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Remembering Debbie Nutt

NuttpicMatt Benoit

Horizon Reporter

When Debbie Nutt was acting as Activity Director for Whatcom’s Title III grant some years ago, she designed and implemented hands-on training for faculty and staff, which included helping them design their own Web sites. One faculty member, in picking a background for her site that she really liked, soon found out the background she’d picked was actually an “illegal plant.”

“Debbie, in her real subtle way, mentioned that there were lots of backgrounds to choose from and never made this individual feel embarrassed,” said Becky Rawlings, human resources director, in a written remembrance she was to give at Nutt’s memorial service on Oct. 31. “She was so professional and provided options that were much more appropriate.”

Nutt, who most recently worked as associate registrar at Whatcom, died from cancer on Oct. 21 at age 59. She was remembered by those who knew and worked with her as a kind and professional woman.

“She was a quiet leader who was extremely focused,” said Rawlings. “Any project that she was given to do, she met the challenges. When I talked to employees about Debbie, there was incredible consistency in describing her: classy, humble, quiet, modest, a great sense of humor, an excellent teacher and someone who could do anything.”

Mike Singletary, registrar, has worked at the college since 2008, and described Nutt as a coach, mentor, and teacher who had lots of patience and was “very supportive” to new staff, he said. “She was a great resource because she had worked in different areas on the campus.”

Nutt started at Whatcom as a business student in 1984, and began working for the college as a business lab assistant in 1986 while continuing her studies at both Whatcom and Western, Rawlings said.

She worked as an instructional technician in the business lab before taking her first full-time position with Whatcom in 1989 as activity director of a Title III grant, which she worked on with Judy Hoover.

In 2002, Nutt became the Associate Enrollment and Information Services Director, and had worked as Associate Registrar since 2006.

“She was a very wonderful person,” said Vivian Hallmark, who knew Nutt for 20 years and worked with her in the registration office. “Classy lady, professional—treated students, faculty, and staff all the same—very helpful to all of them. She wrote down everything, and made things very easy for people to learn.”

Hallmark said that she and Nutt would often talk about their children, who were about the same ages, as well as baking.

“Debbie was a great baker,” she said, adding that Nutt used to bake pies with her husband for several area restaurants, including The Cliff House, as a side business venture. Hallmark also touched on how knowledgeable Nutt was in the advancement of technology at the college, working with the Title III grant and also helping work in the IT department on Web sites.

“It was really nice working with her,” she said. “It’s very hard to lose a person that has a lot of knowledge about the college, and it’s gonna be very hard to replace her.”


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