“I didn’t own a coat…”
She’s at freshmen orientation when you arrive at Union College. She’s at the ASB events you attend on the weekends. Her emails greet you in the morning, surprise you in the afternoon, and bum you out during the winter (give us a snow day!). Maybe she’s taught you in class, called you into her office about those missing worship credits or just asked how your day is. She is Linda Becker.
“I received the call to come to Union College and interview. I didn’t own a coat, so I stopped at my mom’s in California and borrowed one before going on to Nebraska.” Becker was living in Hawaii at the time (hence her coatlessness). A single mother of two, Becker was looking to move.
“My kids were nearing the high school age, and I was looking to get a new job on the mainland.” She had five job offers to choose from, but Becker eventually settled on Union College to work as academic dean. “I loved the atmosphere of Union. The school was friendly and inviting. It had to be that, because I don’t know why anyone would choose to live in this cold, god-forsaken place,” she joked.
So Linda Becker came to Union College. But that’s only the first time.
“I began work on my doctorate, and around that time I got a call to go up to Andrew’s University. So I went and spent five years there.” She then received an invitation from former president David Smith to come back to Union. “After that call I came back and have been here the last fourteen years.”
Commonly associated with ASB, Linda Becker’s job entails much more than weekend events or making sure we get our worship credits. “My primary focus is student life outside the classroom.”
Becker leads many different areas related to student life on campus, including security, health and worships. Oftentimes she does not go home until 10 or 11 at night. How does she do it? When does she sleep?
“I couldn’t run all these things alone. We have a wonderful team that handles these areas and reports to me.” And as far as sleep is concerned: “I get my rest, but I do different things to stay healthy. I exercise in the morning, and I do my devotions.”
Linda Becker doesn’t work so hard for the pay. She does it for the students. “You couldn’t do this kind of job for the paycheck. It’s a lot of work. I love the kids. I love college students.” And it is this love that drives Becker. It is her ministry.
“All the staff here work to make Union a safe place so that students can grow not only academically but spiritually as well.” That is why Becker works closely with Campus Ministries to provide students with a spiritually vibrant campus that also encourages personal responsibility.
“We have a much different model than other universities and colleges,” Becker explained. “We don’t fine people for missing worships. The worst is that you have to come see me, which isn’t that scary.”
Becker’s primary focus is to minister to students and show Christ to them. And she’s always open to hearing from us. “We have an open door policy. We want to hear from students to know what we could do better.”
Feel free to stop by Linda Becker’s office and make a suggestion, or just say hi to one of the people who keeps this campus running smoothly.
Slade is a senior studying language arts education.