For nearly half of her 33 years at Pittsburg State University, Joan Cleland has served as administrative assistant to three university presidents.
It began with Dr. John Darling in 1996. From 1999 to 2009, it was Dr. Tom Bryant. Since 2009, it’s been current president Dr. Steve Scott.
Throughout that time, she’s experienced moments and memories that will last a lifetime.
Now, it’s time for a new adventure. Cleland has announced her retirement from PSU, effective June 21.
"Pittsburg State University is a wonderful place to work, and I will miss spending my days here,” Cleland said. “I will miss interacting with all the people every day. It's just time to take that big step, slow down and enjoy my family.”
Succeeding Cleland as assistant to the president will be Jaime Vanderbeck, who has spent the past seven years as assistant director of PSU’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies. She will assume her new role on June 10.
Vanderbeck, 32, is a PSU alum, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2003 with a bachelor of science in psychology. In 2005, she earned a master of business administration from PSU.
Vanderbeck said she is excited for the new challenge.
“Joan has done such an amazing job in this position, leaving me with some very large shoes to fill, but I'm excited to get started and so thankful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Vanderbeck said. “Every day, the university faces new challenges, new opportunities and new dreams for the future, and I look forward to contributing my skills and strengths to Dr. Scott and the university as a whole.”
As assistant to the president, Vanderbeck will be responsible for managing, directing and overseeing all aspects of administrative work for the President’s Office, including coordinating the president’s schedule. She will also be responsible for interacting with all university constituents, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, elected officials and friends of the university.
President Scott praised Cleland for her service to PSU and said he’s excited to work alongside Vanderbeck.
“Joan has been a tremendous asset to me and to Pittsburg State University during her 33 years here,” Scott said. “We’re definitely going to miss her, but we’re also very happy for her as she looks forward to retirement.
“We’re very excited to welcome Jaime to her new position,” Scott said. “She has done an outstanding job in the graduate office, and I’m eager to work with her in this new capacity. I know she will do a wonderful job.”
Cleland said she will work with Vanderbeck during the transition process.
“I know that Jaime will do a fine job in the President's Office at the university, and I will work with her to make that transition a smooth one,” she said.
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