When you walk into Amy Holbrook’s office, the first thing you notice are the pictures. On every wall in her office hang pictures of students and faculty – past and present – at restaurants, airports, and graduations. The next thing you’ll notice are the trinkets – a hand mirror from Egypt, a saree from Pakistan, a magnet from Bulgaria, a ceramic ramen bowl from Japan. Then, you’ll notice the cards – thank you notes, Christmas cards, postcards from around the world – from former faculty and students.
Then, you’ll notice Amy, and she’ll probably be happy to see you since she knows and remembers almost every student that walks into her office. Amy remembers what classes you took last semester and where home is for you; she’ll ask how your girlfriend is doing and if you want candy; and she’ll offer you a seat so you can chat with her.
Amy Holbrook is Middlebury’s hidden gem. Tucked away in Warner 201, she comes early and stays late to her job as the Economics Department Coordinator. I am one of the many student workers she’s hired over the years to work as her office associate. My first interaction with Amy just about sums up who she is as a person: open, caring, deeply personal, and fiercely genuine. I remember when, during my freshman year, I applied for the job and came into her office to interview. It was supposed to be brief; I assumed we’d talk about my resume and maybe the expectations for the job. I left her office an hour later after hearing about her life story, her three sons who she loves very much, her dog Bandit, and how much she loves her faculty (so much that she stocks their favorite candy in her candy jar. Professor Myers loves Swedish Fish and Professor Wunnava likes spearmint candy, but you didn’t hear it from me).
Amy isn’t just generous; she’s one of the hardest workers I know. In 2017, she received the Virtue Family Exceptional Service Award, which honors faculty and staff who have “gone above and beyond their normal professional responsibilities to support and connect with students in ways that build a more engaged and inclusive Middlebury community.” For years, she has hosted international students at her home for Thanksgiving, she takes her host students bowling in Burlington on a regular basis, and she hasn’t missed an ISO show. Amy has shown her students – Economics majors, host students, student workers, and friends – that they are important and that she cares about every single one of them.
Amy deserves more recognition than she gets. She works around the clock to make sure that students and faculty feel supported and appreciated, and as students, we should reciprocate those feelings. The Middlebury Community is so lucky to have Amy Holbrook. And, on a personal note, my Middlebury experience would be incomplete without her. She is more than my boss; she’s a lifelong friend. If you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Amy, please venture down to Warner 201 and do so immediately. I guarantee she’ll be happy to see you.