Transitions: Nancy Griffin Retiring

Nancy Griffin, a nurturing and inspiring presence at Santa Fe College for 25 years, is retiring June 30 from the Displaced Homemaker Program (DHP), which she has coordinated almost since its inception in 1984.

“She has been a lighthouse, a beacon and a centering spirit,” said her colleague JoAnn Wilkes. “She has allowed many who have been lost to find sanctuary and a new direction.” 

Nancy’s last day on campus is May 20 (sort of). She is going on vacation for six weeks and then will return June 29 and 30 to assist with the leadership transition in DHP. Wilkes will take the reins as coordinator with Wanda Howard Holmes remaining as staff assistant. 

Nancy’s SF career

When Nancy was hired, she held a master’s in Sociology from the UF and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Florida Atlantic University. She quickly realized she needed more training in counseling so she enrolled in FSU’s social work program, earning an MSW.

It hasn’t just been a job, Nancy said, it’s been “a tremendous privilege” to assist more than 3,500 women as they’ve rebuilt their lives after divorce or the death of a spouse.

“I have helped displaced homemakers become empowered and have heard their stories of strength, courage and tremendous sacrifice and love,” she said. “They have truly inspired me every day.”

Nancy sees the college as becoming ever more the career changer’s entry point for people over the traditional age as our economy shifts and people retool their lives.

“It has been exciting to provide an entry into the resources of the college to individuals in the community,” she said.

Awards

Nancy served as president of the Florida Displaced Homemaker Network from 1991-1994; was awarded the 1999 Elizabeth Cady Stanton award; named a 2003 Woman of Distinction and 2004 Florida Social Worker of the Year; and in April, was recognized with Santa Fe’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Retirement plans

“I have things I want to do such as gardening and cleaning out closets and actually spending time cooking some of the recipes I’ve been collecting,” Nancy said. “I’d like to spend more time on my domestic goddess duties, and reading on my color Nook–anywhere! Walking and self care are going to be  high priorities. I plan to be outside more, kayaking and fishing. We love the water — any kind of water.”

She also plans to continue volunteering at her church, Westminster Presbyterian, and for community organizations such as the Gainesville Area Women’s Network.

And of course, she’ll have more time for family. Nancy’s husband, Wayne (in the photo), a counselor at UF, plans to retire next summer. Their daughter Heather and husband Bill live in Bonita Springs and Nancy’s 90-year-old mom, Reggie, lives in Gainesville.

Nancy and Wayne are in the process of enthusiastically “Apple-izing,” as they call it. She has a new iPhone and she’s ordered an iPad2 and is shopping for a new Macintosh laptop — an exciting distraction as she closes this chapter of her life.

“I can’t imagine 25 years have gone by,”  she said, “but we see our graduates everywhere. I can’t go shopping or to a game without bumping into someone I know.”

Thank you for your service, Nancy!