Getting set to retire from her post as an associate professor and the dean of business and technology in just a matter of weeks, she has been reflecting on how she came to be a Cleveland resident in the first place.
An Indiana native who was living in Ohio, she began searching for a job in Tennessee in 1977 to live closer to her sister and brother-in-law. After accepting a position at Cleveland State and moving to Athens with her son Scot, they made the move to Cleveland after about a year and a half.
Prior to that she lived in Cincinnati and taught job skills classes like at a vocational high school.
She later earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree from Ball State University, both in the field of comprehensive business education. After that, she began her teaching career — something she always knew she would do.
“I always loved school and wanted to be a teacher,” Witt said.
Witt said she chose to focus on teaching business and technology because she felt those were “convenient” subjects that any student would benefit from learning. When she was not teaching classes during the summer, she was also able to take on her own jobs in the field.
She has seen the subjects she has taught change drastically over the years. As she has worked to help her business students learn the skills they need to succeed in the workplace, Witt has seen the skills themselves change as often as technologies have. For example, she originally taught students how to type on electric typewriters, then electronic typewriters, then word processing devices. Now, students learn how to work with computers.
Still, one aspect of teaching and overseeing as other professors teach students has stayed the same.
“You try to help them so that they can be successful in a career,” Witt said.
Having been at Cleveland State so long, she has seen her share of personnel changes as well. She was hired while the college was under the leadership of president Dr. David F. Adkisson, and she has served under every president the college has had. She is retiring around the same time as the college’s most recent president, Dr. Carl Hite.
Before she left Ohio, Witt had no way of knowing that she and her family would grow to be longtime Cleveland residents. Scot attended Trewhitt Junior High School and Bradley Central High School, where he became heavily involved in playing baseball. He later attended Cleveland State, earning two different associate’s degrees. Her parents later moved to the area as well and owned the Personal Card Shop (Hallmark) in downtown Cleveland.
“Since I had family here, it was not a difficult move,” Witt said. “Everybody’s really friendly.”
Her colleagues at Cleveland State had been like “family” to her as well, she added.
Witt was initially hired by the college as an instructor for office careers. She was later promoted to the positions of assistant professor and associate professor. After teaching classes at the college for many years, she was hired to serve as chair of the business department before eventually becoming the dean of business and technology.
A recent windy afternoon found Witt inside her office sorting her papers and other belongings into piles as she prepares to retire and leave her office for someone new.
When she no longer has to make the trek to work each day, Witt said she will look forward to reading more romance and mystery novels instead of textbooks, watching more movies and doing more traveling.
Beyond that, she said she had no definite plans. However, she said she will continue to call the Cleveland area home even as she travels. After all, it has been home for a long time.
Her friends and colleagues also know she will continue to carry out her famous mantra as she moves forward.
“It will work out,” she said.