31 Years Later, a Degree Is in Sight

Administrative Coordinator Patti McCarthy Is Both Student and Staff Member

February 22, 2008

By Russ Hudson

Patti McCarthy expects to finish her bachelor’s degree in music this spring … nearly 31 years after she started her degree at Cal State Fullerton, and after realizing that one of her most satisfying times at the university was arranging commencement ceremonies.

Her relationship with the university, she points out, started when it was still the hippie era and the campus — which seemed huge to her then — was so much smaller than now.

Q: What was your first experience at Cal State Fullerton?
A: I arrived in 1977 as a student. Yes, more than 30 years ago. In 1977, we were still dealing with the hippie era. I was lost on this campus, which seemed so big then! And now, it’s even bigger.

Q: What was the first job you had at CSUF?
A: Campus police dispatcher in 1985. I worked on campus from 1985 to 1990, then left to raise my children. I returned to campus in 2005 as the dean’s assistant in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Since April, I’ve been the administrative support coordinator for the Department of Physics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: I enjoy being outdoors, camping, cycling. But, especially, I am a musician and love American folk style music and attend many folk music events.

Q: What is the last music CD you listened to?
A: Old Blind Dogs, a Scottish group. Mostly, they play traditional Scottish music, and they have a piper, but other genres of music are blended sometimes.

Q: Is Scottish food your favorite food to eat, then?
A: No, Mexican.

Q: What is your favorite food to cook?
A: None.

Q: What is the most fun time you’ve had in awhile?
A: The 2008 Monster Truck Jam in Anaheim Stadium. I’m not really a Monster Truck Jam kinda gal, but it was a lot of fun. I took my 18-year-old son and said to him, “Welcome to a different kind of entertainment!” We went because my husband went to the Jam to take some clients. It was a blast.

Q: If you couldn’t do the job you’re doing now, what would be your next choice?
A: Teaching – I love interacting with students.

Q: What was your best day here?
A: Coordinating my first commencement for Engineering and Computer Science and being able to watch our students graduate.

Q: What is the most valuable thing you have learned in your life?
A: People matter most, and to take care of loved ones around you.


Patti McCarthy
Patti McCarthy
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