Campus News

Gribbin’s ‘genuine love for people’ remembered by students and faculty

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Jane Hogue, the administrative assistant in Student Development, can confirm it. Kathy Gribbin’s cookies really were that good. Gribbin was the Vice President for Life Calling and Student Enrichment at Bethel College, and she passed away after a three-year battle with cancer on Feb. 6, 2013. The pleasant memories of days spent with Hogue did not. “Relationships with people was the most important thing in her life,” Hogue said. Gribbin, who according to Hogue had a knack for good conversation and good cooking, was a freshman at Bethel College in 1972. Hogue said her first recollection of Gribbin was that she was “the girl who was always crying,” because she was homesick. Hogue also felt homesick at the beginning of the year, so one day she made the trip down her hallway on the third floor of Shupe Hall and asked Gribbin if she was okay. The conversation kindled a long friendship. “We became very, very, very good friends,” Hogue said. Hogue added that Gribbin’s room was “the party room,” and that sometimes the girls would get pretty noisy. “She was kind of the ring leader of us on the third floor,” Hogue said. “She just made friends so fast.” Hogue and Gribbin stayed friends for all four years of college and beyond. Gribbin was “instrumental” in getting Hogue a job in Student Development when she wanted to put her first child through college. “She was my boss,” Hogue said. “Before that she was my very, very good friend.” Hogue has since put all three of her children through college, and despite her relationship taking on a more professional demeanor, her and Gribbin’s friendship never waned. According to Hogue, Gribbin’s love for social gatherings caused her to have big dinner parties at her house, and she would “go all out.” Her favorite time was Christmas, and she would begin making platters of Christmas cookies as early as August. She enjoyed no less than seven Christmas trees at her home, Hogue said, each with a different theme. Hogue could readily recall both a cat-themed tree, and a diva-themed tree. Perhaps most special to Hogue were the conversations she shared with Gribbin. “She had a gift for making people feel that they were important to her,” Hogue said. “She could get things out of you that you didn’t really want to share.” Hogue said that she believes Gribbin will be remembered most for “her laugh and her genuine love for people.” In fact, that’s exactly what one student already remembers Gribbin for. “There was a time last spring I ran into her across campus and she asked me how I was, and what my majors were, and just how my life was going for real,” senior Kaitlin McLaughlin said. “She cared about me the person, and not just me the student, and it really meant a lot to me. She was very encouraging." Gribbin, who had a Ph.D. and was named Bethel College’s first female vice president, had an eventful career. But perhaps her impact is best said through the words of a close friend. “I’ll really miss her,” Hogue said.
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