Carey, who retired last week, was known as the "first lady of Botolph House" by members of the president's and executive vice president's staff, and the ideal person to fill a challenging and delicate job.
Catherine "Kay" Carey: "BC has been a very special place to work. In my 14 years here I can honestly say that there is no one I have not liked working with." (Lee Pellegrini photo)
"Kay was everyone's first impression of the President's Office, and often of Boston College," said Diane Fahey, administrative secretary. "She is such a kind and decent person; she always represented us well."
"Whether you were a parent, a trustee or a delivery person, she made everyone feel welcome," said Rose Mary Donahue, assistant to the president. "She is an extraordinary worker and a wonderful person."
Added administrative secretary and longtime friend Maureen Deeley, "Kay is a kind, genuine and loving person who brings out the best in people. She is the person who, when she's out on vacation, everyone counts the days until she is back."
Jim Lehane, executive assistant to the president and Carey's supervisor, describes her as an attentive and sympathetic listener who has a unique ability to put people at ease. "Kay's is a challenging job because she has to deal with all people whether they call to offer praise or to voice a concern. Her even disposition and warm smile helps her to deal with all circumstances. We are truly going to miss her."
It is a sentiment shared by University President William P. Leahy, SJ. "Kay has been such a bright and welcoming presence at Botolph House. We will miss her warmth and hospitality."
"I would not have gotten through seven years of school without her," said Kathy Sanger, executive secretary to the EVP. "It's like having another mother at work in the very best sense of the word. She's a loving, supportive confidante for us all."
Added Betty McCormack, administrative secretary in the President's Office, "Kay is the rock, the buffer zone and the mother of Botolph House. We all loved her and looked to her for her guidance. She will be greatly missed."
Upon hearing of her retirement, colleagues throughout the BC community recalled Carey as someone who never forgot a birthday or anniversary and who frequently gathered gift bags with assorted candies for the children of those who visited Botolph House.
"Every Halloween Kay gives us candy bars and every Valentines Day we get homemade cookies," said Judy Kissane, assistant to the EVP. "She also brings in cakes for everyone's birthday so that no one is forgotten."
"Kay is the type of person who is truly happy for you when things go well and who is sincerely sad when trouble strikes in your life," said Administrative Assistant Denise Pantano Williams. "She is an incredibly thoughtful and genuine person."
Those qualities have been displayed throughout the West Roxbury native's life, according to Carey's daughter Marilyn. "She was faithfully involved in our school and in our various activities while always finding time for the elderly neighbors or the sick relatives. She is very loving, but she can also be very strong during the difficult times."
While adept at handling the many challenges of her receptionist role, Carey is uncomfortable with the recent attention.
"BC has been a very special place to work," said Carey. "In my 14 years here I can honestly say that there is no one I have not liked working with. I will miss the contact with the students because they kept me young, and I will miss walking over to Mass because I always loved listening to the Jesuits. But most of all, I will miss the people at BC, especially my friends in Botolph House. I am retiring, but I know I will always keep in touch."
Her many friends at Boston College wouldn't have it any other way.
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