“People go through their entire lives without having a co-worker as good as Sherida – much less a boss,” said Dan Membiela, coordinator of student records at WMU-Cooley Law School.
Sherida Wysocki recently retired from a 30-year career as Registrar and Assistant Dean at WMU-Cooley. Ask anyone at the school about their favorite memory of Sherida and you get a brief silence as their brain locks up from the multitude of accolades colliding to gain voice at the same time.
“A favorite memory would be her calmness,” said Robin Benson, enrollment student services specialist. “She mastered how to deal with all types of students, co-workers and employees.”
“She was an incredible worker,” Membiela recalled.
“I don’t know anyone like her,” said Amy Timmer, associate dean of students and professionalism. “She has friends all over the country who would do anything for her.”
With a quick smile, endless patience, and a legendary sense of humor, Wysocki made loyal lifelong friends, solved complex problems with aplomb on a daily basis, and inspired students and colleagues alike to do their best.
Wysocki became the Registrar at WMU-Cooley on April 30, 1984. In 1999, she was made an Assistant Dean. She says she never really thought about the longevity of her tenure with WMU-Cooley. “If you enjoy what you’re doing and like the people, it’s a daily part of who you are. It’s your family,” she explained.
She shepherded her department through some monumental changes, staffing the office with student-focused professionals, weighing in on the office design when the Cooley Center opened to maximize efficiency, and overseeing the move to online registration.
Unflappable as always, Wysocki had a go-with-the-flow approach to the various office changes. She was always more focused on the students and met with them on nearly a daily basis. Until a few years ago, Wysocki did all the academic counseling for students, and she worked closely with students going through some significant challenges.
“My greatest accomplishment was being able to help the students,” Wysocki recalled. “You can make a difference in someone’s life.” She saw many progressions of struggle, adjustment, and success. She treasures the emails she received from students letting her know they had made it through a hurdle, or notes sharing that they’d made the Dean’s List, and more.
Timmer said she was often impressed by how focused and caring Wysocki was with students. “She would take them to task if they needed it, but she would do whatever she could for them.”
It was also important to Sherida to be a good co-worker. “I hope I’ve been a good colleague,” she said. “That’s important, too — to be caring, congenial, and helping, to smile and have a good sense of humor. I’ve been fortunate to hire people with a good sense of humor.”
Wysocki’s own sense of humor was the reason Membiela joined Cooley rather than another school he was interviewing with at the same time. “Sherida laughed, and had me laughing through the entire interview,” Membiela recalled.
“The best thing about working with Sherida,” Benson recalled, “was her kind and caring way, her thoughtfulness. She sincerely cared about her co-workers and employees in every way.”
Wysocki is reveling in her new retired lifestyle where she can make the artistic endeavors she’s pursued over the years into the primary focus of her day. Already known for her jewelry work, Wysocki has more recently immersed herself in glass work, mixed media, batik, watercolors, collage work, and more. Her first glasswork was accepted into a juried show, displayed in a place of prominence in the gallery, and sold, in the term before she retired.
Now wintering in Florida, Wysocki has signed up for art workshops, discovered the artsy area in St. Pete, and is actively pursuing art. She identifies herself as an artist now and is excited about what the future holds for her in this new arena. “Ultimately, my dream is to have a place where I can have my own studio/workshop.” There she can pursue her passions in jewelry, collage work, mixed media, and glass work, and get a kiln and explore that medium as well.
Her colleagues wish her well and know she’ll continue to find success. “She is so creative,” Benson said. “That woman has some serious artistic talent and ability.”
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