These beloved employees retired from the Hilltop this year with more than 200 years of service among them. Here they share some of their fondest memories, and a few college secrets.

By Dennis Caron ’21
Photos by Jeff Dachowski, Kevin Harkins, Gil Talbot


Rosemary Stockpole
Rosemary Stockpole

Rosemary Stackpole

Director of Dining Services

How many years on the Hilltop?

42

 

Fondest memory:

So many fond memories, Christmas Feasts, Family Weekends, Senior Formals, Alumni Weekends, Crepe Nights, the Gingerbread House Contest construction nights—all the thought and work was always worth the successful outcomes and the tremendous appreciation the students and entire community always extended to me and my staff. One year, two alumni, a brother and a sister, arrived on campus for the Thanksgiving pies and cheesecake sale. They had made the trip a family tradition; however, we had already sold out upon their arrival. I saw they were upset and also remembered an administrator had asked to leave four pies aside to be picked up later. The administrator could not pick up the pies, so I decided to sell them to the family. I’ll never forget the reaction when I returned with four pies. The young woman started to cry, threw her arms around me, and gave me the biggest hug. They were so grateful that they were able to purchase four pies for their family.

 

What will you miss most?

The Benedictines and this beautiful campus, especially the lovely variety of trees throughout. Also, this most gracious community who has always shown such appreciation to all of us here in Dining. I always felt so special when one of the monks would stop by to say hello from time to time. Father Finbar, Father Bernard, and Father Jude were all so kind and caring. They would pop in to see me out of the blue and have me sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea with them, almost like they knew that it was what I needed at that moment.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The growth of the college and the addition of buildings throughout.

 

Fun fact?

I was hired in 1979 as the director of Cash Operations. The college was planning to renovate what was then the post office/pub building, and I was to be in charge of the Coffee Shop, the Pub, and catering. I started in July. About a month later, the administration decided it would be too costly of a project and decided instead to fix up the current Coffee Shop located in the basement of Alumni Hall. However, 12 years later, in 1991, the building’s renovation took place, and we opened what is now the Coffee Shop and Pub. Things often take a bit of time here on the Hilltop.

 


Don Moreau '80
Don Moreau '80

Don Moreau ’80

Physical Plant Director

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

40

 

Fondest memory?

When Abbot Mark (then Father Mark) offered me the job as director. I was ecstatic and yet not sure I was even qualified for the job. I had such pride in the school for many reasons, including the fact that both of my parents had previously worked at the college, I graduated from Saint Anselm in 1980, and my wife Diane and I were married in the Abbey Church. The Hilltop was a second home to me, and it has such a special place in my heart.

 

What will you miss most?

The people. Throughout the years, I had interactions with many great people on so many levels. I interacted with the college trustees, the monks, my staff, vendors, and, of course, the students. I developed a lot of friendships and memories, and that is something hard to let go.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The growth of the college.

 

Fun fact?

Being director of Physical Plant made me the Sexton of the Abbey, and so I had to sign off on the burial paperwork with the town of Goffstown each time we buried a monk. Back in 2005, when we buried Father Thaddeus, my reading glasses fell into the vault. Being 6 feet down, I decided to leave them, and so to this day, my readers are still with him.

 


Sam Allen
Sam Allen

Sam Allen

Director, Career Programs and Technology

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

38

 

Fondest memory?

Many of my fondest memories have to do with the monastic community and our students. When I first came to the college, you would see the monks wherever you were on campus. They were involved in every aspect of student life. I was able to work closely with them and developed a deep reverence for their vocation and respect for them individually. The monks represent everything good about Saint Anselm, and I am pleased to see that legacy continue today. I also had the privilege of helping our students define their career goals and plot strategies to achieve them. It was an honor to have so many students trust me with their hopes and dreams. It was incredible to watch their career trajectories and witness their contributions in the workplace and their communities.

 

What will you miss most?

