McGovern leaves a lasting impression
By Joe O'Shea
Chatting with Terry McGovern is like paging through a good novel by the fireside. The more time spent with her, the more interesting she gets. Before long, you can't walk away. But, just as a recent visitor realized that he couldn't walk away, McGovern picked up and walked off into the North Waltham sunset, retiring on April 30 after 20 years at Bentley.
Blessed with an inner serenity, McGovern has a disarming presence that makes visitors feel instantly at ease. Although she's in her golden years, McGovern's vitality can rival that of any teenager.
McGovern's Bentley career began by accident. Her sister, Anne-Marie, had interviewed for a part-time job at the college as a facilities coordinator, but never expected to get the job. When she did, she decided a part-time position wasn't worth the Canton-to-Waltham commute, and suggested that Terry take it instead. Terry, who had been a happy homemaker for years, wasn't terribly excited about the idea, but Anne-Marie talked her into it.
Twenty years later, McGovern feels that it was a good move. At the time, her three sons -- Terry Jr., Gerry and Joe -- were well on their way to adulthood, and her husband, Terry, worked full time at Raytheon in Lexington. It was a perfect fit. She only had to work five months of the year, so she was home for her sons during the summer. McGovern didn't have a driver's license at the time, and lived about a mile from the Bentley campus, so she walked to work each day.
For 19 years she oversaw the Office of Career Services' recruitment area. She acted as a surrogate mother for many students as they met corporate recruiters.
"I made sure that the students straightened out their ties and that they were well-prepared for the interview," she remembered. "I used to receive feedback from the recruiters." She also befriended many a recruiter, and was often one of the first Bentley people to welcome a recruiter to the campus.
"I can honestly say that the thing I enjoyed most about Bentley
was the interaction with the students and the recruiters," said
McGovern, who grew up in Mission Hill, then an Irish-Catholic enclave
in Roxbury, before moving to Waltham with her husband in 1959. "I
never met a recruiter that I didn't like. One of the most enjoyable
parts of this job was seeing students who come back to
When not servicing students and recruiters, McGovern, an avid walker, befriended many while pounding the pavement during her lunch break. "I have nothing but good memories of Bentley," she said. "The people were great."
For Bentley, it's a good thing that first impressions aren't lasting ones for Terry. "I was angry when Bentley took our woods," McGovern said with a wry smile.
Bentley's move to Waltham was proof that times change, a fact not lost on McGovern. She eventually acquired her driver's license about eight and a half years ago, shortly before her husband passed away at age 64. "I've been very, very blessed in life with a great husband," said Terry. "He was the best that God ever made. He was my best friend."
Since her husband's death, McGovern's driver's license has been a passport
to new activities. McGovern volunteers at the Meadowgreen Nursing Home
on Trapelo Road. She acts as a homebound minister, taking holy communion
to the Meadowgreen residents unable to attend Mass at Our Lady, Comforter
of the Afflicted Roman Catholic Church. She also sits on Our Lady's
parish council. With her newfound extra time, she plans to act as an
altar server for funeral Masses and other Masses during the day, when
young altar servers are in school. "I love that
McGovern gives new meaning to the term "adult learner." About a year ago, she was reassigned to the Office of Career Services' graduate office and asked to learn computer skills. Now she's hooked. She plans on buying a computer for her house this fall. "I had never in my life turned on a computer, but I love it now," said McGovern, who has taken numerous computer training sessions at Bentley.
"She's been charming recruiters for 20 years," said Vice President for Student and Administrative Services Bob Minetti. "She has a broad-faced grin that just lights up everyone around her. Her retirement is a big loss for the college."
Copyright 1990-present Joe O'Shea, Jr.