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Ginger Davis Retires After 40 Years at NC State

Ginger Davis moved to the Triangle in 1979 when her husband matriculated to NC State. This month, she will retire after 40 years of outstanding service to the campus community.

The executive assistant to Bailian Li, senior vice provost for global engagement, Davis started her career in Physical Plant, now Facilities. She’s had quite the career on campus, which you can read more about in the Office of Global Engagement’s staff spotlight. We recently spoke to Davis about her time at NC State, what she’s looking forward to in retirement and more.

What are your plans for retirement?

I’m going to get started on a routine — it will be so different not coming in to work every day! I’ll definitely be catching up on my reading. My husband will be continuing to work, but we’ll be taking some trips together. I’m going to be doing things that have been left by the wayside, that I haven’t been able to do all these years I’ve been working.

Of course, retirement will still include some trips back to campus. NC State is an integral part of our lives — I’ve worked here for 40 years and my husband went to school here. When you’re connected to a place for so long, that makes it hard not to be here anymore. The people I’ve worked with have become more than co-workers. They’re really part of my family.

What is one place you dream of traveling?

There are so many places that look absolutely wonderful, and I’ve been to some gorgeous places already, including Australia and Bermuda. I would really like to travel to Paris, though, and I think that would be a wonderful experience.

What is your favorite NC State memory?

I’ve had so many wonderful memories that it is hard to narrow them down. We moved here in 1979 for my husband to go to school here, and I was in my 20s then. Experiencing all of the changes of seasons on campus, with students coming and going, has been awesome.

Some of my favorite earlier memories revolve around my time in Physical Plant when I would wait in the evenings for my husband to get out of class, and I would watch him walk to my office to pick me up. I’ve had some really great supervisors along the way, and I never really had to look for a job because I was approached to work in different areas from people I already knew. I’ve been in the Office of Global Engagement for 20 years, and have had so many wonderful memories here. I’ve been very lucky to never have had a bad experience in my working life, and that is very unusual for someone who has worked for 40 years.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen on campus?

There has been so much change during my time here — changes in administration, chancellors and bosses. The university has grown so much. When I started in Physical Plant, they really didn’t even have computers and we did things manually. The rise of computers and the Internet was a really big change. Centennial Campus wasn’t here when I started, and campus has really spread out. Primrose Hall, the building we’re in now, has always been a beautiful building and I’m glad it was renovated and made alive again.

What advice do you have for young people starting out in the working world?

Stay focused on your goals. People tend to not stay at an organization or company for long, but I think it is really important to have some sort of stability in your career. Find your home and try to be the best person you can be and the best at whatever you’re doing.