Alumni Weekend 2022 and Commencement 2022 might be over, but President and First Lady Maxey haven’t stopped just yet. They have been on the road giving fond farewells to some of our alumni chapters, reminiscing together about days gone by, friendships made, and “Dear Old Roanoke.”
Instead of rehashing what we already know about the Maxeys, I’d like to share some things about them you might not know.
On Jan. 28, 1985, Mike Maxey was hired by Vice President of Resource Development Ben Case to work in Resource Development. A short time later, the office moved to a suite of rooms at the Hotel Roanoke in downtown Roanoke city, where it stayed for five years before returning to campus. Ultimately, Mike moved to Admissions to become its vice president. And, at one brief time, Mike was VP of both Resource Development and Admissions.
The Maxeys have had a number of dogs over the years. One of them, named Millie, occasionally got away. One day, Millie got bitten by wanderlust and left home. (At the time, the Maxeys lived on High Street, eight houses above Bowman Hall, where the Cregger Center now stands.) Somehow, Millie made her way down Cleveland Avenue to Thompson Memorial Drive, up the hill to the southbound entrance ramp of I-81, where she began walking along the side of the interstate. Fortunately (sort of), she was picked up by a good Samaritan. The rescuer continued his journey to Atlanta with Millie now safe, but miles away from Salem. The rescuer called the Maxey home, and Mike then drove to Atlanta to retrieve their wandering Millie. What “pet parents” will do for the beloved pet members of the family!
A few alumni from the 1990s will remember President Maxey with an entirely different title — Professor Maxey. Mike, a history major at Wake Forest University, once taught classes at Roanoke. When History Department Chair Mark Miller approached Mike about teaching a class on the history of the South, Mike agreed. He continued the class for several years, and then returned to exclusive focus on Resource Development.
The Maxeys have three sons — Michael Jr., Stuart and Jack. Sometime after Jack was born, Terri changed her license plate to “M3SONS.” I would bet that most Salemites couldn’t tell you what model or color her car was, but they knew who it was when they saw the license plate.
Terri had a good philosophy about raising children. This first became evident to me when I noticed in the middle of winter that Michael was wearing shorts. Terri explained that Michael noticed that the older neighbor boy down the street was wearing shorts. Michael decided that if that kid could wear shorts, it must be cool, and he really wanted to wear shorts as well. Terri’s philosophy was “choose your battles.” She could have argued every day about shorts vs. pants, but decided that it was Michael’s choice, and figuring that when it got cold enough, he might return to long pants. The lesson: not every decision is that important to fight over.
Michael Jr. is now father of Michael C. Maxey III. I believe I can safely assume that the road between Salem, Virginia and Bassett, Virginia, will be more heavily traveled by Grandma and Grandpa now that they are retired.
Lastly, "Why the bowties?" many people might wonder. Mike wore the customary long tie until third child Jack was born. Mike quickly discovered that changing a boy baby's diaper was hazardous to the cleanliness of a long tie. It definitely ups the dry-cleaning bill. So, Mike started with the bow tie — and it stuck.
Already, Mike and Terri are beginning their move back to High Street. We are happy to have them back as good neighbors. Mike assured us at the faculty/staff farewell, held at the Cregger Center on May 26, that he was ready to resume his good neighbor task of moving our garbage can away from the curb and onto its normal resting spot when we are out of town.
Wishing Mike and Terri a most grand retirement!
Linda Angle Miller recently retired as Archivist at Roanoke College.