The One Who Runs the College

The Judson community might already be familiar with the words “she is the one who runs the college,” often said by Judson’s late president Dr. David Potts. That “she” is Mrs. Mary Ellen Clements, Potts’ longtime secretary.

Born and raised here in Marion, Ala., Clements has lived here her whole life. She is a mother of three daughters, and now she is a grandma of four girls and two boys.

Previously, Clements held a few part-time jobs at Marion Military Institute and a clothing department store in downtown Marion. Her first full-time job was in the library of Judson. In the summertime during her stint at the library, she worked in the development office because the library was closed during this time. After that, she served as a switchboard operator when Judson acquired a telephone system.

When she left this job, she worked outside of Judson for few years. However, in 1993 she came back to Judson as a secretary to the president. This is a position that she still holds today. She has been in the office for 25 years. If we also count the years when she was in library, she has served Judson for thirty years.

Throughout the years her favorite thing about Judson has been attending chapel. She explains, “Chapel service is very meaningful to me because I am able to stop to go and worship together with the community. It just helps me to get through the rest of the week.”

Her favorite memory of Judson, when Potts was still in the office, also includes the meaningful time when faculty and staff members have meetings in the president’s office. They always have an opportunity to share prayer requests, and they pray for each other before the meeting starts.

As a secretary to Potts, she scheduled his appointments and all the meetings that he had to attend. She was responsible for any of his correspondence, typing all of his letters to be mailed out to alumnae and other friends of the college. Her main responsibility was the communication between the college and the three boards of the college. The three boards include the Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors, and the Board of Governors that meet several times in a year.

She was responsible for sending out letters to them about meeting and preparing materials for them prior to that meeting day. When they actually come to campus, she sits in the meetings and takes notes. After each meeting, she types up her notes and mails them out to the board members.

In the past, she would also compile reports from each department into one big report and prepare it to mail out to the board members before they attended the meeting, so they had the report of activities at the college. When asked, her most trying time is when she prepares for their report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which accredits Judson. Since it is very important for the college to remain accredited, they have to be sure the report is perfect. They spend many hours compiling those reports, so this is the most stressful part of her job at Judson.

Clements’ responsibilities have changed since Potts’ absence in the office. For her, it’s been a totally different routine since she no longer has to complete these correspondences; other offices are handling these tasks now. However, she is still involved with board meetings.h

When Potts was here, she was much busier. She recalls about Potts that “He was a very good boss, very kind and considerate and very family oriented. I never had a problem if I had a sick family member and needed to be away from the office.”

She expounds on her favorite memory as a secretary to Potts for decades by saying, “My favorite memories are the times we were able to share our faith and personal stories together, God moments that we had each had, things that had happened to us when God answered our prayers. It is the time we shared our hearts together. I love when his grandchildren came in, and he was just all smiles, and when my grandchildren came in, he always smiled and just stopped to give time [for them].” Clements “wants Judson like, Dr. Potts always said, to be a place of Christ, that we would never veer from that mission and that we will be the place that our founders intended it to be.”

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