Mary Evripidou departs ACU after 47 years

Much-loved staff member Mary Evripidou is embarking on a new journey after dedicating 47 years of her life to ACU.

On Christmas Eve, Mary will commence annual leave and then long service leave, with a predicted retirement date of 1 March 2022 – which will mark 48 years of service.

Mary has positively affected many lives at the university in her lengthy career, which she started as a cleaner at De La Salle Catholic College in Castle Hill, Sydney (which was incorporated into ACU as part of the amalgamation) and will finish as Manager, Learning and Teaching Centre.

We shared some of Mary’s story in early 2019, when she celebrated 45 years with ACU. Now, Mary has taken the opportunity to share some personal reflections.

“It’s not an easy assignment for me, as I do not like talking about myself,” she says. “I am, however, very proud of my tenure at ACU and I wanted to share my journey and say thank you.”

Mary began her relationship with what is now known as Australian Catholic University in January 1974, because she wanted to give her young children the best life possible.

“I had three children under three and, although I was a very young mum, they were some of the best years of my life,” she recalls.

She applied for a job close to home working as a cleaner during the evenings, and she cared for her children during the day.

“It meant that I had to overcome one of my greatest fears: being alone in the dark. But I had nobody to help me with my children, so it seemed the only way.

“Being a working mum has many challenges, and I made many compromises as I did my best to balance motherhood with my work.”

Mary’s commitment and loyalty to ACU is admirable. For her entire adult life, she has worked full time and, for 25 years, worked seven days a week – dedicating Monday to Friday to ACU.

“My parents left the only life they had ever known as migrants to give me a better life, and I wanted to do the same [for my children],” she explains.

“I was 12 when my feet hit Australian shores from the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. I couldn’t speak English and I was in a foreign place far from home. Those times never leave you – but I was blessed. I had wonderful, loving parents with an incredible work ethic as my role models.

“During my time at ACU I have lost my parents, lost a teenage child after a long cancer battle, fought my own cancer battle and welcomed a grandchild. Even when breathing seemed impossible, I was always dedicated to my work inspired by my parents’ life journey.”

It is with great pride that Mary leaves ACU with over two years of accrued personal leave, after pouring so much care and energy into her work.

“I have held many different roles in which I strived to do my best, and I have met some of my dearest friends through my time at ACU. I have also sadly lost a few very special colleagues who I miss terribly but whose love and friendship remain with me.

“Over the years, I have experienced highlights and challenges in my career, but for now I am focusing on the highlights. The challenges are part of any journey and I am grateful that my determination – and, as my daughter says, my ‘stubbornness’ – enabled me to remain a committed employee at ACU, which has been such an important part of my life.”

Mary thanks everyone who has contributed positively to her work life: “You have sustained me, and I am so grateful to every one of you.”

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven shares his appreciation for all Mary has done for the university and our community.

“Mary, we are all proud of your achievements at ACU,” Professor Craven says. “You have served this university with dedication and commitment over 47 years. You will be missed by many.

“May you look back fondly on your time and ACU and know that many of us will be thinking of you.”

Thank you for all you have done, Mary, and we wish you well on your new journey.

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