After 25 Years, Edie Waldsmith Returned to the Classroom and Rose to the Top of Her Program

August 14, 2019

A group of people lined up

From left, Jack Duggan, Ella Howard, Alexandra Ghiz, Kevin Kidd, Rhonda Postrel, Edie Waldsmith, LeeAnn Gordon, and Jody Gordon during a 2018 Schumann Library exhibit

Already a well-respected Wentworth staff member, Edie Waldsmith decided to return to the classroom after a 25-year break to pursue a degree in Building Construction Management. This Sunday, she’ll graduate with the top GPA in that program.

Having raised children who were heading off to college, Waldsmith decided that she too would like to earn a degree. She began by contacting the College of Professional and Continuing Education in 2008 to find out more about programs for someone interested in construction. In 2014, she was hired to Wentworth’s Physical Plant team and started taking classes shortly after.

“It was daunting to say the least. The last time I had been in a classroom setting was in the late '80s where the task of supporting myself and earning a degree became a daily struggle. I made the decision to put my studies on hold,” she says. “Fortunately for me, the stars aligned at Wentworth and the rest is history.”

Waldsmith embraced being a Leopard from the beginning. In addition to her day job with Physical Plant and taking classes in between, Waldsmith donated to the school, ran as part of Team #WentWorthIt in the Ragnar Relay, attended countless campus events (including Women@Wentworth), and helped with library displays. She most recently took a seat in a dunk tank at the Office of Public Safety's BBQ to support the Student Emergency Fund.

“[Raising money for the Fund] is what I am most proud of,” she says. “It fosters students' success by removing financial stressors, so they can focus on learning. It is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.”

She adds, “There’s a pride I feel every day being a part of the Wentworth community. It’s easy to give back when you feel a strong connection.”

Waldsmith believes that Wentworth provides academic opportunities and the type of welcoming environment—particularly to adult learners—that are not always prevalent at other universities. A smiling presence around campus, she often takes time to chat with other students and lend a hand to faculty and staff.

Waldsmith has also left lasting physical impressions, refurbishing an antique clock for an engineering class, helping to curate and restore bottles and other relics discovered during campus construction, and helping to establish the “Animal Abstractions” exhibit in conjunction with the Schumann Library and Department of Industrial Design.

Sunday’s commencement is bittersweet for Waldsmith, as she’ll miss taking classes. However, a special moment is planned for the Alumni Award winner as her two sons will accompany her across stage as she receives her diploma.

Waldsmith says that aside from heading to the beach with her family after graduating, her future plans are undecided. But she knows that she will “continually sing Wentworth’s praises to anyone who will listen, because I have never seen a community care more about a student’s success.”

And she would encourage anyone thinking of going back to school—no matter their stage of life—to absolutely do so. “Set a goal,” she says, "have a plan, work the plan, and never, ever give up.”

--Greg Abazorius

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