This was first published in the SU Magazine.
For 26 years Tammy Garrett has been a familiar face with Shippensburg University’s Dining Services. But for so many, she’s also an unexpected support system, a source of encouragement, and unforgettable point of connection in the Shippensburg University community. She was happy to share her Ship story and what inspires her work at the university.
How has your job in dining evolved over the years?
I started working in the Office of Dining Services in August of 1997. I spent 2 1/2 years as an office assistant and cashier in the faculty dining room, went to the Catering department for over seven years, and then on to Kriner Dining Hall working at Sub Generation. I spent two semesters in Century Café, and I’ve been at Dunkin’ since they opened in August of 2014. I’ve really been all over Ship Dining!!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Of course, my favorite part of my job is the students—offering customer service in the best way I can to make them feel welcome and help them to succeed. I know student life can be tough at times. I want them to know that I care about them and whatever kind of day they are having. In return they are very respectful and keep me feeling young with a very special bond!
You seem to go above and beyond in your work by attending student events. What inspires you to do this?
I’m a social person and I enjoy all types of activities and the arts. When students invite me to their events, I like to support them and it’s always fun and amazing to see the talent and courage that they display! I have been a judge for Lip Sync, Ship’s Got Talent, Mocktails, The Greek Banner Contest, and last year’s Homecoming Parade “Best Float.” What an honor—and again, so much fun!
How do you remember everyone’s name?
Everyone seems amazed that I can remember names, but I see them so often at Dunkin’—some students and staff order twice a day! I know it feels good to be welcomed personally, but there are times I may call someone the wrong name, butcher the spelling, or mispronounce it. Usually this makes them laugh, or I’ll get an occasional eye roll, but either way, that’s just part of the day!
How important is Ship to your family?
I grew up in Shippensburg and lived at the Jersey Shore for 12 years where I met my husband, George. We’ve lived here for 34 years. I take pride in our town and the university really is the crown jewel. What a blessing to live and work here. All three of my boys worked in the dining halls during high school and two of them during college. Our family is still very connected to Ship. My oldest son George IV is a 2011 alumnus. He’s a photographer, married, and living in Pittsburgh, returning for Homecoming and an occasional special event. My daughter-in-law, Dannon Bishopp-Garrett and her mom, Dodie Bishopp are both alumni as well, and both teachers. Her dad, Steve Bishopp, is an alumnus and a police officer in Dallas, Texas. Her younger brother Cody will be starting at Ship this fall. My niece, Lauren Garrett, is an alumna and professor of accounting. Our family can be seen wearing Ship gear across the country!
Do you have a favorite Ship memory?
I have so many wonderful memories of my time here at Ship. Twenty-six years have gone by so fast. It’s great to see the students out and about and even catching up with them on vacations, dinners, and especially on social media. It’s great to keep in touch! Kindness is easy here at Ship. Students, staff, and faculty are great to work with and serve—my job is very rewarding!!