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People of Queen's: Up to the challenge

With this article, the Gazette launches a new series profiling Queen’s staff members. Their passion and dedication have enriched the various offices they have worked in over the years and helped make the university what it is today.

[Audrey Hunt]
Audrey Hunt has held a number of positions at Queen’s University since starting to work here in 1979. Currently she is the Department of Emergency Medicine’s departmental and financial administrator. (University Communications)

At 2009’s Celebration of Service Tree Dedication ceremony, Audrey Hunt was asked to speak on behalf of her peers to those in attendance. In the 30 years she’d worked at Queen’s, she had held a number of positions in different departments, so it seemed fitting that she speak for the group.

“The Queen’s spirit extends beyond the students and alumni.  I feel a great loyalty to Queen’s. I have worked here since 1979 and my husband Rick since 1982.  It’s been our livelihood all these years,” she says. “I always felt like there were great opportunities to advance. There are strong benefits to working at Queen’s and I love the energy and atmosphere — I like that there’s always young people around, even if it seems like they get younger every year.”

Mrs. Hunt began at Queen’s in temporary positions, working as a secretary in the Department of Electrical Engineering and then receptionist in Human Resources. Her first permanent job was as the secretary in the Department of Classics in 1979. There, among other responsibilities, she typed faculty members’ class notes and research reports.

“Every once in a while they’d use a word that needed the Greek alphabet,” she says with a laugh. “So, I mastered the art of changing the typewriter ball from English to Greek and back again.”

Mrs. Hunt always had her eyes set on coming opportunities so she made a point of taking advantage of every professional development course at Queen’s that would help build her skillset. She says the mix of administration, financial and managerial training courses she took were instrumental in getting her from work in Student Awards where she held 3 different positions, to the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, to her current position as the Department of Emergency Medicine’s departmental and financial administrator.

In Emergency Medicine, Mrs. Hunt manages the department’s budget, helps develop its strategic plans, supervises staff and handles a number of other responsibilities that she’s taken on over the 18 years she’s been in the position. Since the department achieved full departmental status, it has undergone significant changes, growing from 12 faculty members to 45, four support staff and many medical residents and students. Audrey Hunt has been there for all of them.

“I absolutely love this job and our faculty, staff and students. I’ve enjoyed all my jobs, but up until this one, I felt like I was moving up, like it was a progression. When I arrived here, I believed this was it,” she says. “If it had ever gotten to the point where there weren’t new challenges, I probably would have searched for something else. But, looking out, as long as the group will have me for another few years, I hope this is where I’ll retire from.”

Suggestions for profiles can be sent to Gazette editor Andrew Carroll.