By Holden Sandal
After 33 years of service, 69-year-old Jan Adams, Whatcom Community College’s Cooperative Education & Internships Coordinator, is retiring at the end of fall quarter.
Adams has spent 33 years helping kids get internships outside the college as well as helping kids get jobs for off campus work study.
Adams started at Whatcom in 1984, when it was “the college without walls” she said.
“My office was downtown above the Bon Marche building. It was amazing, I had a great location, so I didn’t have to travel far and had a great view,” Adams said.
Adams said she will always live by what she calls the Whatcom Way.
“If you’re not here for the kids, than you shouldn’t be hear at all,” Adams said. “My heart will always be here at Whatcom.”
Before Whatcom, Adams spent eight years with the Washington State Employment and Training office, and before that three years with the Keystone County Public Schools as a Secondary education teacher.
“I learned so much from both those jobs,” Adams said. “My supervisor with the state was amazing, we had so much fun together.”
It was on a horseback camping trip in Eastern Washington that Adams got the job offer for Cooperative Education & Internships Coordinator at Whatcom. Her friend Susan, who had the job at the time, told her she should take the job.
“I hadn’t even thought about doing this before she offered me the job, I had just left my job with the state and was thinking about traveling to Europe, I had everything but the ticket,” Adams said. “But then when I heard what I would be doing for the kids, I knew it was the right job for me.”
Now facing retirement, Adams is thinking about finally taking some time to travel to Europe, she said.
“For so many years this is all I’ve known, and it still seems very strange to be leaving it all, “Adams said. “I think I will miss the kids and all my friends in Entry and Advising the most.”
Adams said she has been preparing for retirement for some time.
“I come from a family of planners,” Adams said. “Both of my parents knew what they wanted to do long before they retired, my sister did as well.”
“It’s kind of ironic, when I was a kid my dad had a collection of 33 and 1/3 jazz records that he would listen to, and now I’m retiring after 33 and 1/3 years so I thought that was kind of funny,” Adams said.
Longtime friends and colleagues, Beth Tyne and Julie Haggen, both said they will miss her smiling face at Whatcom.
“I’ve learned so much from Jan, I just hope I can live up to her,” Tyne said.
There will be a retirement party for Adams on Nov. 29 at the WCC Foundation Building from 3-5 P.M.