The sense of community and our students. Many colleges talk about community, but few live it as fully as Saint Anselm. The entire campus, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and monks care deeply about this place and, consequently, care about each other. In this world of instability and turmoil, it was nice to know that you worked for a place with high values and ethics that carry over to personal interactions and college business across the campus.

 

Biggest change on campus?

During my career, I had a front-row seat and witnessed the evolution of the college we have today. When I first came here, only the interior campus existed. I have watched the physical campus expand to include the Uppers, Lowers, NHIOP, Sullivan Arena, Davison, LLC, Poisson, and the Welcome Center. I saw our excellent curriculum develop and be refined without sacrificing rigor or bending to the whims of constantly changing economies. I saw our reputation grow significantly, resulting in many national and regional rankings. I am very proud of the college and our work.

 

Fun fact?

For many years, I hosted a daily “Morning Meeting” in my office in the Cushing Center. The meeting became a place where staff from around the building would come to start their day, share personal stories about their vacations, hobbies, or families, seek out advice about challenging problems, or just laugh. Often we would have faculty, coaches, or monks join us. It reinforced our sense of community and made us better colleagues and student service providers. It helped to strengthen us as colleagues and friends.

 


Mark Desbiens
Mark Desbiens

Mark Desbiens

Carpenter, Foreman, and Locksmith

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

31

 

Fondest memory?
One of my fondest memories is spending time with Father Finbar in his waning years. He was such a great storyteller. Some were a little spicy in his language, but all were good. Also, his back-and-forth with his confreres was indeed one for the ages.

 

What will you miss most?

I will miss my co-workers and the monks.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The most significant change that I witnessed is the advent of social media.
 

Fun fact?

Every time I entered the monastery through the front door the statue of Saint Benedict would startle me. Every time.


Susan "Sue" E. Gagnon
Susan "Sue" E. Gagnon

Susan “Sue” E. Gagnon

Head of Periodicals

 

How many years on the Hilltop?
23 consecutive years, plus two years part-time from 1991-1993

 

Fondest memory?

I will never forget seeing all of the books being taken out of Geisel Library in December 1991 for the great renovation. I was amazed at how efficiently hundreds of thousands of library materials could be moved to various parts of campus, most of it being moved to the old Cushing Center. We still had the old card catalog then, which was also moved to Cushing. Periodicals were in closed stacks under the gym for this renovation. We were so delighted to move back into the new library. She was a gem then and still is today!

 

What will you miss most?

The wonderful friendships made with other library staff members. Working at Geisel Library is truly like working with family. Many of us have formed strong bonds over the years, and now I will join the ranks of those who have already retired. I foresee some possible breakfast or lunch gatherings in the future!

 

Biggest change on campus?

An endless list of building construction and renovations have happened, and staff has come and gone. The greatest change I feel has been the governing of the college. When I began, the monks governed both the Abbey and the college, and Father Jonathan DeFelice was president, Abbot Mark was treasurer, and Father Augustine was dean. Now all of these major roles in the college are performed by laypeople.

 

Fun fact?

I began working at Geisel Library as the part-time secretary to Joseph Constance, then worked 15 years in the Interlibrary Loan Office, and completed my time as Head of Periodicals.  In Periodicals, I also worked coordinating efforts to update the Government Documents Collection. I loved my time at Saint Anselm College, and I will always treasure my years working at Geisel
Library. In my humble opinion, it’s the best place to work on campus.

"Working at Geisel Library is truly like working with family. Many of us have formed strong bonds over the years, and now I will join the ranks of those who have already retired."

 


Denise Reagan
Denise Reagan

Denise Reagan

Faculty Assistant

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

20

 

Fondest memory?

So many to mention: How much I appreciate the monks and faculty. They brought the world to me every day!

 

What will you miss most?

Seeing my friends every day, my colleagues, the wonderful monks, the many events, the Abbey Players, my work studies, the students, the wonderful camaraderie of being an Anselmian, being on campus every day.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The diversity and the amazing work for social justice, the increased volunteerism.

