Carol Kruse locked the mailroom door for the last time on Aug. 23 after 10 years as a Corban employee. “It was not an easy choice to make,” Kruse said, “but it seemed that this was where God was nudging me to go.”
The following day would be the start of her new job as a teacher for 20 pre-schoolers, pursuing what she believed to be God’s plan for her. “It’s weird, because, before this, I had never understood when people would say that God called them to do something,” she said.
“No other job had more of an impact on my life than my job at Corban,” she said. “There was not a day that I woke up and told myself that I didn’t want to go to work. I was excited to come in every morning. I don’t know a lot of people who can say that.”
The news that Kruse would be leaving Corban was announced via a Facebook post toward the end of summer, followed by a sea of comments. “I’m surprised,” Kruse said. “I knew I was loved, but I didn’t realize how much until I saw the Facebook comments. That was something I had never experienced.”
Kruse’s last day in the mailroom was less than a week before fall classes began, a choice she said she made because waiting any longer likely would have made her “an emotional wreck.”
For many students, faculty and even some deliverymen, Kruse was more than the “mailroom lady.” She made an effort to remember as many names as she could, and claims to have remembered the names of about 75 percent of the student body.
According to Kruse, her personal connections with students began about four years into her time at Corban when she started a grief support group for students who had experienced the loss of a loved one. “That’s when I knew I had something special here at Corban,” she said.
Abandoned as an infant in South Korea, and later faced with the death of her adoptive parents, Kruse felt that her journey would help her encourage students experiencing similar pain.
“The students have been the best part of my job,” she said.
Kruse often participated in the Corban community outside of the mailroom, judging events like the Lumberjack Games, talent show and Golden Warrior Awards.
“I would say my favorite memory was hosting the Indonesians for a traditional Bakar Batu meal,” she said. “What my husband and I thought would be a small gathering ended up being over 80 people cooking a pig in our backyard.”
The day before her final day in the mailroom, a party was held in the library’s lobby to celebrate her time at Corban. Brian Schmidt, Kruse’s boss and Corban’s CIO, invited her to stand inside a tub that would “contain her tears,” as he commended her and gifted her with children’s books and 9,000 crayons for her classroom.
On Sept. 18, Kruse came back to visit students on campus for the first time since leaving Corban, prepared with dozens of homemade cookies.
She plans to continue making these visits on occasion. “It’s not ‘goodbye.’ It’s ‘see you later,’” she said. “Corban will always be a part of who I am. It’s in my fiber. It’s in my being.”