Dee Jonczak embodies the spirit of Rutgers-Camden. Upbeat and eager to help students, faculty, and staff, it’s no surprise that she is a recent recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service. The secretary of the Department of English says that receiving the award was a special moment in her career here at Rutgers-Camden. She was nominated by both a member of the English department faculty as well as a student. In particular, Dee says that being nominated by a student was “such an honor.” She has a great respect for the students at Rutgers-Camden, many of whom work full-time and have full-time family commitments, and also carry a full load of classes. “The best part of my job is working with the students,” Dee said. Many students who earn their bachelor’s degrees at Rutgers-Camden go on to complete the work for their master’s degrees here as well, and Dee loves to “watch them grow from shy teenagers to confident adults.”
Though Dee didn’t start employment at Rutgers-Camden until 1996, she has had a connection with the university for her whole adult life. Her husband, Chip, who is one of Rutgers-Camden’s resident painters, started as a laborer with the university in 1975. She and Chip, who both attended Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia, first met at a dance at a roller skating rink a few months after they graduated from high school. The two married in November 1974, and soon after moved to New Jersey so that Chip’s commute to Rutgers-Camden would be shorter.
Dee started working at Rutgers-Camden in 1996 as a part-time secretary for the Departments of Economics, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy and Religion. She soon became a full-time employee in the Office of Admissions, where she worked as a clerk; a few years later, she transferred back to the Departments of Economics, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy and Religion. In 2000, she became the full-time secretary for the Department of English, and has been there ever since. Dee has high praise for the faculty of her department, saying that “they always treat me with respect and let me know they appreciate me.”
Though she acknowledges that she’s not ready to leave Rutgers-Camden yet, Dee and Chip have exciting plans for their retirement. They’d love to purchase an RV and tour the country, especially focusing on the national parks out west, like Yellowstone and Yosemite. In the meantime, though, Dee is happy to be at Rutgers-Camden. “It’s home; it’s family,” she says simply, meaning every word wholeheartedly.
About Dee Jonczak
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Position: Secretary of the Department of English