Our friend and colleague Joan Brannon is retiring at the end of December. After finishing the University’s phased retirement program, Joan has continued working part-time. Our tradition is to let retiring employees choose how we will honor them. Not surprisingly, Joan has chosen a quiet departure. This week, we had a going away lunch for Joan with a small group of colleagues. We will give her a gift, honor her with a sidewalk brick, and prepare a traditional certificate for her. Here is the text of the certificate that we will present to Joan. I hope you will take the time to read about her work.
I have treasured Joan as a colleague, and her contributions to the education of magistrates, clerks of court, and sheriff’s deputies have been remarkable. As the certificate says, those groups “have a regard for Joan that is unmatched.” Early in my career at the Institute I worked closely with Joan on training for magistrates and sheriffs. We frequently travelled together across North Carolina to offer regional training—Joan would teach civil deputies in one classroom and I would teach jailers in another. I recall those days with great fondness, especially the conversations about work on long car rides and in restaurants. I was learning what it means to be a faculty member and a professional, and I could not have had a better role model and teacher.
Joan has many passions. We have never had a faculty member more dedicated to meeting the needs of her clients. Joan is “old school” in a way that represents the best traditions of the Institute. She also cares deeply about art and music. My first trip to New York City was with Joan and a few others on a trip she organized to see a Picasso retrospective. It was an amazing experience. I also learned about the importance of good food from Joan, who always seemed to know the best place to eat wherever we were in North Carolina. One of Joan’s other passions is for excellence, and her example influenced how I approached my work. For nearly forty years Joan has been one of our best faculty members—ever—and I hope you will join me in wishing her all the best in retirement.