For nearly 25 years, Marge Petteys greeted students at the dining hall, swiping their Hill Cards and forming special connections. The “Hamilton Mom” to countless students retired on Sept. 22.
Marge Petteys
Marge Petteys celebrates a new group of Hamiltonians during Orientation 2019. Photo: Nancy L. Ford

“Whenever you spot a student struggling with a personal problem or simply having a bad day, you are always there with a smile, a hug, or to listen and offer advice,” noted the citation presented to her in 2008 upon receiving the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. “And if a student comes through the door with the slightest hint of a cold, you are quick to reach into your ready supply of cough drops.”

We captured some moments from her last day at Hamilton in this video and invite you to share a Marge Memory.

Share A Memory



What a truly special human! Marge, you made us all feel like we were your kids; checking in, always ready with a hug and words of encouragement. Thank you for being a part of the Hamilton experience for me and so many. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement and know that you made a difference for so many! Thank you!!! — Avery Johnson Amante  ’00

Marge noticed I couldn’t afford warm clothing and shoes. She greeted me all the time and told me I would get sick if I didn’t dress warmer. I told her I didn't have warmer clothing and a week later she gave me a bag of brand new clothes and 2 new pairs of shoes. She is so kind, and I will never forget what she did. So happy that she will be resting and retiring, but Hamilton won’t be the same without her! Love DeJesus ’17

Thank you for everything Marge! Talking to you at Commons was always a highlight of my week, and I appreciate all how hard you worked to make students feel welcome. Enjoy your retirement! — Finlay    ’22

There has never been or ever will be another Hamilton employee quite like Marge Pettys on The Hill. If “kindness” was a department, Marge would be faculty chair.  What we didn't learn in the classroom, couldn't learn, was modeled for us by Marge in the Commons. Congratulations on a career well made and a life well lived and good luck and best wishes on the next chapter.  Many of us have travelled far from the Hill but Marge will always hold a special place in our hearts.  We Love You Marge! — David Gaynes ’99

What a gem Marge was!! She’ll be a hard act to follow! Congratulations on your retirement Marge! Enjoy it, and remember how many lives you touched with your smile. <3 — Jeannine (Madow) Lawless   ’04

I’m hoping this message makes it’s way to you Marge. You have thousands of students to remember, so you won’t remember us all by name, but we all remember you. Heck, my parents from Niagara Falls Ontario will never forget your name. They would make the drive up the hill for most home Hockey weekends. When it was time after morning warm-up skate to get a snack, I’d ask them where we could go for lunch, and they would always reply “we gotta go see Marge in Commons”. You were a part of our daily routine, and are forever in our fondest memories. Enjoy retirement and all the love the universe owes you in this next chapter of your life. — Jeff Corey ’04

I graduated many years ago and would never, ever forget Marge!  What a special person at Hamilton.  Best wishes to Marge.  You have impacted so many people for so many years.  I hope you get to sit and relax now!  Thank you! — Liz ’99

I remember Marge as a warm, caring, and stalwart presence who made me feel at home. She was part of my Hamily. I wish her all the best in her retirement! — Sara Conklin ’01

Marge, it seems like yesterday (but really 21 years ago) you were kind, personal, friendly with me and everyone I knew of saw. You treated each of us like we were family. Thank you for your kindness and role modeling what it means to be a good human. You are a special part of Hamilton. — Seth O’Bryan   ’01

Marge exemplified the best that Hamilton had to offer. She saw hundreds of faces every day, but she would always greet me with a smile, remember who I was, and ask about my friends and family. She gave excellent advice and encouragement when I needed it most. Happy retirement, Marge! — McKinley Brumback ’14

Marge - we love you and will never forget your presence at Hamilton! You made every day so special for me! — Jaclyn Zingman ’18

Marge always looked out for the athletes coming in for late dinner. She greeted the swim team with loving admonishment when we would arrive with frozen wet hair and hand us hats if we didn’t have them. And, when I returned to campus nearly years later to visit my brother she genuinely REMEMBERED me. It was such a touching “welcome home” moment for me. — Amanda Cornaglia ’01

Marge has the remarkable ability to make everyone feel special. She seems to remember every detail about a person — something that I’ve tried to emulate in my career as a teacher. She once remembered that I loved swing dancing and brought me a bag of dancing shoes when she heard I didn’t have any. Thanks for keeping me dancing, Marge! — Lindsay ’12

During orientation week at Hamilton, Marge approached a friend and me in Commons. I’m sure she sensed that we were scared first-years trying to find our home in the Hamilton community. She immediately asked us where we were from and welcomed us to the college. When I told Marge where I was from, she was shocked and said to me that she has friends and family who live in my hometown. We began discussing some of the landmarks of my area, and it was evident that she genuinely cared about making us feel welcome on campus. Although some may call it coincidental, Marge was the first of many people at Hamilton to demonstrate how appreciative and compassionate our community is. This interaction pushed me to embrace the discomfort of the transition to college and to recognize what a small world we live in, despite our incredible diversity and differences. — Shey Sanges

Marge played an influential role in my decision to apply to Hamilton with the binding, early decision application. My parents and I went to commons after completing a campus tour and Marge was so kind and curious that I pretty much made up my mind right there. I wanted to be at the kind of campus where that sort of friendly attitude permeated.
— Hunter

Marge asked students to send her postcards during their semester abroad, and told me that her grandchildren loved to see them hanging on her fridge. Sweet, spunky, and fiercely protective of the students, Marge will be greatly missed!
— Alexei Smith

My first year at Hamilton when I was struggling to find my place, Marge was one of the first people to make me feel loved and cared for in the community. One cold day when I walked in to Commons she gave me gloves and shared a personal story and I still wear them to this day and think about how grateful I am for her. — Riley

Related News

retiring profs june 2022

Four Faculty – With Combined 152 Years of Service to Hamilton – Retire

Hamilton salutes four distinguished members of the faculty who retired this year after a combined 152 years of service to the College.

 Sarah Goldstein and Larry Bender

Thanks for the mango brie paninis, caffeine, memories

Co-managers Larry Bender and Sarah Goldstein remember traveling into town for ice every morning and keeping extra supplies in their car during the first days of Café Opus. Some 26 years later, the much beloved coffeehouse has grown — its original location below McEwen Dining Hall expanded and Opus 2 snug within the Taylor Science Center atrium since 2005 — and the café has developed a cult following among students, alumni, faculty, and staff alike.

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search