You are viewing an archived issue. Vol. 10 Issue 12 December 2018 Looking for the current issue?

Chauncey’s Champion Someone making a difference.

Julie Goffigan is a valuable connection for new students and their families

by Nicole Pippo Bookmark and Share
Julie Goffigan, administrative specialist for the Office of New Student and Family Programs, has been working at CCU for 12 years. She is the go-to person for families and students with problems during Orientation.
Julie Goffigan, administrative specialist for the Office of New Student and Family Programs, has been working at CCU for 12 years. She is the go-to person for families and students with problems during Orientation.

At many universities, students are treated as just another number instead of as individuals with unique problems – but thanks to Julie Goffigan, that is not the case at Coastal Carolina University.

Julie Goffigan is the administrative specialist for the Office of New Student and Family Programs at CCU. She handles registering students for Orientation and helps run the Orientation, CINO TIE and Family Weekend programs. 

Goffigan joined the CCU family in March 2006. She began working in the admissions office, but after a few years she chose to focus on working solely with Orientation. “Working in admissions, you gain knowledge about the campus and make a lot of connections, so you know who to call if parents have a problem,” said Goffigan. “I’m that connection for them.”

When families have questions or concerns about their student coming to CCU, Goffigan is the go-to person for answers. “Most of the parent interaction is over the phone,” Goffigan said. “Some problems they come to me with are very personal and they end up pouring out their life story to me. It’s not uncommon for me to cry on the phone with them.”

While Goffigan has assisted families dealing with dire situations, most of the time when a parent is calling the new student and family programs office, they are simply frustrated. Luckily, the student workers who filter the calls know that if they transfer the parent to Goffigan, she will make the best of the situation. “By the time the parent is off the phone with me, they’re no longer angry,” said Goffigan.

It is typical for Goffigan to stay on the phone with the person she is helping until they have reached a solution to the problem. Many parents and students make it a point to visit Goffigan in her office at some point, just to meet her and thank her in person.

Whitney Comer, executive director of student life, submitted Goffigan as a Chauncey’s Champion because of the way she handles situations that families come to her with.

“To many of our incoming families and students, Julie is the first person they meet,” said Comer. “I hear stories each summer about the great care that Julie takes in guiding our students and families.”

Goffigan remembers several stories that have made an impact on her. A while ago, a student at Orientation did not have a room in a residence hall to stay in overnight. Goffigan used her contacts in various departments on campus to resolve the issue. Goffigan explained it plainly: “I was either not going home that day until she had a room, or I was taking her home with me.”

This past summer, Goffigan helped a student who had to withdraw from CCU due to financial reasons. She made all the calls to withdraw the student instead of having the family go all around campus. About two weeks later, the family called Goffigan to say the student could attend after all, and she was able to get the student re-enrolled, with a class schedule and an Orientation date set. “It was almost like she never withdrew,” she said.

In another story from this past summer, a mother and her daughter came to Goffigan’s office in the middle of Orientation. The student from New Jersey felt anxiety about attending CCU and was convinced she could not attend. The mother wanted Goffigan to encourage the student to stay enrolled, but Goffigan knew she had to advise the student to do what was best for her. She explained all the services that would be available to her as a CCU student, and told her she could always come to her office if she needed to talk. The student ultimately decided to finish Orientation and attend CCU.

Goffigan recalled another story about a mother who was undergoing cancer treatment and could not attend Orientation with her daughter. She sent the mother a tote bag full of handbooks and Orientation materials and emailed her every day. “I made sure to reply right away because she was only available while she was doing chemotherapy, because the rest of the time she felt awful,” Goffigan said. She still emails the mother on occasion.

Goffigan goes to these lengths because she knows what it’s like to have concerns as a parent. All of her four children, Spencer, Alyssa, Joshua and Ryan, have graduated college. “Having four children, I know what it’s like to send your child away from home,” said Goffigan. “I feel like it’s my job to care for their child and make them feel at home.”

CCU is one giant family for Goffigan. She and her coworkers in the office are very close and socialize outside of work. Her husband, Walter Goffigan, also works at CCU as the assistant athletic director of student-athlete enrichment. Goffigan is from Gillette, Wyo., and she met Walter at the University of Wyoming.

Walter works with the CCU baseball team, and team members often refer to Goffigan as Mamma G, along with Orientation leaders and students she has helped, because she is a mom away from home for them.

In her free time, Goffigan enjoys going to the beach and collecting shark teeth. She has an ongoing competition with Walter to see who can find the biggest one. Walter is currently winning because he once found a megalodon tooth on the beach after a tropical storm. Goffigan also loves reading historical fiction novels and is a big sports fan.

It’s difficult to measure Goffigan’s impact on student success at CCU. She changes the lives of the students she helps, because she believes things might be different if they didn’t attend CCU. “For all we know, we could be bringing in the next president of the United States. The person who left and came back because I helped them out could be that person.”

Chauncey’s Service Excellence Champions are University employees (faculty or staff) who perform service-oriented actions that go above and beyond their job duties and that meet at least one dimension of service quality. These employees are recognized for outstanding performance and embody the Feel the Teal initiative. To nominate someone for Chauncey’s Champion, visit coastal.edu/feeltheteal, fill out the form and submit it. Approved nominees will receive an exclusive Chauncey’s Champion gift as well as consideration for additional recognition. View all the Chauncey’s Champions at coastal.edu/feeltheteal/champions/champs.php.
 

Related Photos

Julie Goffigan, administrative specialist for the Office of New Student and Family Programs, has been working at CCU for 12 years. She is the go-to person for families and students with problems during Orientation. Julie and Walter traveled to Omaha, Neb., when the CCU baseball team won the 2016 College World Series national championship. Sports are a shared hobby for them and a big part of their life.  Julie and her husband, Walter, have four children: Spencer, Alyssa, Joshua and Ryan. Goffigan makes deep connections with the families she helps, and it sometimes turn out to be long-lasting friendships. One family that Goffigan still keeps in contact with sent her flowers this past July as a “thank you” for helping them.
Visit Feel the Teal for more Chauncey’s Champion features »