When this longtime WWU staffer retired in 2022, she made sure to leave a legacy for future students

Dee Dee Lombard retired in 2022 after 37 years at WWU
Dee Dee Lombard retired last year after 37 years of service to Western. This image was taken on her first day of work at the university in 1986.

In 2022, DeeDee Lombard retired from Western after 37 years of service to the university. Now, she’s partnering with the Philosophy Department to help support current and future students with a new scholarship. We talked to Dee Dee about her time at the university, and why it meant so much to her to leave a legacy for future students.

How did you get your start at Western?

My aunt (Prof Barbera Unger) was teaching in the Finance/Marketing department at Western and had been encouraging me to check out employment at the university for several years. In 1985 I applied for a position in the Cashiers Office and was hired that spring. While on maternity leave in 1986 I applied for an administrative position in the Chemistry Department and started there in September, 1986.

When did you move to Philosophy?

I transferred to the Philosophy Department in 1993 to take on a higher-level administrative position (Secretary Supervisor) and ended my career as an Administrative Services Manager. This job change was perfect for me and my 2 young children as it started out as a 9 month/6-hour position which allowed me to have time off in the summer and be with them before and after school.

What’s one happy memory from your time in philosophy, or something you miss about the job?

I enjoyed working with the Philosophy Club officers on their annual Philosophy Student Conference, advising transfer students during summer session, mentoring students throughout the year, and helping in the scholarship process every spring. I was blessed to work with so many fantastic Professors and students/majors while working in the department—I was always treated with respect and felt like part of a family.

What have you been up to during retirement?

I have been spending time with family and friends, but especially love the extra time I have with my grandkids, Billie Annemarie (8) and Matthew (6). I’ve been able to help with school field trips, picking them up after school, having sleep overs, and vacations together.

I have also been enjoying traveling; Napa/Sonoma/Sierra Foothills, Las Vegas and a trip to Switzerland/France/Luxemburg/England where my husband and I were finally able to celebrate our 40th Anniversary, my 65th birthday, and retirement (which all happened during Covid). We are organizing an Alaska cruise this year and will be taking a train trip to Banff, Canada in the fall.

How did you first get the idea to start a scholarship in your family’s honor?

I volunteered for the scholarship department for several years screening student applications and while working in the Chemistry and Philosophy departments I helped in the scholarship process and knew how important scholarships are to students to be able to continue their education.

When my aunt, Barbara Unger, passed away in 2019 she blessed me with some money and I thought she would be pleased for some of that money to go to students at WWU where she and I both worked.

Are there any particular hopes that you have for the scholarship?

My hope is that it will give students a little peace of mind knowing that they are getting help with a small part of their education and to be able to list it on applications if they decide to continue their education after WWU or on a job application. Our family feels blessed to be able to help in a small way to help students in their educational career at WWU .

Plans for the DeNora Lombard Family Scholarship in Philosophy were finalized this quarter, and the first annual award will be given out in the spring. The scholarship is made possible by a generous gift from the Lombard family, along with support from the Philosophy Department and other donors. Those wishing to contribute in honor of DeeDee can do so by going to the Western Gives page and searching for the Lombard Scholarship.