Regina Johnson, staff assistant in the Dean of Students Office, has a keen sense of community, not only at Hamilton, but also in her hometown of New Hartford.
Regina’s major in college was education, but when she graduated and moved from North Carolina to Central New York, no teaching jobs were available. She started at Hamilton almost 21 years ago as a temp for an office assistant on maternity leave. When the position became vacant, Dean of Students Nancy Thompson offered her the job full time (July 1992), and she’s been in the same office ever since.
Regina fondly remembers her first year at Hamilton as one that was very busy, filled with duties of working several events, including Class & Charter Day and Commencement. She says that the Dean of Students Office can be chaotic and no two days are alike, although it follows the cycles of the academic year from orientation, to add/drop period, to helping international students adjust to life at Hamilton, etc. Regina particularly enjoys working with undergraduates and is a firm believer that, in the Division of Student Life, “we are here for the students.” She says they provide the “motivation, energy and creativity” for staff members to carry out their jobs and are a “great, diverse group of people.”
Regina’s college education came full-circle when she was asked to teach a step class and a cardio-kickboxing class at Hamilton’s fitness center after serving as a long-time sub. Teaching classes during the noon hour not only breaks up her day, but also provides an enjoyable experience for many returning class members. She doesn’t hide the fact that she believes everyone should make an effort to “serve the community when you are able.” Regina has served for three years as a charter member on the Staff Assembly Council, where she acted as secretary, and she continues to co-chair the Communications Committee. She is proud to be one of the staff members to bring back an electronic version of Around the Hill.
HamTrek is another community event in which Regina participates. She’ll join Anne Riffle, staff assistant for advising in the Office of the Registrar, and Mark Kinne, carpenter foreperson in Physical Plant, again this year as the swimmer on their relay team. Regina is excited that her son Nick, 19, will also swim in this year’s competition. She also has a 15-year-old daughter, Gianna, who plays field hockey and basketball. Regina and her fiancé, Edward, who lives in Syracuse, spend a lot of time going to games. They also enjoy quality time together doing outdoor activities such gardening, golfing and hiking, and they love to host dinner and card parties. She says they “make a mean cribbage team!”
Regina and Ed joke about being “from away” — he’s from Maine and she’s from North Carolina. She says that if she weren’t at Hamilton, she’d be in her home state, living near her parents in Greensboro and working for a non-profit. She keeps in close contact with friends and family back home and plans to one day retire and move back there — bringing Ed with her.
In the meantime in her current hometown of New Hartford, Regina contributes her time and energy to the AK5K run and walk, a domestic violence awareness event in honor of Alexandra Kogut, a family friend whose life was tragically cut short. Most of the proceeds benefit causes that would have touched Alex’s heart and serve as a testament to her eternal hope, grace and dignity. The event is held in the fall during most college breaks so that Alex’s friends can participate. Last year Regina rallied a group of runners and walkers from Hamilton to join the event. She said there were a lot of tears shed, for all the right reasons, and she was very proud of the Hamilton community represented there. This year’s run is set for October 12, and Regina would be happy to see you there — or at HamTrek, either participating in the events or cheering on other community members.