DJ Pam Blair reflects on 11 years of service to Saint Mary’s community
Ashanti Leach | Friday, November 16, 2018
After 11 years of dedication to the Saint Mary’s community, DJ Pam Blair is looking forward to a future of music, poetry, warm weather and relaxation as she announced her departure from Saint Mary‘s. She will be taking a new job at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame.
Blair began her career at Saint Mary’s in March 2007 and brought her insight to various departments on campus including Career Crossings, the psychology department, gender and women’s studies and English — she has also been a DJ during Midnight Breakfast.
Blair first began working at Saint Mary’s in the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership.
“When I first was hired here, I was hired into CWIL,” Blair said. “I had a great passion for CWIL. It is the intercultural office. It was the first time ever that I worked in a multicultural office where I was not the only black person. There were people of other races and they all had a passion for unity and racial reconciliation and I fell in love with that.”
Blair’s experience at Saint Mary’s has been filled with everlasting connections between staff, faculty and students.
“When I first started working at Saint Mary’s about 10 years ago, I always heard people talking about Pam Blair,” associate professor of psychology Bettina Spencer said in an email. “Based on what they said about her, I assumed she had been here for decades. It wasn’t until I met her years later that I realized we had started working at Saint Mary’s at the same time. She had made such a big impression on so many people so quickly that it had sounded as if she had been here forever. Once we began working together I got to see firsthand how Pam makes this impression on those around her. She is a wonderful colleague, mentor and friend to so many people in the Saint Mary’s community. She personally connects to students, staff and faculty, and always has words of support and encouragement for anyone who needs them. Pam is an important part of our community, and she has changed it for the better.”
Senior Teresa Brickey describes Blair as “a staple to the [Saint Mary’s] community.” Brickey said she admires Blair for her willingness to make the world better and always being open to difficult discussions.
“I can’t believe Pam is leaving, but I know that she will do well outside of SMC,” Brickey said. “She is talented, driven and compassionate. I wish her the best. I hope we are able to meet again. Her talent in the work of poetry is phenomenal and if anything I hope she gets more time to focus on it now.”
When asked what she learned from Blair, Stacy Davis, professor of religious studies and gender and women’s studies, said she admired Blair’s positivity.
“I will carry with me from my time working with Pam the importance of positivity,” Davis said in an email. “Even when things are difficult, Pam has believed in the importance of kindness and creativity to get through challenging circumstances. I am grateful for that.”
Associate professor and department chair of psychology Karen Chambers said Blair contributed to a warm community at Saint Mary’s.
“I was always grateful for her creativity and always bringing another way of looking at things,” Chambers said. “Also, students were always hanging around in her office. She made the psych suite feel a little more like home.”
Blair has been an involved member of the Saint Mary’s community but also an active participant in the South Bend community. She created The Poetry Den, an open microphone event known for poetry and inclusivity.
Blair said she learned a lot from students and enjoyed building a relationship with faculty. She enjoys sitting in the Diversity Dialogues Saint Mary’s holds.
“Sitting in those circles for the last seven years, I’ve learned a lot by hearing people’s experience from students and non-traditional students,” she said.
Blair said she has gained a lot from her experience in academia and that Saint Mary’s had changed for the better since she began working at the College in 2007. Blaire said there are more first-generation students and that the College feels more like a home but she still encourages Saint Mary’s to still strive for more change.
Blair’s final advice to students was to be themselves and remain humble.
Students and faculty gathered in the psychology suit in Spes Unica on Wednesday to wish Blair a “bon voyage.”
Editor‘s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Pam Blair is retiring. Blair is departing Saint Mary‘s and will be taking a new job at Notre Dame. Additionally, a sentence was misattributed as a quote. The Observer regrets these errors.