Barb (Vail) Robertson, class of 1976, has a long history with Northwest Nazarene University. Growing up on and around campus, she built relationships with the people of NNU that kept her connected and gave her a front row seat to the transformative work of the university.
“One of my earliest memories is this community of faculty kids and faculty. We knew all of the faculty—we all lived right around the campus. It was just this huge group of kids that all through the summer and every Sunday night after church would meet and play. It was my family. It was not just a place where my parents worked—it was my life, my network of friends.”
Watching her parents, Elmore and Jeanne Vail, invest in the lives of students and dedicate themselves to the university left an indelible impression on Barb, but she discovered later as a student and employee that their story wasn’t unique.
“Probably what has stuck with me most about being involved and connected to NNU as a child, as a student, as an employee or just as a supporter, is that whether it’s a faculty member in my life or a coach in a student-athlete’s life, that it’s more than a job for these people—it is a calling, and they pour their hearts and lives into the students of this place,” she said.
When considering her employment as the assistant athletic director for NNU—a dream come true for her to follow in her father’s footsteps by working in NNU Athletics—she saw the legacy of transformation first hand. Robertson remembers, “Probably the most rewarding thing about it was seeing how years after my dad was coaching, these young coaches, and some older coaches, still poured their lives into these student-athletes and loved them and helped transform them into better people than they were when they came.”
The legacy of family, community and relationships built at NNU has stuck with her, and it is one that she knows will continue into the future. “I think the thing that has stayed the same, and that I don’t believe will ever change, is the people of this place—it’s more than a job, it’s more than a career, it is a calling. They are here for the students, and they are here to help a student find the Lord if they don’t know the Lord, and see that their lives are transformed. My dad, my mom and all the faculty were doing that 50 years ago, and I know that they’re still doing it today—I’ve seen it time and time again,” she said.
“I think the reason I still support NNU is because it’s just been my life. It’s been part of my life since the time I was a child, to going to school here, to working here to volunteering here after I retired. I have seen the impact the people of this place have made on hundreds and thousands of students, and I want to be a part of that. I want to give and contribute my time and maybe think that something I have done or that I am doing will make a difference in the life of a student who comes to NNU.”
Join Barb in continuing the NNU story by making transformation possible for the next generation of students. Visit nnu.edu/campaign to learn more.