“I meet people all the time who recognize my voice but they don’t know me,” says Debbie Cook. “I get that from people who have worked here for years and from people who are visiting campus for the first time. They say, ‘You’re the voice on the phone!’”
For the last 18 years, Cook has been ‘The voice of Trinity.’ As the switchboard operator and front desk attendant in Mather Hall, she handles everything from routing calls and helping visitors locate a particular office to tracking down students who have lost valuable belongings. “I just recently had a student who lost all of his insulin and his needles,” she explains. “He forgot his backpack and I had to practically tear the whole bag apart to figure out who it belonged to. But I found him. He was pretty happy to get that bag back.”
Raised in a small town in North Carolina, Cook now lives in New Britain with her husband, Donn. They got married the same day they met. “It sounds funny, I know,” she says with her trademark smile. “I was living in Chicago, working for Loctite Corporation, and he was working in Connecticut for the same company. That, of course, is another connection to Trinity. The company sent him out to do something in the building where I worked and I thought he was kind of cute. I asked him over for dinner and he ended up making dinner for me because I couldn’t really cook and he could. And that was it. We’ve been married for 28 years.”
Cook says that the best part of her job is her almost constant interaction with the students, something she says she never gets enough of. “When they go on break, I enjoy the quiet for a day or two and then I start missing them. I really love these kids. They have such an energy and excitement about them. It’s contagious.”
When she’s not fielding calls for the College, Cook is active in social causes. She is involved with Amnesty International and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, both of which she says she became interested in through her support for students. She and Donn also like to camp and they try to take students along on trips whenever they can.
“Being around so many young people helps to keep me young,” she says. “After all these years, I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Trinity is my home.”