and Orientation, was among Vasquez’s favorites.
“When we would do the setup on Elm Tree Lawn for Commencement, it was wonderful to see people walk through with dogs and to hear students’ family members remark on how gorgeous it was. And I really enjoyed when the students came back during orientation at the beginning of the year to watch the parents move them in and just take in the campus,” she says. “I’ve been across all of The Claremont Colleges, but Scripps really is the most beautiful to me.”
Vasquez names her willingness to jump at professional development opportunities and the relationships she built with staff, faculty, and students as the secrets to her long tenure. Openness to change, she adds, was essential, and influenced how she developed personally over the last four decades.
“I started in my twenties and wasn’t very outgoing,” she reflects, “but I learned a lot at Scripps: different people’s cultures and upbringings, and how to work with multiple supervisors through the years. In the end I really grew and matured, and enjoyed learning from the parents and students, too.”
That growth was evident to Peggy’s colleagues, including her last manager, Custodial Supervisor Judy Ochoa.
“I had the privilege of working side-by-side with Peggy for only a few years, but I was able to admire her attention to every detail, making sure events were set up for success. I know Scripps students, parents, staff, faculty, and visitors were all impacted in a positive way by that hard work and dedication year after year,” says Ochoa. “I am happy for her retirement and know she is spending quality time with her family.”
As of this summer, Vasquez’s husband has joined her in retirement, and they’re taking in their free time with their nearby sons and grandchildren. Still, she says, she misses the friends she made at Scripps and is grateful to keep those connections alive.
“I never thought I’d be at Scripps so long and I have seen a lot of people come and go. But I still have many friends there and we keep in touch,” she says. “Scripps was a good job and I really loved it. After all—I practically grew up there!”