Behind that welcoming smile that greets every visitor stopping by the Office of Institutional Advancement, there is a “heart for serving Barton.” Everyone who knows Frances Belcher also knows that she is passionate about Barton College.
She takes every opportunity she can to encourage others to get to know Barton and its multi-faceted story. And, she encourages them to also invest in Barton’ future. Frances knows firsthand what every dollar raised can mean for Barton and especially for its students.
As the Development Projects Specialist for the Institutional Advancement, Frances juggles myriad responsibilities in the office. While corresponding regularly with donors, she is also working alongside IA officers throughout comprehensive and project campaigns for the College. And, she maintains an extensive scholarship endowment master list that she created, which helps her in the preparation and distribution of annual endowment reports to donors.
Who organizes the student’s Scholarship Note Writing Day? Frances does. She makes sure each student receiving a scholarship also takes time to write his/her donor a thank-you note. She supports fellow team members with the planning and preparation of a variety of signature events on campus, including the Wilson-Barton Partnership, Homecoming, and the annual Scholarship Luncheon for donors and student recipients. And, whenever someone is trying to remember an obscure but important detail about a gift or project, Frances almost always knows the answer or where to find the information. She truly is a “walking archive” for the College’s IA Office.
Frances arrived at Barton in August 1998 and celebrated her 18th anniversary earlier this year. Married to her husband, Jerry, for 41 years, with two grown children, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson, she will tell you that God is at the “top of her list,” and family and friends come next. But then, she grins and whispers that Barton runs a close third!
When asked what makes Barton so special in her life, Frances explains, “It’s the team spirit on campus! From the physical plant staff to her colleagues across campus, it’s that collaboration that I most appreciate.” She also adds an appreciative note for training support, sharing, “Barton has allowed me to keep up with the ever-evolving technology, which has been integral to my job responsibilities during my time at Barton.”
After a pause, she adds, “In the midst of Barton’s professional environment, there’s very much a family-like atmosphere here on campus. We really do care about each other; we celebrate the joys in life and comfort each other in times of loss. There’s just a lot of compassion on this campus.”
The most rewarding moments for Frances have been observing the donors and student scholarship recipients visiting together during the annual Scholarship Luncheon. “I love to hear why the donors give back to Barton; they always share their own personal experiences while they were students here or share why they want to pay a past kindness forward,” Frances explains. “And, then the students follow with their stories of how these scholarship gifts have made the difference in whether they could attend college or not. They are so appreciative. That’s what working at Barton is all about.”