Singleton to retire after 35 years

Harriet Singleton addresses the audience after receiving the Maxine Swanson Award from the Womens Commission in March. She will retire this month after 35 years of service.
Harriet Singleton addresses the audience after receiving the Maxine Swanson Award from the Womens Commission in March. She will retire this month after 35 years of service.
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Harriet Singleton will take a lot of Grand Valley history with her when she retires this month.

Singleton, senior counselor for the Counseling and Career Development Center, joined Grand Valley in 1977. When she arrived, she was one of four staff members in the Counseling Center; there are now more than 20 people working there.

“That’s what strikes me the most,” Singleton said. “We used to be so small, you knew everyone and had a relationship with nearly everyone.”

Singleton came to Grand Valley with a background in diversity training. She started the center’s multicultural seminar, held annually for area counselors and other professionals. Last year marked the event’s 15th straight year.

She was also instrumental in establishing Positive Black Women, a group of faculty and staff members who began meeting regularly for lunch in the mid-1990s. 

“We started with brown bag lunches, about five of us. Over time, we talked about collecting dues and then discussion centered on what to do with the money. Then we decided to give scholarships,” Singleton said.

PBW celebrated its 11th year of awarding scholarships in March at the Celebrating Women Awards ceremony. “That is something I hope continues,” she said.

A retirement party for Singleton is set for Friday, April 20, from 3-5:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Thornapple Room. Remarks will begin at 3:45 p.m.

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