President Ashley to Retire After Nine Years of Service

Posted on October 26, 2010 by


Photo by Hannah Brackley

By Chrissy Kenney

Editor- in- Chief

In her elegantly decorated office located on the second floor of the Administration building, President Janelle Ashley sat at her sizeable desk, donning a patriotic red pantsuit and expensive-looking jewelry.

“I have enjoyed all my work.  Now, I want to have more time with our families,” she said, referring to her and her husband’s three children and nine grandchildren.

At the completion of this school year, Ashley will retire after nine years as Worcester State’s President.  She has been a prominent figure in education for approximately 48 years.

Her career began in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she taught high school accounting for two years.  After earning her doctorate from the University of North Texas, she became a Business professor at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU), the school where she had earned her undergraduate and Master’s degrees.  She taught management courses for three years before becoming the Vice President of Academic Affairs at SFASU, a position Ashley held for nine years.  She became Worcester State’s President in 2002.

About her transition from SFASU to Worcester State, Ashley said she thought the two schools were similar, both focusing on providing students with a valuable education.  When she first began working here, she said she was excited about the opportunity to learn about the higher education system in Massachusetts.   She described her experience at Worcester State as a positive one.

“I’ve worked with great people on this campus,” Ashley said.

Ashley described how much has changed at Worcester State since she started at the former college, such as its recent change to University status.  She recalled the grand opening of Wasylean Hall, the parking garage, and the new addition to Dowden.  She proudly remembers the renovations of the Administration and Sullivan buildings.

“It’s wonderful to see the campus, to see the things we have been able to bring about,” Ashley said.

She spoke fondly of a time when the President and her husband Ray, a retired manager of Moore Business, accompanied the Worcester State Chorale on their trip to Greece a few years ago.

Ashley hopes to travel more once she has retired.  She plans to move back to Texas, where two of her three children currently reside.  She seemed excited about her upcoming move, but emphasized that she hopes to remain involved with the campus after her retirement.

Ashley did not hide her affection for Worcester State, and she especially recognizes the quality of students that she has seen.

“I like to see our students excel,” she said.  “They’re wonderful on this campus.”

When the class of 2011 graduates this May, President Ashley will be saying goodbye to Worcester State University as well.  While she has big plans for her retirement, the campus can expect to hear from her in the upcoming years.

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