Incredible Legacy: Mary Jackson
Fri Mar 07 14:17:00 CST 2014
Her friendly smile and kind words have been staples at LeTourneau for years. As we close Women of Aviation week, LETU would be amiss not to honor one of the women who has helped so many of our aviation students succeed over the past several decades.
|Mary with the Student Wives Club, 1968|
Mary Jackson came to LeTourneau from West Virginia in 1966 with her husband, Mike, who enrolled as a student to study chemistry. She then started working as a secretary in the maintenance department.
They lived in married student housing, and she recounted their first days:
“We lived on campus in a small trailer. We bought it sight unseen. It was very, very small, and we came here with a baby. We made it work – it was 100 degrees out in the middle of July with no air conditioning. At that time there was a swimming pool outside where Solheim is now and so we just lived
at that pool.”
Jackson recalls “Mom and Pop LeTourneau” with fondness.
“Mom LeTourneau had a lot of us gals over. She would always have, several times a semester, the students in for visiting.”
“It was really neat for me, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve hopefully had that same sort of influence on the younger gals here.”
Jackson was asked to start working at the School of Aeronautical Science in 1982 as Academic Secretary. She officially retired this past January, but still works part-time. She’s seen quite the growth in the department; when she first started, there were four instructors and 18 students.
She says of working with LETU students over the years; “I’ve just loved the students. I love them a lot and that’s probably why I’ve stayed so long. I’m not in the middle of them right now, but it’s been a joy of mine to work with them.”
She describes the students as “top-notch.” There’s pride in her voice when she talks about their academic and career success.
“It’s not an easy program, especially with all the other classes they have to take, but they’ve done so well.”
She also said she enjoyed giving baby and wedding showers for students and student wives, or simply inviting them into her home.
“It’s just been fun to have them to over to the house and get to know them on a different level than just seeing them when they’re here for classes. It’s just been a joy.”