Vol State Financial Aid director Sue Pedigo retires after 48 years

By Katelyn Marshall

Financial Aid Director Sue Pedigo is this week’s faculty spotlight.

Pedigo has been a charter member of the first employees at Vol State and has been in the Financial Aid office for the entire 48 years that she has been at Vol State.

Pedigo is a Vol State graduate. She is married, has two children and six grandchildren.

image001“My children are both Vol State graduates. You might say ‘I am Vol State.’ You know how they say ‘I am Marshall’ in that movie? ‘I am Vol State,’” Pedigo said.

“In August of ’71 I came as the secreatary to the Director of Financial Aid at that time. She left in 1973 and I began running the financial aid office under the signature, if you would, of the dean of students at that time, Bill Hillard. In July of ‘78 I became the Coordinator of Financial Aid. Then in 1981, I became the Director of Financial Aid.” said Pedigo.

Asked what inspired her to become a Financial Aid Director, Pedigo said, “I’m a Gallatonian. I’ve never lived outside the city limits of Gallatin and when the college was being built there were opportunties for people to get a better job. They were hiring and I applied.”

Pedigo said that she was a secretary in a field that she knew nothing about because financial aid had only been in creation for five years at that time.
“I liked that it gave me opportunities to help and work with students. I like being in that position where I can make miracles happen,” Pedigo said.

She explained who has influenced her most in her life.

“My first boss, Sue Greenfield, was knowledgable, cordial, genuine, and I really loved working for her. She was a big influence on me,” Pedigo said. “There have been two others. One of them is Mary Cole Nichols, who is deceased, who used to be the Dean of Students here, and Vice President Patty Powell. She’s retired now. She, too, was my boss. They were fine Christian women, which is important to me.”

The most beenficial advice that Pedgio said she had been given was, “If we can fix it, let’s do that. That’s always something I’ve held in my mind from my people.”

“Another one from a wise gentleman was, ‘if you are going to err, do it on the side of grace,’” Pedigo said.

Pedigo described what her journey in being a Financial Aid Director.

“After Sue Greenfield left, it was just me and Bill Hillard signing off on things. I had some work study students and then in 1976, Sherry Cliburn came and she’s been the Assistant Director. We began to grow some more at Vol State and we were able to hire Anne Coker and it was just the three of us and a work study student. As we really began to grow and programs began to grow, we added the rest of my staff one at a time. We have progressed to where we are a staff of eleven,” Pedigo said.

What Pedigo said what she loved most about her job as the Financial Aid Director was that she loves numbers.

“Nothing pleases an accountant better then pushing that calculator and the numbers are the same. I really like that about my job and I like my people—I love my people. I like working with my staff. We have a real kind of family atmosphere here,” said Pedigo.

Pedigo said that the most challenging part of her job is change. “In the world of financial aid, it changes all the time. You have to be an adaptable person to manage a fiancial aid operation.”

Pedigo’s tips that she would give to all students is, “First, apply for aid, effective October 1 for the upcoming year and read your e-mails, because everything that is communicated with you after you become a Vol State student is e-mail. And go to class. It’s so important,” she said.

Pedigo’s platform quote to the world is, “Jesus is the Lord. That’s my life.”

Pedigo added that she has loved her job for almost 48 years and that she didn’t know anything but Vol State and financial aid.

“It as an honor to have worked under some of the best administrators in the Tennessee Board of Regents.”