Opinion | Kesner cooks up conversation, smiles


Ryan Ash

Kathy Kesner, cafeteria worker at Newman Hall, creates strong bonds with students of many different backgrounds in the Newman Hall community.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

For most students living in dorms, their time in the cafeteria isn’t too exciting. They eat their meal and continue with their day.

If you’re longing for a better meal experience, however, look no further than the Newman Hall cafeteria, where Kathy Kesner serves up more than a club sandwich.

“My favorite part about Newman Hall, without a doubt, is the students,” Kesner, who has worked at Newman Hall for Hendrick House, a student dining company, since February 2020, said. “They’re the reason I love my job so much here.”

During her time at Newman, she has cultivated relationships with students from all walks of life. Whether they discuss school, music, modern literature or everyday life, there’s always something to talk about.

“The best part of talking with the students is that I feel that sometimes they have conversations with me that maybe they don’t feel comfortable having with one of their peers,” Kesner said. “I think that I have cultivated a reputation that I am not judgmental and easy to talk to.”

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Whether she is making sandwiches at the deli counter, stocking the snack shelf at the nightly Grab-N-Go or manning the front desk where students scan for meals, there’s always a moment for Kesner to have conversations with students.

“I really enjoy the community of Newman Hall,” she said. “By and large, all of the students are kind and respectful, and I couldn’t be more grateful for my current position.”

After spending 35 years in ophthalmology, Kesner said working in foodservice is quite satisfying, but differently.

“My time so far at Newman Hall has definitely been life-changing,” Kesner said. “On a daily basis, I see so many of the students and have learned their names as they have learned mine. In medicine, I would see a patient maybe only once and never again. Medicine is very satisfying but in a completely different way. The students here have reminded me of the possibilities in life.”

Kesner added she is thankful for all of the students she has met so far and the friendships she’s made with each of them.

“I’m happy I’m able to be a part of their day,” Kesner said. “Sometimes, everyday conversation with others can be some of the best medicine in the world. I’m glad I can be a part of that with these students at Newman Hall.”

Noah is a senior in Media.

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