Finding a dream job can be hard for some people, but not for Andrea Rangel.
Rangel has been helping students at South Plain College for 44 years and is planning to retire on Dec. 14 of the 2018 fall semester.
Originally from Brownfield, Texas, Rangel graduated in 1972 from Brownfield High School and came to SPC during the fall semester of that year. She graduated from SPC in 1974 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Secretarial Science.
During the summer after her graduation, Rangel says that SPC sent her a follow-up to see what she was doing. She had been working at a summer job that was about to end. The administrative dean at the time contacted her soon after, offering her a part-time job at the college.
Rangel then began working on earning her bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University. She also decided to start a family. She married her husband in 1976 and lived in Levelland for two years before moving to Lubbock. Around the time when they decided to move to Lubbock was when the Lubbock campus was opening. So, Rangel decided to transfer to work in the Financial Aid Office.
“I was able to complete my bachelor’s but not my master’s, because you know, life happens and the little ones took up more time than I anticipated,” Rangel explained jokingly. “I was trying to raise a family, go to school full time, and work at the college.”
She worked in the Financial Aid Office for a while before moving to the Admissions and Records Office at the Lubbock campus. Although Rangel had a lot of responsibilities, that did not slow her down from pursuing higher education. She graduated from TTU in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education.
“At first, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this, everything is so hard,’” Rangel recalled. “But what encouraged me is being a first-generation college student. I wasn’t prepared for the college route, but the professors were wonderful, and they were all very encouraging.”
For Rangel, everything was quickly falling into place, and she knew that SPC was where she wanted to stay.
“My parents worked in the fields for the majority of their lives, and I didn’t want to do that same thing,” Rangel says. “My grandmother would always tell me that she also didn’t want me working in the fields like the rest of my family… and the rest is history.”
After completing her bachelor’s degree, a position opened at the Levelland campus and she was quickly recruited.
“I was offered the position at the Levelland campus and I became assistant registrar,” Rangel says. “I held that position for about six years.”
After serving as assistant registrar, Rangel was offered the job of Dean of Admissions and Records in 1998 and has held the position since then.
“My parents taught me to be a hard worker,” she said. “So, I just went along with it and kept on going.”
During her time at SPC, Rangel has seen many changes, such as the diversity of the students on campus and technology being used throughout the campus. But she says that one thing that has stayed the same is the college’s mission to improve each student’s life.
“My goal has always been to do whatever I could to help students out,” Rangel said, “And I have really enjoyed working with them so they can be successful. I don’t know how many graduations I have been to, but every time I get so emotional because it’s so wonderful getting to see these students complete their education at SPC.”
After retirement, Rangel plans on spending more time with her sons and granddaughters who live in Dallas, Texas, as well as relaxing at her lake house in Runaway Bay, Texas, with her husband.
“People think I am not much of an outdoor person,” Rangel said, “but I really do love to go out there and get on the boat or the jet skis.”
She and her husband also have a membership for a dance club which they go to every once and a while with 50 other couples.
Rangel also says that she hopes to spend more time traveling.