Married couple retiring after committing 76 combined years to Mississippi university

Published 8:18 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Husband and wife Ricky and Karen Shaw are retiring from The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Gulf Park Campus after a combined total of 76 years of dedicated service.

Karen Shaw retires after 44 years working in the Gulf Coast Library; Ricky Shaw retires after 32 years in the University Police Department at Gulf Park.

The void will be felt as the two start a new journey as retirees, say their colleagues from both Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses who wished the Shaws farewell during their retirement reception at the Gulf Coast Library.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lisa Carter, Major of Coastal Operations, and University Police Sergeant Shawn Rodgers said it’s a bittersweet moment for the department.

“He gave us 32 years,” said Carter. “He’s seen a lot of changes out here. I wish him well in his new endeavor.”

“It’s going to be hard to fill his shoes. He did a lot around here,” said Rodgers. “He is very personable and worked mostly the night shift. Everything was safe and secure when he was here. He went above and beyond the call of duty.”

After showing a video montage of photos of the two during their time at USM, those in attendance hugged both Karen and Ricky as talk of memories filled the third floor of the library.

Dean of University Libraries Dr. John Eye talked about Karen’s dedication to her work.

“You don’t have to be around Karen much to see how committed she is to USM,” Dr. Eye said. “She has committed her working life to the university and her enthusiasm for the Gulf Park Library is obvious. I wish her the best as she enters this new phase of her life.”

Interlibrary Loan and Circulation Specialist Cameron Faulk talked about Karen’s leaving like losing a member of the family.

“Karen, ever since the first day I worked at the USM Gulf Park Library in 2015, I have known you,” Faulk said to Shaw. “You are synonymous with the USM Library system. Forty-four years is nothing to scoff at. Only a very minority of people work for an institution that long, especially in this day and age. When you retire, a little piece of the USM Gulf Park Library is retiring too. Thank you for everything you have done. You are more than deserving of retirement and we will miss you.”