Cathy VanArsdall, Wabash’s Director of Student Accounts is set to retire this week. She is stepping down from the role after 23 years of dedicated service to the Wabash community.

As her colleagues eagerly explain, VanArsdall’s hallmark has been her selflessness and loyalty to the students she serves.

Cathy VanArsdall. Courtesy of Communications and Marketing.

“She holds to a job where you don’t always deliver the best news, but she has the biggest heart of any- one that I’ve seen, especially in that position,” said Director of Financial Aid Alex DeLonis. “She goes above and beyond for students, and that’s crucial.”

Her impact over the years cannot be understated.

“When you think about how many years worth of students there are in 23 years, with a good average of at least 850 a year, that’s a lot of impact,” said CFO Kendra Cooks.

Cooks calculated that VanArsdall served over 5,863 students in her decades-long career.

Colleagues of VanArsdall believe that her work has been instrumental in the success of students at Wabash College.

“She helped students and families understand what it takes to finance, how to understand the bill, and the financial obligations after financial aid.”

As the Director of Student Accounts, an appointment with VanArsdall usually is a result of financial difficulties for the student and their family. However, her student-first attitude keeps her from seeing her role as a debt collector. In a time when high dropout rates are caused by financial difficulty, VanArsdall uses her role to be a last line of defense for students.

“She uses whatever tools in her bag to be able to help families figure it all out,” said DeLonis.

VanArsdall’s compassion would make her an asset to any administrative team. Her wide skill set ranges far beyond student-oriented accounting and support. From state and federal compliance to working in an active role with fraternities, VanArsdall has done it all.

Considering the relatively small financial team Wabash has, their workload is immense.

“Though we may not have the volume of touring transactions of a bigger school, we still have to do all the same functions,” said Cooks.

For VanArsdall to execute her prominent role that carries these extra responsibilities with such diligence, heart and humility is incredibly admirable.

VanArsdall was a critical leader in guiding Wabash and its students through national economic crises. After the economic collapse in 2008, VanArsdall led the charge in assisting the students through this unexpected challenge.

“What she did to execute and help support the Wabash loan program, and getting the HEERF payments out to students, has been really instrumental,” said Cooks.

Through all the challenges, VanArsdall has kept a smile on her face. When asked what she will miss most about her work, she answered without hesitation: “you guys, the students.”