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Happy retirement Yolanda!

On November 26th, staff, faculty and special guests celebrated the retirement of Yolanda Fernandez who has served Knox as the Head of Housekeeping since 1986.

For almost 30 years, Yolanda has not only ensured that the residence was in order but that Knox residents felt at home here. At the celebration, staff, faculty, students and residents thanked Yolanda and showed their appreciation for her years of service, guidance and friendship.

At her retirement celebration, Yolanda also shared a number of fondly remembered stories about encounters with residents that have lived at Knox, and expressed how grateful she was to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and to be a part of their lives as they studied at Knox and UofT. Please read Yolanda’s farewell letter to Knox below and notes from a former and current resident about Yolanda’s role in making them feel at home at Knox (please click on the comments and photos to enlarge them).

We wish Yolanda all the best as she starts her retirement and hope she visits often. The College will miss her.


“I came to Canada in May 1970. I had no family and just one friend. I taught myself to read and write in English.

I only had two previous employers before coming to Knox College. I started with Knox in September 1986 and was hired as the supervisor of housekeeping. Approximately two years later my title was changed to Head of Housekeeping.

Heather Vais

In the years I have been at Knox College, I have seen many changes. Knox has made improvements in the residence with the renovations they made to the forms and academic side. Since the completion of these improvements, I put a lot of effort to maintaining the cleanliness and order of the residence for the benefit of the residents.

The one change that was always constant was seeing different people come and go. These people include my colleagues who worked with me at Knox and the students and the residents. Over the years I have made many close friends.

Being at Knox for thirty years, it is a place I consider to be my second home. As a matter of fact, I spend more time at Knox than I do in my own home.I care for Knox and its reputation. I have always made great effort in ensuring the dorm rooms were sparkling clean. From waxing the floors, to clean linen and beds made up to the same standard as the military.

Yolanda09I take tremendous pride in this because I want the students to feel welcome and to be comfortable in their rooms. I like to reassure their parents that their son or daughter will be well taken care of.

These students eventually become like my own children. I feel responsible over them. I notice when they are sick and when they are troubled. I do my best to care for them and show my support, and they’ve shown appreciation by responding “yes mom”. This is the best part of my job.

Helen Baxter

I have seen many students graduate and leave Knox College. I have felt sadness in seeing them leave but have also felt pride in their achievements. Before leaving, many have ensured to drop by and see me to express their gratitude. I still currently receive letters and postcards from these residents who are now in different places in the world. 

I look forward to retiring as this will allow me the opportunity to travel during the winter months and to spend time with my family.

I will miss everyone at Knox College. I am grateful for the many wonderful years of my life that were spent here. I will visit as often as I can, and will always be a phone call away.”

December 8th: Advent Service of Commissioning and Blessing

All are invited to attend the Advent Service of Commissioning and Blessing at which those students who will be eligible to graduate at the end of this semester will be commissioned as new graduates.  While these December graduands will be awarded their degrees at Convocation on May 11th, 2016, this Service of Commissioning and Blessing is a chance for us to recognize these students and their achievements. This service will begin at 4:15PM in the Chapel.

The service on the 8th will also be the last community worship service of 2015. We hope everyone will take the time to attend and then stick around for the Community Dinner that follows the service to congratulate our December graduands and share fellowship with the Knox community before classes end and the College closes for the Christmas holidays.

We hope to see everyone there.


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