 

Fun fact?

I met my soul mate and married him (Professor Dan Reagan)! One of my favorite things to do was to walk on campus, during any season (weather permitting!). Such beautiful grounds and a sort of aura you don’t feel everywhere else.

 


Janet Poirier
Janet Poirier

Janet Poirier

Executive Assistant, Office of the President

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

18

 

Fondest memory?

The abbatial election and blessing of Abbot Mark as the fifth Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey was a major event in the life of the college. We gathered in the Abbey Church as others watched the livestreaming to see who our next Abbot would be. The tension was palpable. Most of us had not participated in this part of the Benedictine tradition. It was with great celebration that the election of Abbot Mark was
announced as Abbot and Chancellor.

 

What will you miss most?

The people, but mostly participating in the important events where we came together as a community to worship, reflect, and celebrate. I miss attending Mass in the Abbey Church and hearing the bells ring throughout the day. I miss the students, but am still in contact with many.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The changes to the physical environment have been significant. The creation of the NHIOP, Sullivan Arena, the Spagnuolo Fitness Center, the Living Learning Commons, the Founder’s Green and the Grotto, Joseph Hall, the Jean Complex, and the Savard Welcome Center have been transformational. These visionary plans took place over many years under the leadership of three presidents to improve the campus experience for our students.

 

Fun fact?

I had the opportunity to go up to the Alumni Hall bell tower to add my name to the hundreds of other names on the walls from past decades. The tower is so high, the two bells are massive, and the view of Manchester is amazing.

 


Robin Allard
Robin Allard

Robin Allard

Faculty Assistant II

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

15

 

Fondest memory?

When we went to Hundred Acres one Christmas with my then-supervisor, Cathy Strasbaugh, and the other faculty assistants she supervised. We each brought a dish for a potluck, burned a fire log in the woodstove, had a Secret Santa gift exchange, and enjoyed a talk by Father John.

 

What will you miss most?

Walking the perimeter of the campus in the early mornings, seeing wildlife, and enjoying beautiful sunrises over the former Clark Farm field. I will also miss voting on the best gingerbread house. I always looked forward to the imaginative creations of the students.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The building of the Student Center. I visited the building almost every day, and it was a vast improvement over the former Cushing Center.

 

Fun fact?

I read a sonnet every year at Shakespeare’s birthday celebration. Some may remember me knitting with co-workers in the coffee shop on Mondays at lunchtime.

 


Charles M. Getchell, Jr.
Charles M. Getchell, Jr. 

Charles M. Getchell, Jr.

College Librarian and Instructor (Administrative Faculty) teaching American history for two semesters—R.N. to B.S.N. program

 

How many years on the Hilltop?

7 1/2

 

Fondest memory?

The vibrant and interwoven sense of community across what I call the quadrants of students, faculty, staff, and monastery. Plus, you had the sustained interest of many in coming to Saint Anselm and engaged alumni.

 

What will you miss most?

My staff and the students. My staff changed over my years, but with each departure, an outstanding individual joined us to evolve our strengths and strategies further—
always putting students first. The students are the reason we are here. I found Saint Anselm students to be quite special—their many talents, strong motivations, and a high degree of respect make them prized hires upon graduation.

 

Biggest change on campus?

The physical campus including a new dormitory, student center, and admissions building. Inside Geisel, we accomplished some substantial improvements, including a welcoming Special Collections and Rare Books space, group study rooms, attractive and creative shelving, and digital signage.

 

Fun fact?

Seven spring break trips with baseball. As a faculty/staff team advisor, I’d spend a week with players, coaches, many family members, and meet alums so generous in supporting our student- athletes. I got to know a group of students well, and indulge in something I loved—college sports. The appreciation and gratitude student-athletes extend to you just for taking an interest and watching them practice and play have been one of my greatest rewards in working in higher education.

"I found Saint Anselm students to be quite special—their many talents, strong motivations, and a high degree of respect make them prized hires upon graduation."