Among the group of Springfield College students in their young adult lives, and the middle-aged, and sometimes younger employees of the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union, one small, older woman stands out. With her white curly hair, and large, clear-framed glasses, 89-year-old Ange Haley replaces some fresh green and red apples inside of the Union Station.
Haley has been working at Springfield College since 1976, and will be celebrating her 90th birthday this month. A college campus may not seem like the most fitting place for a woman like Haley, but it is clear that the other employees and customers appreciate her hard work, and more importantly, enjoy her company. These feelings are mutual for Haley, as she continues to come back to campus every year and attributes that to the kindness of the SC community.
Haley was born in 1924 in Springfield, Mass., and is currently living in the very same house that she was born in. She and her late husband had four children, including Peter Haley, the former men’s soccer coach for the Pride. After her husband had passed away, Haley decided, with the encouragement of Peter, to come to Alden St. in 1976.
“I lost one child and then when my husband died, my son Peter said, ‘Mom, don’t stay home and cry. Come to college and see if they have a place for you.’ Right away I had a place. I am very lucky,” Haley said.
During her time at Springfield College, she worked at a drinks and snacks center in the Wellness Center, a similar type of station in Locklin Hall, and currently is working in the Campus Union.
One of Haley’s former co-workers is Angie Williams. Haley and Williams both worked at the Wellness Center for six years, and Williams currently works in Cheney Dining Hall.
“I love her to death. [Haley’s] such a sweetheart,” Williams said. “She never complains about anything. She’s just a lovable person.”
One day Haley wasn’t able to come to work, and the thing about her, from what I understand, she never would call out,” explained Williams. “So this particular day she requested a day off. So when I showed up, everybody’s looking at me like ‘You’re Angie, but you’re not our Ange.”
Williams went on to describe how she has told Haley that when she reaches her age, she would love to have the same kind of spunkiness and intelligence that Haley possesses. What really makes Haley unique is her concern and care for others
“When I’m not feeling well, she’ll come over and she’ll give me a hug,” Williams said. “[She says], ‘How [are] you doing today, sweetheart?’ She’s concerned about everybody.”
It is great to see when someone can have that kind of genuine kindness inside of them, and even better, and more unusual, when that person gets the same kind of respect in return. That is certainly the case with Ange Haley.
“The students are great,” Haley said. “The faculty, everybody has been so nice to me. I love it.
“I’ve gotten so many friends here and they’ve been so nice to me. I’ve enjoyed every year that I have been here. I could go right along if I was younger.”
In 1976 and in her mid-50’s, Haley made the decision to come to Springfield College to work in the food services department. Who knew that she would be celebrating her upcoming 90th birthday on that same campus, interacting with the students and other employees?
Haley seems very glad that she made the decision to come here 37 years ago, and the Springfield College community is definitely glad as well.