Pauline Holub, of rural Marion, has spent the past 21 years helping students realize their dreams of an education.
And now, it’s her turn to fulfill some of her dreams.
Holub will retire June 30 as director of Butler Community College of Marion.
Valuing the importance of adult education, Holub obtained degrees in business education and elementary education from Tabor College in 1989 — well into her adulthood. She earned a master’s degree in student personnel counseling in 1999 from Emporia State University.
Her career with Butler began when a few college classes were offered each semester at Marion High School. Later, the program expanded and was located at 301 E. Main St., Marion.
In the spring of 1991, classes moved to its current location, 412 N. Second St., Marion, when the former Bown Corby Elementary School building became available.
“We maintained a store front on Main Street for a few years,” Holub said.
Holub has worn many hats having been an adjunct faculty member, financial aid adviser, secretary, and assistant director before she was given the full-time reins in October 1994.
“One of the biggest changes I’ve seen over the years has been an increase in enrollment,” she said.
In addition to the convenience of having a college campus in town, students now can take all of the required classes for a general associate of arts degree at the Marion facility instead of taking some here and some at the main campus in El Dorado.
More high school students are taking classes from Butler, making the students more prepared for college and saving parents’ money for the community college education at home.
Advancements in technology and automation have surprised Holub with online classes and the ability to offer virtual, interactive classes through Web cameras and a network.
“There’s not near as much paperwork as there used to be,” Holub said, regarding reports, grades, and handling of money.
When classes were first offered in Marion, Holub said she wasn’t sure what the response would be.
“I never dreamed it would grow the way it did in Marion,” she said, impressed with the way the public has accepted it.
While classes used to have more females than males in number, now more males are enrolling.
“I think the economy has forced some people, including men, to build up their skills,” Holub said. She also thinks military personnel — both male and female — are taking advantage of military benefits.
Holub attributes her success to those she works with including secretary Rita Tomlinson and adviser Terry Klenda who have assisted Holub on the Marion campus for 18 and 15 years, respectively.
“I have also been so fortunate to have a pool of instructors,” she said. “These instructors are so caring toward our students. They’re willing to help students even on their own time.”
And now it’s Holub’s turn to make use of her own time a bit differently.
She’s looking forward to being a grandmother — attending her grandchildren’s activities. She has four of them — Jared, 14, Emily, 10, Jordyann, 13, and Jordan, 12.
She plans to travel with friends, volunteer in the community, and pick up some of the hobbies — scrapbooking, sewing, quilting, and cooking — she’s had to set aside because of her work schedule.
Holub has stuck with this job for more than two decades because of the tremendous satisfaction in helping others realize their dreams.
“Watching students graduate, walking across the stage, has been rewarding,” Holub said.
Some students struggle, she said, and then to see them make it after such effort is fulfilling.
Her ultimate dream is to write a book someday about the Hajek family.
“I’ve been working on my father’s genealogy,” Holub said. She wants to complete her research and have it published.
As she prepares for her last month at Butler, it is bittersweet for Holub. Nearing the minimum age to receive Social Security, Holub knows it’s time.
“It’s been a fun job,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m going to miss it but I’m looking forward to this new adventure.”
A reception in Holub’s honor will be 2 to 4 p.m. June 25 at the Marion campus.
School officials are in the process of hiring a new director who will assume duties this summer.
“It will be business as usual, just different leadership,” Holub said.