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Kim De Leon is standing in front of the bronze mastodon statue.

Kim De Leon: Mastodon Memories

This summer series explores the campus experiences of current PFW faculty and staff who are also alumni.

By Blake Sebring

July 6, 2023

Kim De Leon, B.G.S. ’05

Kim De Leon graduated in 2005, but her time on campus cannot be told in a linear fashion. She started working here in 1993 as an administrative assistant in financial aid for six years and began taking classes in 1996. She then moved to the general studies academic unit as an administrative assistant for four years, continuing her studies part-time. Next came a request from the registrar who asked her to become assistant registrar before she transferred in 2005 to a business analyst position for the following decade. Then she moved to Purdue West Lafayette to work four years in information technology before coming back to Fort Wayne in May 2019 to become one of three associate registrars.

Where are you from and why did you choose to go to school here?

KDL: I graduated in 1985 from Heritage High School and worked and got married with a daughter and a second one on the way. I was just doing temp work after my second daughter was born. I was thinking about going to school here when I thought maybe I should try to get a job on campus, too. I worked but didn’t attend classes right away. 

I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have the time with the kids. I went to an advisor and said I was kind of interested in general studies and asked if I’d be able to be employed with that degree. Julie Hook educated me on all my options. It also allowed me to minor in creative writing and women’s studies. 

What car were you driving at the time?

KDL: It was a burgundy 1992 Pontiac Grand AM we could put the kids in.

How did you pick your major? 

KDL: I decided to do general studies because it touched on all kinds of different things. I could still do some other areas that I wanted, like taking a couple of psychology courses. 

How did coming to school here change your life? 

KDL: My husband was in a work accident in 1996, and I was worried about how I’d support my family if something happened to him. That was the catalyst to get me started, but one of the benefits I got out of it came with my daughters when the three of us walked out the door with our bookbags every day. Both of my kids have a degree. My oldest one has a bachelor’s from PFW in general studies, and my daughter has an associate degree from Ivy Tech in criminal justice. They are both very successful in their careers. 

What was it like seeing your daughter go through here? 

KDL: It was really rewarding because she would come and talk to me and ask me questions about courses and scheduling, etc. I was really proud because she was willing to stay here. She wasn’t one of those kids who said, `I’m going to New York or somewhere else for school.’ She thought that was too much money. I did make her go through commencement, and luckily, she was fine with that.

What kind of music were you listening to and who was your favorite artist or band?

KDL: I’m a total ‘80s girl through and through. I do like the Back Street Boys because my daughter got me into them.  Def Leppard is my favorite, and I love Night Ranger, Bryan Adams, Journey, Toto – all those classic ‘80s groups. I’m just stuck in the ‘80s!

Were you a member of any student organizations? 

KDL: I was a member of an honors society for returning adult students called Omicron Psi, and I also worked on “Confluence,” which was a literary magazine with submissions from students. Rick Ramsey, the chair of English pulled a few of us together to start publishing it again. I won an award for my glossary page at a Ball State competition. The second year, I published it again to earn three credit hours.

Did you have favorite professors and why:

KDL: I had two favorite professors. Mary Ann Cain was one of the creative writing teachers. She was really a fun teacher because she let you go out and do it. There weren’t a lot of restrictions when she gave you assignments, and even when she did, they were kind of fun to try to meet them. I also liked Lesa Rae Vartanian, who was a psychology professor. She was a very nice person who made it easy to understand. 

How has PFW changed for the better? 

KDL: I love what we are doing with Sweetwater and the music and art programs. The graduate programs have grown, and it’s great to see housing filled up as well.