Ken Donovan and Patty Sellers retire; join us to celebrate them!
CAPTION: Ken Donovan (center) and Patty Sellers (right), are both retiring Jan. 31. They are pictured here with fellow colleague Mary Szymanski (left), who retired at the end of 2018.
Retirement party January 24: bring your stories!
A retirement party will be held for Ken Donovan and Patty Sellers Thursday, Jan. 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Rosenau Rooms of the ASCC Building (Building L). Everyone is invited! You are encouraged to bring a story or words of farewell to share with the group. Cake and coffee will be served. We appreciate (but do not require) RSVPs to Chiara Woods at 313-317-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his 33 years at HFC, graphics associate/printer Ken Donovan has printed hundreds of thousands of documents – official reports, memoranda, advertisements, syllabi, pictures, posters, postcards, letters, the list goes on – for College faculty and staff, many times at the last minute. And he always did it with a smile on his face.
“Faculty and staff were always appreciative of the jobs I did for them. I made a lot of good friends working at the College,” said Donovan, of Dearborn Heights.
To the great sadness of many, Donovan – also known as “Kenny D” (riffing on saxophonist Kenny G) or “The Ken” – is retiring from HFC Jan. 31.
33 (or is it 43?) years of service
Donovan began his work at HFC Jan. 6, 1986. Back then, it was Henry Ford Community College, and the late Dr. Stuart Bundy was president. Prior to HFC, Donovan spent 10 years as a service representative for the now-defunct Multi-Graphics in Troy. The HFC Graphics Department had been one of Ken's accounts. It's fair to say that he liked that client!
“You could say I’ve been around the College for 43 years,” said Donovan with a laugh. “When I first started, we only ran printing presses. We had to shoot the original on a large camera, hand develop the film, strip it, and plate it to run on the press. Today, most of my work is done on high speed digital copiers, which we send to the machines from my computer. Where I used to run color jobs on the Heidelberg press, we run on a Cannon color copier, which prints up 80 copies per minute. It’s amazing how far printing has come.”
For his first 25 years, Donovan reported directly to graphics coordinator Henry Morgan, who retired in 2010. After that, Donovan became part of Marketing and Communications, where he worked with Gary Erwin, who moved on to the University of Detroit Mercy in 2017. He now reports to Rhonda DeLong, the current director of Marketing and Communications.
“It’s been a true pleasure to work with Ken for the past 18 months," said DeLong. "He’s unfailingly cheerful and service-oriented, and is an extremely hard worker. He is also a great problem-solver and operates with tremendous grace under pressure. I think everyone who has worked with Ken will miss having him on campus. I will personally miss his kindness and willingness to do whatever is needed to ensure the best outcome."
Added Erwin: “During my time at HFC, Ken was one of the best colleagues, and a friend who always had something good to say about everyone. He always had a smile on his face, even when my head was exploding with frustration. He always looks at the bright side of things. HFC will sorely miss Ken and his printing expertise, but most of all, his happy demeanor and humor. Congratulations, Ken! You deserve everything great coming your way!”
Born in Detroit, Donovan has been married to Linda for 38 years. He has four children and six grandchildren. A graduate of what is now Warren Mott High School, he earned his associate degree in liberal arts from HFC. He also completed coursework at Macomb Community College in Warren and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
An avid runner, Donovan has completed 23 marathons – including the Boston Marathon in 2006 and 2007 – and numerous half-marathons, 10Ks, and 5Ks. Over the years, he was seen running on the HFC campus with retired faculty member Randy Knight. Last year's knee surgery sidelined him temporarily, but he’s still very active.
“I’d say my days of running marathons are over,” he said, laughing. “I still jog. I ride my bike. I’m looking forward to playing a lot of golf.”
After retirement, Donovan plans to travel more with his wife and spend more time with his grandchildren.
Still, he confessed it will be hard to leave HFC, which has been his professional life for more than three decades – if not four.
“I’ve made plenty of good friends throughout my years at the College,” he said. “I’ll miss them.”
Like many other colleagues, Terri Hagen, HFC Talent Acquisition Coordinator, said she’ll miss Donovan.
“Ken was one of the first people I met at HFC,” recalled Hagen. “He helped me navigate my way around during those early days back in the mid-1990s, and has continued to be a supportive colleague and a good friend. I will miss his positive, friendly, helpful demeanor.”
One constant for HFC buyer associate Patty Sellers during her years at the College is being confused with colleagues Patti Sekulidis and Patti Flogaus. In fact, Sellers and Sekulidis are back-to-back in the HFC directory and have received numerous phone calls and email messages meant for the other over the years.
Fortunately, all three women have a good sense of humor about it.
“I’ll occasionally get some of Patti Sekulidis’ emails, and she’s gotten some of mine. We forward them to each other with a chuckle. I have been confused with Patti Flogaus too,” recalled Sellers, of Brownstown.
Added Sekulidis with a laugh: “Thankfully, we’ve never gotten a confidential email by mistake.”
Flogaus is also good-humored about the mix-ups.
“You start reading an email, and it doesn’t make any sense," she said. "Then you realize it’s not meant for you, and you send it on to either Patty or Patti. It happens more often than you think. All you can do is smile and shake your head."
While Sellers won’t miss being confused with the other two Pattis, she will miss them, along with many of her colleagues as she retires from HFC Thursday, Jan. 31.
“I enjoyed working with the students and assisting them, as well as working with a lot of awesome people at the College. I will miss them all,” said Sellers.
HFC: A family affair
HFC has had a tremendous impact on the lives of Sellers and her family. Not only has Sellers been an employee for nearly 28 years, she’s also an alumna, earning her associate degree in business administration in 2007. Her husband Ken (not to be confused with her colleague, Ken Donovan!) and their two daughters Amy and Jillian also graduated from HFC – all with associate degrees in business administration. Ken graduated in 1971, Amy graduated in 2002, and Jillian graduated in 2006.
“I liked HFC because of the class size and the logistics of working here, as well as the tuition assistance. It enriched my knowledge and the business classes enhanced my skills. The same was true for my husband and daughters,” said Sellers.
Born in Lincoln Park, Sellers is the fifth of 11 children, eight of whom are women. She graduated from Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn. She began her career in 1988 in the Dearborn Public Schools, the last remaining school district in Michigan to be affiliated with a community college, before coming to HFC in 1991.
A buyer named Sellers (LOL)
During her time at HFC, Sellers worked in food service, counseling, payroll, and corporate training before her current position in purchasing. It’s not lost on her that her last name is Sellers, and she works in purchasing. People can have fun with that.
“Never heard that one before,” she deadpanned.
Sellers feels it's the right time to retire. She plans to spend more time with her two granddaughters, Allie and Reagan, and hasn’t been shy about showing their photos to everyone.
“I’m ready,” she said. “I have loved working at the College, and I am thankful for all of the amazing experiences that I have had at HFC. but, on to new adventures! I will miss my coworkers and the students. This has been my life for a long time. I have made many friendships that will last long after I retire. HFC has been good to me, and I hope I have been good to HFC.”