Loretta Edwards, academic programs coordinator for the Radiological Sciences Ph.D. program in the Department of Radiology, is retiring after 32 years of service.
Edwards has had multiple positions at UT Health San Antonio including working in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Institutional Compliance & Privacy Office, the Registrar’s Office, and UT Police.
During Loretta’s retirement celebration on Jan. 30, Dr. Nicquet Blake, associate dean of student affairs at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences described her using four words—conscientious, advocate, resilience and record keeping, and legacy.
“Loretta has left a legacy here at the health science center. She has left a legacy here at the graduate school and she is beginning a legacy with her grandbabies,” Dr. Blake said.
Dr. Peter Fox, director of the Research Imaging Institute, explained that Loretta takes care of not just the students but also the faculty.
“Loretta has really been the stalwart for the Radiological Sciences program, we have many tracks and many of the students are in dual degree programs so there’s a lot to take care of. The students often ask me what do I need to do next and I have a needle pointed in my office saying Ask Loretta. Loretta takes care of the students but doesn’t coddle them,” D. Fox said.
Radiological Sciences Ph.D. student Jodie Gray explained that Loretta has been a huge advocate for the students and helps everyone stay on track with forms, deadlines, and procedures.
“Loretta was actually the person who called me to say that I had been accepted into the program and she has been behind the scenes in helping me progress ever since,” Gray said.
Dr. Geoffrey Clarke mentioned that Loretta’s background in the field artillery of the U.S. Army before she started at UT Health San Antonio taught her a lot of skills that he noticed when he was hiring her for the academic programs coordinator position for the Radiological Sciences program.
“She learned three things from the army—resilience, dealing with an intractable bureaucracy and how to get superiors to do the right thing,” Dr. Clarke said. “She also had been around UT Health San Antonio since 1988 so she already knew everyone. A lot of the jobs have been replaced by robots and website but she really knows how to make things happen by picking up a phone.”
Furthermore, he explained that he really saw how much students loved her at the recent Radiological Sciences Alumni reunion.
“Students really love her like a mother,” Dr. Clarke said. “It’s been key to her hard work to see that students have gone on to great jobs and careers.”
While at UT Health San Antonio, Edwards has been an active member since 1992 of the Special Events Council where she has helped with the 4th of July picnic, the Masquerade Jewelry Sale, Cowboy Breakfast, Administrative Professional Day, Halloween and Valentine’s Day events.
“Through the Special Events Council, I’ve been surrounded by a great group of ladies and we work together to boost employee morale,” Edwards explained. “We show appreciation and it’s a lot of fun!”
“All of you have been a big part of my life—for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” Edwards said to the audience. “In the 32 years that I’ve worked here, I’ve met a lot of people from all walks of life, all over the world, different customs, different cultures, and I’ve learned a lot.”
She also received the award from Lt. Col Boone in recognition of the service that she has given to military individuals.
“My students, what can I say, I love them. Those are the people that have made my job enjoyable for the last 17 years and the faculty that I’ve worked for have been awesome,” she said. “ They have treated me like I was with them, they valued my opinion and they really didn’t have to because I was just there to support.”
“I really can’t believe it’s been 32 years,” Edwards said. “A lot of people have asked me what I’m going to do since I retire and the reality is not a damn thing.”