The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Jumping in with both feet

Carol Werkheiser discusses her over 26 years at Lafayette
Carol Werkheiser’s many jobs have taken her all across campus. (Graphic by Emma Chen ’24 and Elisabeth Seidel ’26 for The Lafayette)

Carol Werkheiser has always been on the move.

She was born in Missouri, but she grew up in an Air Force family that bounced around the country; her siblings were born in Pennsylvania and Delaware and, for several years, the whole family lived across the world in Japan.

Even today, despite seemingly having been settled down at the college for almost three decades, Werkheiser just can’t keep still.

Twenty-six years since she first started, Werkheiser has seen the college from all angles. She’s been a bookstore cashier, a public safety dispatcher, a parking coordinator and now, she’s just started her newest adventure as a secretary in the anthropology and sociology department.

“New job, new knee, new year,” Werkheiser laughed at the changes she’s experienced in 2024 so far. “But I do truly believe in fate, and I just believe that this all was supposed to be.”

Although Werkheiser’s first job on campus was a part-time position in the college bookstore – a gig her husband found through an advertisement in the local paper – she believes her Lafayette roots are fully intertwined with the public safety positions she held in the 2000s.

“When I moved to public safety … I just jumped in with both feet,” Werkheiser said.

Her time as a public safety dispatcher taught her to understand the campus from the inside out. She enjoyed the position so much that in 2015, she was inspired to get her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cedar Crest College, alongside two other educational certificates.

Throughout the 2000s, one of Werkheiser’s most visible accomplishments on campus was her overhaul of parking management.

“This campus was designed for horse and buggy, it wasn’t designed for SUVs,” Werkheiser said. “When I got promoted to office coordinator, I saw what a wreck the parking situation was … and I said, ‘I have to do something.’”

And do something she did. Alongside director of public safety Jeff Troxell, Werkheiser rearranged campus parking and rebuilt the system that managed it from the ground up. 

Today, thanks to license plate reading and more specialized software, the college’s parking management system has been largely streamlined, but Troxell, who was assistant director of public safety at the time, fondly remembers the analog years spent with Werkheiser comparing Excel spreadsheets and distributing individualized stickers and letters. 

“It was really a home-grown parking management system,” Troxell said.

“We had it down to a science,” Werkheiser said. “And I enjoyed it … There was something new every day.”

One of Werkheiser’s favorite parts of her time as parking coordinator was the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with students. The position, which included managing all ticket appeals, has left her with many outrageous stories. 

“One student, she got a ticket for parking, and on her ticket appeal it said she had to ‘go get brain matter out of the refrigerator,” Werkheiser laughed. “You see the good and the bad, and most of the kids were very, very good.”

To those she works with, Werkheiser’s years of dedication have made her an asset to the institution.

“Carol has a lot of institutional knowledge about how the college operates,” Troxell said. 

Head of the anthropology & sociology department Caroline Lee, who’s been working with Werkheiser since she started her new secretarial position in the department, expressed a similar appreciation for this knowledge.

“Carol not only knows how to get things done at Lafayette, she knows everybody!” Lee wrote in an email.

As for her view of her new position, Werkheiser has been enjoying her time in New Oechsle.

“I couldn’t be happier, the people here are fabulous,” she said. “I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

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Elisabeth Seidel, Design Director/Assistant Business Manager
The funniest culture designer.

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