Previously published in the 2019 Ouachitonian yearbook
When Tracey Knight moved into Cone-Bottoms dormitory in 1981, she never dreamed that 36 years later she would be walking up its front steps to work every day. For her, Ouachita was a good life. It was home.
Knight returned to Arkadelphia in 1989 when her husband, Dr. Tim Knight, now dean of the Patterson School of Natural Sciences, was offered a position teaching biology. After 11 years as a stay-at-home mom, she began working in the Pruet School of Christian Studies, where she served for 17 years as the dean’s secretary.
“My deans, Dr. Scott Duvall and Dr. Danny Hays, are the most Christ-like men,” said Knight. “They always treated me as an important part of the ministry team in Berry.”
From coordinating student degree plans to planning events to supervising student workers, Knight’s favorite aspect was the time spent with students. As she reminisced about the amazing people that came through Berry Bible Building over the years, she said there would be days when she would think, “How in the world did I get to work in a place like this? It’s one of God’s many graces to me, and it was my blessing, honor and privilege to be associated with all things Pruet.”
In January of 2017, President Ben Sells announced the retirement of the long-time president’s assistant, Charolette Allison. This opportunity sparked Knight’s interest, so after several long discussions with her husband, she decided to apply. Knight received the offer and began the transition from Berry to Cone-Bottoms.
“Charolette was the most gracious lady,” said Knight. “I now realize how busy she was, so I appreciate even more the time she took in training me. She gave me the wonderful gift of knowing that she was in my corner.”
As executive assistant to the president, Knight made some adjustments. First, in moving from a part-time to a full-time position, she’s grown more adept at time management and prioritizing what is most important to be accomplished in a day – not just at the office, but at home as well.
Working in the president’s office allows Knight to view the teamwork of Ouachita from a campus-wide perspective.
“It’s easy to see things only from your window,” said Knight. “So to watch the part that each person plays for a student’s experience – from the first recruiting contact to commencement to alumni relations – that’s really cool.”
Two groups of people that Knight especially enjoys working with are the Board of Trustees and President Ben Sells and his wife.
“Ben and Lisa Sells are patient, gracious and extremely kind people,” said Knight. “I’m grateful God brought them to Ouachita. We are better for it.”
In her service at Ouachita, Tracey Knight makes an impact. Her time in Berry was filled with ministry to Pruet students and faculty. During her time in Cone-Bottoms, Knight loves getting to be behind the scenes. Whether it’s planning an event for her co-workers or making sure the president has what he needs for daily meetings, she hopes her role makes Ouachita better.
“I was reminded of this when I sat at Charolette Allison’s funeral service last year because she did this so well,” she said. “I can be efficient and excellent at my tasks – and I want to do that – but when people walk away from our office, I want them to feel appreciated and encouraged.”
By Alec Edmonds
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