Emma Williams, a current employee of Troy University, has dedicated 45 years of her life working as a cook in the Trojan Dining Hall.
Williams started working on Oct. 2, 1972, as a part-time job after she saw the job posting in the Troy Messenger.
“The advertisement came up on the paper, and I went in to ask for a job,” Williams said. “I had to fill out an application, and the manager back then hired me.”
Williams said that she worked her way up to a full-time breakfast cook and has kept the position since then.
According to Williams, for the past 45 years, her day has started at 4 a.m. when she gets herself ready and drives to Troy from Saco, a small town 20 miles from Troy. She arrives at Troy before 6 a.m. to get the food out by 7 a.m. for students.
“I cook and serve breakfast, help a little with lunch, then clean up around 1 o’clock,” Williams said. “I go back at 2 o’clock.”
Williams said that she never has much difficulty balancing work and life.
“I had a child when I first started here,” Williams said. “Every day she would ride the bus to school and was dropped off after school.
“I always get off and arrive at home before she comes back; then I can spend the rest of the day with my daughter.”
Williams said her husband and daughter are still very supportive of what she is doing.
She said being a breakfast cook is the only job she ever had, and it is a part of her life now.
“I love this job because I can interact with my co-workers and students every day, and I can also learn many recipes from the chef,” Williams said. “I consider all the students my children.
“Just seeing them enjoying the foods I cook makes me happy.”
Williams said that throughout 45 years working here in Troy, she has witnessed many changes in the dining hall and the university.
“The new Dining Hall is absolutely bigger and better,” Williams said. “It has more foods, more variety of foods and a lot of stations that cater for students with different preferences.
“The Dining Hall means a lot to me; I have spent the bigger half of my life here, and I love it.”
Chancellor Jack Hawkins said he knows Williams and appreciates her service to the university.
“She has provided outstanding service to Troy University students for almost five decades,” Hawkins said. “The fact that Mrs. Williams has worked here for 45 years speaks to her tremendous work ethic and her dedication to our students’ well-being.
“Mrs. Williams sets an excellent example for all faculty and staff to emulate. She is the best.”
Lucille Anderson, a full-time server at the deli station in the Dining Hall from Troy, said that she has known Williams for 38 years.
“I have been working with Mrs. Emma Williams since 1979 when I first got in,” Anderson said. “She is a nice lady who is always willing to help.
“She trains a lot of new employees. When I just got here after high school, she encouraged and motivated me to stay on job. I was able to make a living myself, and I’ve stuck with this job since then.”
Anderson said that she would love for the Dining Hall to have a wall of fame to appreciate all the people who have dedicated their lives here.
“I suggested that the Dining Hall could put pictures of their employees up on the wall for students to know the names of people who serve them,” Anderson said.
According to Hawkins, Sodexo honored Williams with a commemorative plaque, a gift card and special apparel.