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In the life of any organization, there are individuals who, for whatever reason, might go largely unnoticed, but truly have a profound effect. These unsung heroes are often those who, quietly, almost silently, influence the institution, ensuring the success of its mission.
Marie (Scittine) Sellberg was one of those heroes.
Marie served as the Administrative Assistant to Presidents Whiteman and Parsons from 1954–1964 and impacted faculty, staff, and students through her love for people and the skills she brought to her position. She was known for her tireless commitment to education and students.
Marie attended Central Academy from 1943–1945 and it was during this time she met fellow student, Marvin Sellberg. A romance blossomed, and following graduation Marvin and Marie were married. They returned to Central as staff, where together they invested in the lives of young people, building a legacy for many years to come.
Working for the college was more than just a job for Marie. She viewed the students and co-workers as part of her family. As such, she engaged each and every person with a joyful heart, embracing them with a love that truly reflected the love she shared with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Marie knew everyone and built strong relationships throughout the years. President Parsons in particular had a deep appreciation for Marie’s attention to the communications she would write on behalf of the College. Her work reflected a harmonious balance between professionalism and a sincere appreciation for the individual. Whether it be student, president, superintendent, or bishop, all were treated with great respect, dignity, and regard, with an ample portion of tender-heartedness thrown in for good measure.
If that were not enough, Marie also served as the “team mom” for the men’s basketball team which Marvin coached for 12 years. She loved being a coach’s wife and having the boys in their home for meals. Bob Burns (Men’s Basketball ’61 – ’63) recalls, “Marie Sellberg was in a class by herself when I was a student-athlete at Central College. She not only was President Parson’s administrative assistant, but she was also like a mother to many of the guys that played for Coach Sellberg. Mrs. Sellberg always carried herself with dignity and class. She was an excellent role model for the young coeds; a consummate Christian example in every way!”
In addition to her role at the College, Marie was committed to her family and children, Marcia, Marlene, and Martin (Marty) Sellberg. Her son Marty recalls, “Although I was very young during her time at Central, my memories are vivid. It was a time of happiness and growth at 214 W. Ave F, and at Central College. In my young mind, the seasons were defined by the most important things of life at the time – basketball practice, basketball season, basketball recruiting, and farming.
Tying that together was the rhythm of student life and education at Central. The images of post-game meals prepared for the team by Marie at our home, the hum and flow of students around the Tiger Den, and my mother working late under a desk lamp at home, or at her desk at the Dean’s Office, are forever pleasantly etched in my mind.
Central Christian College has been part of and an influence on our family for generations, and Marie gave her best to the mission of the college during her time there. I am pleased to support the important mission of Christian education that is executed so well by Central Christian College in honor of Marie Sellberg.”
No matter the role, Marie consistently blended skill, elegance, and character. “It was a wonder to watch her work” commented husband and partner in ministry Marvin Sellberg. “She was a talented lady, with a strong work ethic and classy demeanor.”
Marie was 78 years old when she entered into her eternal rest in 2004.
In memory of her time at Central Christian College of Kansas and the critical role she filled as an Administrative Assistant, Marie’s children took advantage of the Tiger Tribute Campaign to honor her work. So, sixty-six years after she first stepped foot into the Office of the President as a young professional, her name – and her legacy – are now enshrined on a plaque hanging outside that same office.
President Leonard Favara is one person who is reminded of that daily, saying,
“Every day, as I walk into my office, I see Marie’s name outside my door. It reminds me that it is not just the President, the Board, or the officers that propel the mission of the College. It is the work of every individual – administrative assistants, clerks, coaches, teachers, cooks, – these are the people that ignite the heartbeat of this College, people like Marie who faithfully invested into the mission of this College. I am honored to have her name memorialized here, and I am thankful for her work, and the work of countless others that served as she did.”
If you would like to honor a loved one by sponsoring a campus office, classroom, lounge, locker room, etc., please contact David Ferrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620.242.2234 for more info. A list of rooms is available at ccckfoundation.org.
ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF KANSAS
Central Christian College of Kansas is a four-year collegiate institution that strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person through four core characteristics: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about Central, go to centralchristian.edu/about. Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.