Doris Gage requested
many meetings with student employees during her 16-year tenure as a dormitory
director at Baylor University, and on July 9, 2016, 10 faithful former employees answered the call to meet again at PineCrest Retirement Community where Mrs. Gage resides.
her work as a dormitory director, Mrs. Gage estimates she supervised nearly 200
student employees. Some have stayed in touch over the years since her
retirement in 1995, even sending letters and photos of their husbands and
have scattered across Texas, the country and even the globe, but Mrs. Gage
was thrilled to see them, most who are now in their 40's and 50's, return
to Texas for a final milestone meeting with her. It was a joyful and momentous
finale to a career born out of personal loss.
Gage began her work as an assistant dormitory director in 1979 after the
unexpected death of her husband a year earlier.
apart," she recalls, but in the midst of her despair a quirky idea took hold.
She knew three women who had worked as "dorm moms" at different points in their
lives, and although it presented an uncommon way to redirect her life, she
decided to pursue it.
The quest for that new direction began in her
hometown of Waco where she graduated from Baylor many years before.
lived at home during college, I always felt I missed something by not living on
campus," she said. "I was 55 years old when I interviewed for the assistant
dorm director position. Even though they expressed doubts during the interview about
hiring a former elementary school music teacher, I had barely returned home before
they called to tell me I had the job."
Gage moved from a four-bedroom home in the Houston area into a two-room
apartment in Collins Dormitory on the Baylor campus. All three of her children
had left home within the past few years to marry or attend college. Still, the
shock of learning about her plan reverberated through the family.
you don't even know what goes on in dormitories," Mrs. Gage recalls her
daughter, Carol, telling her. At the time, Carol was living in a college dorm.
Mrs. Gage launched her second career in the largest women's dormitory on the
campus. She oversaw the well being of 600 first-year women. After one year, she
was promoted to the director position where she remained for 15 years.
of the biggest things a dorm director does is work out the conflicts,
especially freshman girls who were not getting along with roommates. You do
anything a mom would do-including water the plants, console the girls, talk
about the boys and the facts of life. It's exactly where I felt I should have
been at that point. There was so much going on, I didn't have time to think about
my own life."
Gage also fondly remembers her resident assistants. She supervised 12 of them
each year and relied heavily on each to help her monitor the students who lived
among six floors of rooms that make up the dormitory building.
chose them personally, and I always had a good staff of junior and senior young
women," she said. For her 90th birthday, Mrs. Gage enjoyed one last meeting with them, making it the best birthday present ever .