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University News

Free Coffee, Croissants for Cadets,
Courtesy of Carol and Her Pal Bill
by Paula Selleck


May 27, 2003

TSU Starbucks supervisor Carol Wise greets ROTC cadets
TSU Starbucks supervisor Carol Wise greets ROTC cadets, from left, Leonard Cruz, Jason Canty, Ryan Kam and Christian Gregoire – all students in the university’s Military Science Program and recipients of her good cheer.

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When ROTC cadets in full dress uniform escorted honorees to the stage at last month’s Vision & Visionaries event at the Grand Californian, most attendees looked on with admiration.

At least one admirer in the ballroom knew the cadets’ names.

Carol Wise recognized Rupali Tilve and Christy Stewart as they strode past her table. She knows them as patrons of Starbucks in the Titan Student Union, where she supervises the crew and greets customers by name.

“These kids represent us, and here on campus they do it so well,” she said.
That night at V&V, she talked with her companion about how she wished she could offer the students in uniform a free cup of coffee, as a gesture of appreciation.

“I’d sponsor that,” her escort offered. “I’d contribute $500.”

A few weeks later, University Advisory Board member William J. McGarvey had written a check for $1,000 – which is underwriting more than a cup of coffee for the 80 cadets in the university’s Military Science Program.

Each received a special Titan Card, which can be used during the month of May for $12 worth of goodies at any Titan eatery, including cappuccino and croissants at Starbucks, thanks to Wise and McGarvey.

“This was Carol’s doing,” said the longtime university supporter and retired Realtor, known around town for his many civic efforts and trademark red socks. “She’s so proud of the students,” he said, noting that the cadets distinguish themselves by their “carriage, discipline and courtesy.”

No stranger to that world, McGarvey left his job at Lockheed during World War II to enlist in the Navy and served for two years aboard an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. He shares Wise’s appreciation of the students’ willingness to serve their country.

“Let’s get this going,” he said, handing her the check.

Wise made the arrangements with Titan Card staffer Loan Nguyen, who cut in half the usual $1-per-card fee charged to produce the plastic currency. Wise couldn’t wait to give the cards to the commander of the university’s ROTC, Lt. Col. Chris Taddeo, who invited her to be an observer at a recent training session on combat water survival.

“She’s wonderful; she’s like your mother,” said Taddeo, who rounded up a group of cadets to pay her a thank-you visit at Starbucks.

A mother of two grown sons, Wise dotes on her four grandchildren, ages 6 to 16. The eldest, she’s proud to tell you, is ranked in the top 5 percent of her high school class and received a $1,000 scholarship. She beams when she talks about how her granddaughter has been tracked since seventh grade by university recruiters.

“I love education so much.” So much that she implores her grandchildren not to follow her example. Wise was 17 when her first child was born; years later she went back to school to earn a high-school equivalency certificate.

Working on a university campus surrounded by students energizes her. She likes to get out from behind the counter and walk between the tables, talking to customers and giving advice “whether they ask for it or not,” she says grinning.

“I just feel so good about these kids,” she adds, looking over at a group chatting on a Friday afternoon. “Without exception, I have a lot of fun with them.”

Just outside the Titan Student Union, passersby can see the flag decal Wise posted in the Starbucks window when the nation’s troops were deployed to Iraq.

As for the free coffee and other treats the ROTC cadets are enjoying this month: “I wanted them to know that someone appreciated what they do,” she said, folding up her apron at shift’s end.

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