This month, we are thrilled to feature Harriet Hillenmeyer and the legacy she leaves behind. After 9 years as a house director at the University of Kentucky, she retired June 15. We say “see you later” and thank her for her dedication to Tri Delta and the women of Delta Rho Chapter.
Why Tri Delta?
Harriett comes from a long line of Tri Deltas at Kentucky, including her mother who joined Delta Rho Chapter in 1934! Harriett, a retired nurse turned real estate agent and home renovator, embarked on a new chapter in her life when the house director position at Delta Rho became available—and she knew it was meant to be.
What do you love about being a house director?
Harriett has loved getting to know and working with our alumnae members, including our dedicated local house corporation volunteers. “They are remarkable women who excel in their various roles. These women exemplify the values they instill in the collegians: kindness, respect, and consideration. It’s evident that these lessons have been taught and embraced by the collegiate members, who will carry them with pride as they graduate.”
“What I cherish most about my role is the people within the house itself. The collegians I have had the privilege of working with make my job incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable. Their unique personalities, talents and contributions create a vibrant and supportive community. Building relationships with them and witnessing their growth and achievements brings me immense joy.”
What does a typical day/week look like for you?
“A typical day starts by waking up early and taking some time for myself before greeting the staff. My responsibilities include cleaning out the kitchenette and restocking it so the women have access to snacks 24/7. I particularly enjoy this task because it gives me the opportunity to chat with them! The job requires a fair amount of food shopping as we serve around 700-800 meals each week.”
“The house is quite large and has been around for a while, so there are always various issues that need to be addressed. Working closely with staff to manage the maintenance and overall functioning of the facility is a needed daily task.”
“Much of the staff has been here a long time! Making sure they have purpose and feel comfortable where they are is so important. A house director can’t do their job without them!”
How has being a house director contributed to your growth and development—professionally and personally?
“One valuable lesson I’ve learned in this role is the importance of developing a strong sense of humor. This role has taught me the importance of humor. Working with these young women has taught me to embrace laughter, find joy and not let trivial matters weigh me down.”
How has being a house director had a positive impact on your life?
“Simply put, it makes me happy. I’ve been happy here and have loved the women and the relationships I’ve built with staff and other house directors on campus. So, it really is my happy place! Being happy is the most important thing in life, right?”
What advice do you have for those interested in being a house director?
“My advice for someone aspiring to be a house director is to be ready for hard work. Be ready to dive in with kindness and respect, just like the Tri Delta motto suggests. Being a house director has brought me a sense of purpose. If you love cooking, entertaining and the idea of working where you live, this role could be a perfect fit for you. However, it’s important to have a good sense of humor and a genuine willingness to be there for the women. The key is to create an environment where the women feel comfortable reaching out to you when needed, while also respecting their independence.”
While we’ll all miss Harriet and her joyful spirit, it’s time welcome Delta Rho Chapter’s new house director, Julie Criss. Julie has big shoes to fill, but we know she’ll do it!
HOUSE DIRECTOR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Are you ready to take on the role of a Tri Delta house director? Visit Tri Delta’s Housing Careers page to start your journey today!