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Donna Kunze, Principal Office Assistant, Set to Retire

An integral part of Campus Activities will be missed by staff and students
Sajad Syed/Compass News

Inside the Office of Campus Activities and Student Leadership Development, Donna Kunze sits at her desk, waiting for students. Whether they have questions about an event, or they need help with their club, or just general student advice, Kunze is always eager to help every student.

Starting in the fall 2024 semester, there will be a new face behind her desk waiting to greet students.

Kunze, a principal office assistant, has decided to retire from her position after 15 years with Suffolk County Community College.

Kunze, 66, joined Suffolk in 2008 at the Eastern campus before moving over to the Ammerman campus. Kunze progressed from senior clerk to principal office assistant, taking civil service tests and interviews to land her current position in 2017. She previously worked in the cashier’s office and in counseling.

“Even when I was working part-time, I always felt drawn towards public education. I worked in school districts, part-time on the playgrounds, things like that,” Kunze said.

Kunze is responsible for dealing with billing with vendors, payroll for peer mentors, stipends for club officers, and more. She works in the Campus Activities office with five other workers on behalf of student clubs and organizations.

Kunze cited the students as her primary motive for working in her position.

“I love working with students,” she said. “I always felt like you don’t feel old, you feel young again because everyone has all their dreams starting. I already lived that chapter of my life, and seeing kids getting excited about being accepted into colleges and getting awards, I just love seeing it.”

“So many students have started with us being very shy, and then they blossom like a caterpillar into a butterfly,” she added. “A lot of students feel lost when they come here, and this office is very inviting and friendly towards them.”

As the years went on, the Campus Activities office kept losing staff, dropping from nine people to six over Kunze’s time in the office. Despite the increased workload, Kunze enjoyed the work and the time she spent with her co-workers.

“It’s a team effort obviously, we all do a lot. I’ll miss everybody and the place a lot. It’s bittersweet. I wanna retire, but I will miss it a lot.”

Lorraine De Leon, the club program coordinator, praised Kunze for the work she’s done to help students on campus.

“She goes above and beyond more than I’ve seen other people do for students, and it’s a core part of her that she genuinely just wants to help others. In higher education, we’re technically working with adults, but Donna treats everyone like they’re her children.”


It’s one thing to have a colleague move on and have to figure out how to continue the operation of an office, but at the end of the day, it’s the person I’m gonna miss the most.

— Frank Vino

Originally working as a graduate assistant in 2014 while getting her master’s degree in higher education and administration at Stony Brook University, De Leon started as the club program coordinator in 2017. In her role, she works very closely with Kunze in helping students organize their clubs and activities.

“It’s been a true honor working with her, honestly. Donna is one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met,” De Leon said. “I was one of the people interviewing her for the position, and right when she walked in I just saw it, I knew she was gonna be the one. She really wanted to be in our office and support us, she was really a breath of fresh air.”

De Leon said losing Kunze’s presence will be felt by everyone in the office. “She’s the first person I see when I walk in every morning. It’s always a ‘good morning, good afternoon, good evening.’”

Frank Vino, the director of Campus Activities and Student Leadership Development, had nothing but positive words for his departing colleague. “When I need to get stuff done as a director, she closes the door and says ‘he can’t be interrupted.’ I wouldn’t be able to do my job without her.”

Vino started working for Suffolk  in 2006 following stints working at Stony Brook University and St. Joseph’s University in admissions. Vino also had experience working in Campus Activities while he was an undergraduate student at Suffolk. Starting in international admissions, Vino was a counselor in the office of Campus Activities before being promoted to his current position.

As the director of Campus Activities, Vino works hand-in-hand with Donna, who operates as his assistant. Vino cites Kunze’s passion and care for others as an important part of his own success.

“I’ll remember her for her care and her consideration for me and for everyone else in our office. Someone that gave everything she has for her position, not just for her work but for her office and for her team.”

As Kunze’s time with the college comes to a close, it’s apparent that her impact on the school will go beyond just the role she played as the principal office assistant. The impact she has made on both students and faculty alike will be remembered even after she leaves, Vino said.

“It’s one thing to have a colleague move on and have to figure out how to continue the operation of an office, but at the end of the day, it’s the person I’m gonna miss the most. Colleagues come and go, but when that colleague becomes a friend, it’s hard to say goodbye.”

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About the Contributor
Sajad Syed
Sajad Syed, Editor-in-Chief
Sajad Syed is a journalism major and the editor-in-chief of the Suffolk student newspaper, the Compass News. An aspiring sports reporter, he will graduate from Suffolk in 2024 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism

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