What to say about Bettie Ann Brigham? You look. I hear her hair is insured for $10,000. I hear she does car commercials…in Japan. The Gryphon even named a drink after her, which places her among Arnold Palmer and Shirley Temple. She comes from the legendary Brigham dynasty, and her parents were just as involved with Eastern University as she is now.
You may be wondering what a typical day in the life of Bettie Ann is like. First, her morning routine: she awakes in her royal chamber. Like Marie Antoinette in the palace of Versailles, her chambermaid arrives with her daily choice of wardrobe (“comfortable, colorful, anti-polyester and an enemy of static electricity,” she says).
After she gets ready to start the day, she arrives via limousine to Eastern University. This is where I come in. I meet her, bowing as is the custom, with clipboard in hand, to accompany her as she goes on her daily routine. She is dressed very elegantly, her hair is shiny, and her earrings reflect light when she moves. She ascends the grand staircase, up to the third floor of Walton, where her royal office awaits. As she and I chat, she advises me to “be careful what you pray for.” Sometimes we pray for something and God might give it to us, or it might not be what we think we need. These are very wise words, and we should all abide by them.
I ask her about her position, and she explains, “I always keeps myself busy, and I enjoy the work that I do.” She is a member of several different organizations, including SGA, the Compliance Committee, and the Founders and Oversight Committee. Her main position is the Vice Provost for Student Development, and that is a position that enables her to interact quite a lot with the Eastern students. Clearly, she has many responsibilities, so she uses her handy dandy phone to keep all of her appointments in check.
There are quite a few things that you may not know about Bettie Ann. Her bookshelves are lined with multiple non-fiction texts, as they are her favorites and she always wants to learn. Also, she is very much a nature lover. She loves tending to her garden, and she even sings! Bettie Ann has sung in choirs all of her life, including her local church choir. Before her meetings, her team of servants specifically brush off any lint on her suits and fix any hairs out of place on her head. During her meetings, she conducts herself with elegance. She’s got style, she’s got grace. She’s a lady.
And this lady conducts herself with poise in all she does: parenting, praying, learning, working. Yet for Bettie Ann, one of the most important parts of her job is the well-being of students. She is at Eastern University primarily to help students to meet challenges that shape their future lives.
Eventually the day comes to an end. As she bids me adieu, she brings forth one more facet of knowledge: “Enjoy what you do.” I take these words to heart. So in the end, who is the real Bettie Ann Brigham? She is a mother, counselor, environmentalist, daughter, wife, child of God, learner, and in some ways, she is very much a student at heart.