Centennial's Mother Hen

May 25, 2010

Centennial's Mother Hen

VALDOSTA -- Elsie Crane can talk to anyone; an ability, the Centennial Hall receptionist said, that came from being painfully shy as a child.

“I was not a wallflower; I was glued to the wall,” said Crane, who has worked at VSU since 2004. “I made a plan in high school to get over my shyness, though; and I walked a new path to class every day and made myself say ‘hi’ to at least one person. I would try to make them smile. I still challenge myself to get ‘frowners’ to smile.”

The mother of three spends her days counseling students, directing visitors to campus resources, approving student-assistant time sheets, and allaying the concerns of phoning empty nesters. Every question has an answer, and no subject is off limits with the grandmother of three, who strives to greet every day with optimism and enthusiasm.

“We have a choice each day when we wake up whether we want to look at the good side of life or focus on the negative. I always tell the students what I told my kids growing up -- ‘Why are you letting a bad situation that probably lasted three minutes spoil your entire day?’ I hope my outlook is contagious.”

Crane said she couldn’t imagine her day without student interaction. She enjoys the challenge of relating to people of all ages and backgrounds. People need community, Crane said; and her circle of friends at VSU has helped her stay young at heart.

“If everyone I was around was my own age, that would be boring,” said Crane, who previously worked as a supervisor for the University Bookstore and Langdale Market. “If you are able to interact with people from all generations, you feel more vernal and adaptable. Isolation is not good; it’s always important to learn and grow.”

Centennial Complex Director Adonis Thompson said Crane is a diligent worker and genuinely caring person. Every student or visitor who asks Crane a question is greeted with a smile and comes away with understanding. Former Centennial Complex Director Zach Crapa said Crane embodies Valdosta State’s mission to student achievement and building a community of excellence.

“Mrs. Elsie's attention to detail, her drive to stay organized, and her genuine interest in the wellbeing of the students make her an asset to not only Centennial Hall, but to the entire VSU campus community,” said Crapa, who is now the Georgia Hall Complex Director.

Senior Myles Grier, Centennial Hall resident assistant, said Crane’s enthusiasm and kindness shine through the front office, and her organization keeps students on task.

"Mrs. Else brings our resident hall the organization we need to do our jobs and take care of the building, Grier said. “She's a huge help to the housing department. I even see her come in on Saturday mornings to make sure that payroll gets done on time.”

When she isn’t working the front desk, Crane is piecing together quilts, a skill she taught formally prior to working at VSU. A founding member of the Withlacoochee Quilters Guild, she also enjoys spending time with her son and three daughters -- one of whom, Jennifer Crane, graduated from VSU and now works in the bookstore. Crane said she is also eager to welcome one of her three grandchildren to VSU in the fall.