Lonette Stoddard, the Department of Mathematics department secretary, hates the spotlight.
“I really don’t like getting up in front of people,” Stoddard said. “I’m not an award kind of a person. It was nice for the deans to come over and give me the gift card, but I’m boring—nothing fancy; I’m just a workhorse.”
Stoddard’s influence, however, is unquestionable. She recently received a Service Award at the College Awards Banquet to commemorate her thirty years of university service in the department.. Stoddard has seen it through its ups and downs in those years.
“When I first started working here we had one printer—a dot matrix,” Stoddard said. “When we finally got computers they were these old clunky things. We thought they were the greatest things since sliced bread. When we got a Macintosh for the first time, we loved it.”
Stoddard had intended on working at the math department for only a few years. Once she started there, however, she fell in love with the atmosphere and the people who she worked with.
“I remember it was only going to be a temporary thing when I started working,” Stoddard said. “But mathematicians are a pretty entertaining bunch; they’re never boring. They’ve always been very supportive and kind. They are more like my family than anything else.”
Having worked in the department for many years, Stoddard has seen technology, students, and even faculty, come and go. The turnover is difficult, but Stoddard is just happy to associate with all of them.
“It’s hard to see all of these faculty members that I have worked with for years retire and pass on, but it’s fun seeing all the new faculty come in who I saw going to school here as undergrads,” Stoddard said. “They are just a great bunch, and I love them, literally, because they are my family now. Just knowing them makes me a better person.”
Stoddard is excited to continue working with the math department in the next few years and grateful for the opportunity to work at BYU.
“I feel privileged to work at BYU,” Stoddard said. “It’s like one of our former department chairs said, ‘It’s like a mission, but you get paid for it.’ That’s made it a lot more enjoyable for me. I feel like maybe I am making a difference somehow, not just in an academic sense, but in a spiritual sense as well, and that’s been a real blessing to me.”