Student Spotlight: Nancy Hemphill
Major: Associate in Arts
As one of College of DuPage’s first students in 1967, Nancy Hemphill remembers when classes were held all around DuPage County.
“I was at Maryknoll Seminary for math, where if it rained, we were walking in deep water and mud; the Lisle High School gym; 799 W. Roosevelt Road, which was the bookstore; Glen Ellyn B.R. Ryall YMCA; Downers Grove North and South, where I had a typing class; and the National College of Chiropractic, where I took biology,” she said. “We registered at the Swim and Tennis Club on Butterfield Road east of Route 53. That’s why we are called the Chaparrals, because we were on the road running everywhere. It was also important to have a good car.
“Then the temporary buildings were built, and I loved those facilities. I took a French class in a mobile facility that’s near where the campus greenhouse is now.”
Her first class in the fall of 1967 was English Composition 101. Hemphill also met her husband at COD, and two days before their first anniversary, in 1971, he earned his Associate in Applied Science in Foodservice Administration and she earned her Associate in Arts.
But this was only the beginning of Hemphill’s association with College of DuPage, which would span nearly 50 years. She continued taking classes – “Career Development” in 1981; “Learning Disabilities” in 1989, which she could apply to her then-job at North Central College; and “Abnormal Psychology” in 1990 to prepare for graduate school.
Taking “New Directions for Women” in 1982 gave Hemphill the confidence to embark on her bachelor’s degree.
“It was the most important class I ever took and made a terrific impact on my life,” she said. “It affirmed me. It gave me the impetus to go on and achieve goals that I didn’t dare even dream about before.”
Hemphill, who earned a master’s in Counseling Psychology from Benedictine University, returned to COD as an employee, working part-time as an instructor (teaching “New Directions for Women” among other classes) and a counselor for more than 24 years.
“It was always great to go to the high schools when the new class schedules came out to provide assistance to students who did not normally have easy access to a college counselor,” she said. “It was especially great to get back to Downers Grove North or Downers Grove South where I took COD classes.”
For the implementation of a job shadowing program at COD, Hemphill received the National Council on Student Development Exemplary Program Award for 1997-98. She also was named Outstanding Part-Time Advisor at COD for 2015-2016.
Now retired, she fondly remembers her time at College of DuPage.
“COD played a significant role in my life,” she said. “It provided my education as well as that of my husband, who I met there. I worked with great faculty and support staff and made lasting friendships. I met with so many great students over the years, a number of whom have checked back with me frequently while students at College of DuPage. It’s a great school with a strong sense of community.
“A phrase I shared with many students I worked with is, ‘It is better to take a slow boat to success, rather than a fast boat to failure.’ I have been on a lifelong boat to education, and I am still learning.”
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