Applying to Clark State Community College for a job as a switchboard operator in 1985, Marylu Shobe had no idea that she would spend the next 30 years enjoying a career that brought her into contact with thousands of students and people in the community.
Shobe actually didn’t get the switchboard operator job; instead, she was hired as a cashier. It was the last few days before fall quarter was to begin at Clark State, and she efficiently handled the constant line of students coming in person to pay their tuition. Despite her concerns that perhaps she had made a mistake due to the demands of the job, Shobe decided to stay with it, and she soon became known as “the friendly lady who takes my money every quarter.” Shobe’s approachable personality and superior customer service made her an instant success with students. It was common for her to be recognized in the grocery store and be asked when fees were next due.
As Clark State moved into the next generation of technology, Shobe helped the office move from a manual paper and typewriter-based billing system to the computer-based Datatel Colleague system in 1991. In addition, she was instrumental in helping Clark State become the first community college in Ohio—and just the second college in the state—to implement a delayed payment program which provided an alternative to paying the full amount of tuition at once for students not receiving some form of financial aid. The delayed payment program helped make college more financially accessible for many students.
After 13 years as the College’s cashier, Shobe embarked on a new career at Clark State. In 1998 she was promoted to box office manager at the newly constructed Clark State Performing Arts Center. If there was a position created just for Shobe, this was it. Shobe’s customer service and love of the arts made her a perfect fit. She enjoyed talking with people who came in to purchase tickets to an upcoming event. If you were one of the lucky few who received a personal tour from Shobe, she would keep you entertained with stories of her experiences with entertainers who performed at the Performing Arts Center. “The Performing Arts Center was one of the best things that happened in our community,” she said.
Shobe said there have been many memorable performers at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, but she ranks B.B. King, Willie Nelson and Hal Holbrook as a few of her favorites, “To be in the same room with B.B. King was an experience I will never forget.” Shobe also recalls how she once baked cookies for country singer Collin Raye. After learning that he wanted cookies—preferably home-baked—as part of his contract, Shobe delivered her home-baked cookies to Raye the following day.
Throughout her 30-year career, Shobe has worked with four of the College’s five presidents, participated in a taping for Good Morning America and received an award for outstanding performance.
“I have been truly blessed to have a job that I’ve enjoyed so much,” said Shobe. Now she is looking forward to volunteering in the community and spending more time traveling to her favorite destinations like Las Vegas and Florida.