Deborah Szasz: Retiring After 42 Years at WAU

Written by: Dachele Cuke

 Deborah Szasz: Retiring After 42 Years at WAUDeborah Szasz, WAU’s library employee of 40+ years, has been with Columbia Union College/Washington Adventist University since the day she was born, quite literally in fact — She was born at Washington Sanitarium & Hospital, which was located on campus years ago! 


As Deborah began the journey of life, she started her educational path at John Nevin’s Andrews School. After attending there she went to Takoma Academy and lastly Columbia Union College (WAU), majoring in Music Education with an organ minor. Since getting this major, she has played the organ for church and many WAU events, she has used this talent in amazing ways, but she has another passion, and that’s the library position she had at WAU. 


“It was a great privilege to work at WAU’s Weis Library,” says Deborah. Throughout her years at the library, she’s worked under Margaret von Hake, 1978-2007, Lee Wisel, 2007-2014, and lastly Don Essex, 2015 – 2020. She enjoyed working with everyone she came across and they enjoyed her too!


Her co-worker, Kathy Hecht, will especially miss her presence. “How do you transition from seeing someone at work for 40+ years to starting a new school year without them?” she exclaims, “Work will not be the same, but everywhere there will be reminders. The archives where Debby’s institutional memory provided so many shortcuts for research questions. The stacks where we hid and played tricks on other staff members.  The Curriculum Library where she recommended and processed most of the items on the shelves. She wasn’t just a co-worker, she was my work sister.  We will still be in each other’s lives after her retirement and that is a very great comfort.”


Debby has been a fixture and integral part of Weis Library for decades,”  adds Don Essex, “Although I rejoice with her in celebration of her retirement, she will be missed. You simply cannot replace an employee that has over 40 years experience and has been involved in the library, university, and church for so long.”


Deborah was interested in library work since 2nd grade. Her teacher, Anne Peeke, who was John Nevens Andrews School’s first librarian was the one who inspired her. She later enrolled in CUC’s library science minor and after completion of the course work, the acquisitions technician position opened up in Weis Library and the rest is history!

“I have enjoyed my job at Weis Library and I will miss interacting with my present coworkers Kathy Hecht, Genevieve Singh, Don Essex, and many student workers but I’ll be back to visit!” She smiles.


Now that she is retiring, Deborah plans on staying in the area and spending more time visiting family and friends. Retirement is a process and after working for both Columbia Union College and Washington Adventist University for 42 yrs. in the Weis Library, she prays for the next steps in this process. 


WAU IS PRAYING FOR YOU! Thank you for all the years you put into CUC/WAU Deborah! Congratulations on your retirement! You will be missed!

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