Profile: Sharon Nobles
As Sharon Nobles retires from Mississippi State at the end of June, she won't be leaving the university for good because she says her car seems to just automatically steer itself toward the campus.
To her, it's a very logical occurrence for someone who's been on or around the campus since she was 7 years old.
The university's associate registrar grew up in the MSU and Starkville communities, attending special programs and athletic events with her father who served the city's First Baptist Church as pastor for more than 20 years.
A graduate of Starkville High School, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from Mississippi State in 1969, but not before becoming the university's Miss MSU in 1968 and then Mississippi's Miss Hospitality in 1969-70. In 1974, she completed a master's degree in English.
"Honestly, I entered pageants because of the scholarship money that was available," she said. "It was my first opportunity to see what scholarships can do for young people."
Nobles also became more knowledgeable about the power of scholarships and good academic advising while she worked as a student in MSU's Office of the Registrar, an introduction that would later become her career.
In 1970, she married an electrical engineering major named Ralph Nobles, who currently serves MSU as associate director of utilities. The couple moved away from Starkville for a few years before returning in 1979, when Sharon began to teach in the Starkville School District.
"Even those years when I was away from here, I jumped at every chance I could to teach," Nobles explained.
In 1993, she began her employment with MSU as an academic coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences, making sure that students were on the right path to achieve their degrees.
She said, "It was so important for me to keep them from having an 'uh-oh' moment with the courses they had selected."
Her enthusiasm for student success led her to design the university's Curriculum Advising and Program Planning, or CAPP, which involved redesigning the catalog, studying every major for course accuracy, and then putting the information into the institution's computer system. A real-time program that began in 1999, it tracks every student from admission to graduation.
Nobles became associate registrar in 2004, after serving as assistant registrar from 2002-04. She has served this entire time with MSU Registrar Butch Stokes, who also is retiring.
"This university was the thing that brought my parents here, and I plan to remain close and be involved," she concluded.
Next week … Benjamin A. Elam !