Tammy Vavra: Registrar and strong shoulder

Tammy Vavra
At any College of Law graduation, the longest line for hugs forms in front of Registrar Tammy Vavra.

Tammy is the one who’s helped them with their course schedules, dropping and adding classes when necessary, scheduled make-up finals when disaster happened, held their hands when they fell apart, and always, always had a box of tissues ready to dry their tears.

Tammy came to the College of Law from Wyoming 25 years ago, and her first assignment was as faculty support for Professor Jon Rose. She worked in the Dean’s Office, then Admissions, then as Registrar.

She’s worked for six different deans, but says her job stays remarkably the same.

“Tammy has been a fixture at the College of Law for as long as most of us can remember," said Dean Douglas Sylvester. "Our faculty and staff actually benefit from her unique skill set, work ethic and infectious demeanor as much as our students do – and that is saying a lot. She is an invaluable member of the College of Law family.”

Tom Williams, Chief of Staff and Assistant Dean of Operations and Information Technologies, said he met Tammy when he was a student.

"She was incredibly helpful, always smiling and looking to make a difference in the lives of the students," Williams said. "Now I get to work with her, and in addition to the person I knew as a student, I now know someone who is hard working and dedicated to getting the job done."

Tammy said the most challenging of her tasks has always been administering exams.

"It's so important to keep everything straight, to make sure they’re all in,” Tammy said. “The most fun is working with and interacting with the students.

“Every year, there’s a new group. When I started, I was their age. Now I could be their mother.”

Getting everyone into the classes they want or need is a painstaking, exacting, time-consuming task, and during registration, Vavra is often at her desk seven days a week.

“We used to have to input every student’s schedule by hand,” she said. “And if the power went out, we lost everything and had to start over.”

Now, students can register online, but it’s still a stressful time for them.

“It’s so competitive, and they’re all top students, so they put a lot of stress on themselves,” Tammy said.
No one has ever offered her a bribe in advance to squeeze them into a particular class, but she has gotten chocolates or cookies after the fact when someone gets the class they really needed.

“They’re very sweet,” she said.
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