Face in the Crowd

Imagine this: you are working at your desk, typing up a letter of acceptance for a prospective student, and all of the sudden the sound of bagpipes filters in through the window overlooking the woods.

Sounds strange? For Colleen Bradstreet, music department executary for eleven years, it is a normal occurrence.

“Sometimes we can hear (first-year) Lucas Mitsch from here,” Bradstreet said, pointing out of the window in the second floor of Workman Hall towards the woods near Eagle Road. “See that rock right there underneath the big tree? He sits right there and plays.”

Bradstreet has become accustomed to the Eastern community, and not just during the past eleven years. A 1976 Eastern College alumna, Bradstreet graduated with a Bachelors of Science in elementary education, with a concentration in sociology and a minor in German. She then went on to earn her master’s in Counseling at Villanova in 1980, earning her certification in early childhood education at the same time. With this education at her disposal, Bradstreet taught at the elementary education level until 1985.

It was at Eastern, though, where Bradstreet made the most memories. As for why she came: The majority of her family were Messiah alumni, and she wanted to go someplace where no one would know her.

“We heard an ad on a Christian radio station about Eastern,” Bradstreet said. “My mom said I should apply, and I did, and, as they say, the rest is history. Glad I came; otherwise, I wouldn’t have met my husband.”

Her husband, Dr. David Bradstreet, is a professor and chair of astronomy and physics at Eastern, as well as the observatory/planetarium director. They married in July 1976 and lived in an apartment above the maintenance cottage on campus for nine years. The couple now lives in Norristown.

Their two sons, Andrew and Jonathan, were ’08 and ’09 Eastern alumni respectively. Andrew is training to be a pilot in the Navy, and Jonathan is a high school math teacher. The couple also sponsored Boubacar Sacko, a young man from Mali, Africa, to earn his bachelor’s degree at Eastern while he lived with them for two and a half years. He then got a master’s at Villanova and is currently living near Washington, D.C., employed as an Immigration Customs Enforcement agent.

Bradstreet began working at Eastern in 2000. Sarah Miles, the Dean of Academics at the time, was about to step into a new position and would need a part-time assistant to help with the adjustment, so Bradstreet began working at the music department while waiting for Miles to prepare for the move. However, the music department position turned out to be a full-time job.

“It was more than enough for one person,” Bradstreet said. “I never did work for Sarah Miles.”

So what exactly does an executary do? Bradstreet’s duties include organizing the annual opera trip, setting up senior recitals, scheduling auditions for prospective students and acting as the Tri-Country concerts’ liaison. She also has a hand in anything involving the University Choir, including ordering CDs and caring for uniforms, as well as arranging for the continual care of the campus pianos and dealing with faculty loans and private lesson payroll.

One of the major challenges Bradstreet faces? Finding the time to get everything done.

“Eastern is a wonderful place to work,” Bradstreet said. “Who could ask for a better boss? I can’t imagine a better job.”

Before Bradstreet worked at Eastern, she was a group exercise instructor, executive assistant for the president of a computer software company (as well as for a doctor) and the owner of a country woodcraft business.

“I like to make things with my hands,” Bradstreet said. She also likes to make her own jewelry on the side which she will sell during Homecoming and sometimes at music department events.

In short, Bradstreet enjoys working at Eastern. “It doesn’t matter what department you go to, everybody is great,” she said. “There are just a lot of nice people who work at Eastern. Also, I really love the Christian fellowship at Eastern. We’re not just co-workers, we’re friends.”

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