Dorothy Booker has been with VCU for nearly 30 years and with the dean’s office since 2005. She says she learned years ago that a first impression is a lasting one so she makes an effort to meet and greet every person that walks through the door as the Office Services Coordinator for the College. Dorothy will celebrate her 30th anniversary working for VCU next July. She is also the vice president of the newly reformed CHS Staff Council.
“This is a passion for me; “we” are a passion for me. I tell Anne (Stratton) all the time, my dad always told me that my mouth would be the death of me, but I believe in standing up for what is right. I don’t mind being one of the voices for the staff.”
“Everyone’s mentality and morale should be essential to get the job done; to speak on behalf of the staff and work with the faculty will bring everybody in on one accord. When everybody’s on one accord, good things happen.”
Dorothy began working for VCU at the Cabell Library in 1984 filling in for people who were on vacation or out on sick leave. Shortly after she took on a full-time position in circulation. She has worked on both campuses, including at the Tompkins-McCaw Library in the learning resources center and Sanger Hall on the MCV campus. She worked in procurement and payment for 14 years. Over the years, Dorothy has seen VCU go through a lot of changes.
“It’s just amazing. Even since I’ve been in the Dean’s office, I’ve watched buildings go up and down all around me. I’ve seen so much in my thirty years of being here.”
One of her favorite parts about working at VCU is the connections she’s made with other staff members.
“When I worked in procurement and payment, we were like a family. We watched each other’s children grow and now we all have grandchildren. We’re still as close now as we were when we all worked together.”
“The most intense thing that I can remember is when I came to the Dean’s office and I started working with Michelle Wilde, India Urbach, and Anne Stratton. I have never in my life met such a wonderful group of people. When they took me under their wing, it has been like a home here. We cry together, we laugh together, it’s been wonderful. Since 2005, it has been awesome.”
Dorothy grew up in Powhatan in Moseley. She is the youngest in her family with one sister and three brothers.
“I tell everybody, I have two mothers, my mother and my sister because while my mom worked my sister raised us, (laughs) she’s still raising us.”
“Now I get a chance to give back. My mom turned 85 on Monday (July 7th). For the past 7 months she has been living with us. So my day doesn’t stop here, it’s only beginning. I go home and take care of my mom and my husband, but it’s good.”
Throughout the years, Dorothy has relied on her faith to persevere through obstacles and challenges.
“When I first came to work at VCU I was raising my three children by myself and somehow God made it work….God doesn’t put any more on us than we can bear. And everything that happens to us is tailor-made for us by God.”
She is currently a Deaconess at her church, Second Antioch Baptist Church in Powhatan. She is also president of the pastor’s aide and acting president of the Deaconess board and sings in the choir. In addition to being heavily involved in her church, Dorothy is a proud mother, grandmother and wife to a man she calls her best friend.
“My husband and I have been married for 17 years. He brought two daughters to our union and I brought three (2 daughters and a son). We have 14 grandbabies; 9 boys and 5 girls between 5 and 16 years of age. Christmas is crazy around our house.”
Throughout her years at VCU, Dorothy has taken administrative courses and workshops for her professional development. She recently completed the Personnel Administrative Certificate Program through VCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education. She also plans on taking courses at Grace Harris Institute in the future.
“So much has changed over the years, the way they do things has changed. And that’s why I continue to go to classes so I can keep the knowledge that I’ve gained and bring it up to date.”
One of Dorothy’s favorite parts about working at VCU is the youthful energy students bring to the university.
“Sometimes I go and sit outdoors just to watch the students walking. It’s so exciting to see every year new students. It’s almost like having a new baby in the house, they bring so much energy to VCU.”
During her time at VCU, Dorothy has seen the university spread out across the city.
“In one of my classes, we had to do a profile of VCU and one of the things I said was that VCU has become the sun of the city, it brightens up the whole city of Richmond.”
Written by Denise Johnson