Ruth Benton is a Chatfield College alumna, a recently retired and well-respected Chatfield staff member and a quiet believer in supporting the College’s students through gifts to campus initiatives. Ruth came to Chatfield College upon retiring from a 33 year career with the U.S. Postal Service; she is the epitome of the many non-traditional students who succeed within the school’s supportive, small college experience and give back to Chatfield College following graduation.
“Twelve years ago, this September, I read an article in the Sunday paper that described Chatfield’s small class sizes and non-traditional students. I called on Monday morning for information, thinking that I’d enroll for the following fall, since classes had already begun. The next day was 9/11 and I realized that nothing is promised to you; you don’t know how much time you have to live your life. On September 12, I went down to the College, submitted my application, and enrolled for Spring 2002.
“I was impressed. Chatfield was small and personal. I had recently retired, my youngest child was in college, and this was the right environment. After I graduated, I was volunteering in the library and completing a third year of classes. I was asked to work for the registrar’s office, and became an assistant registrar and student advisor. This spring I retired after 6 ½ years.
“I believe in supporting endowed student scholarships because when I came to Chatfield, I applied and received the Sr. Agatha Fitzgerald Scholarship. I’d been out of school for years and was thinking, can I do it, can I compete with the younger students? I wrote my scholarship essay, and when I was selected, it was a real boost for me. Other people thought I could do it and that gave me confidence.
“I have never been able to contribute a lot to fundraising campaigns, but I believe in Chatfield’s mission and donate a small amount each year. There are many who could not go to college if Chatfield were not available to them. Receiving scholarships helped me and I am happy to do what I can for students today.”
After completing her associate’s degree, Ruth received a bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College. She returned to Chatfield College as a volunteer and later as an employee. Ruth, having enjoyed one summer in retirement, has agreed to re-join the Chatfield staff this fall on a part-time basis. She will serve as a student advisor, assist with student retention, and provide tutoring services.