Where are they now?: Retirement with Karen and Kelly Gregg

Karen and Kelly Gregg pose with Stitch at Disney World in May 2016.

Katie Cline, Editor-in-chief

In the case of Dr. Kelly and Mrs. Karen Gregg, the couple that works together, retires together.

Dr. Gregg, a former professor of geography and geology at JSU, retired in August of 2016. Karen, the certification officer for the School of Fine Arts and the School of Science, joined him in retirement in December.

“I just passed my one-year anniversary last month,” Kelly chuckled, “so I’ve got a lot of experience with this retirement thing. Karen, though, is still a newbie.”

WDW May 2016 (2)

Dr. Kelly and Mrs. Karen Gregg on a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando in May 2016. (photo courtesy of Karen Gregg/Facebook)

The Greggs came to JSU in the fall of 1992. Kelly earned his bachelor’s of science in geography in 1980, his master’s of arts in geography in 1984 and his master’s of science in soil sciences in 1985 from Kansas State University. He earned his PhD in geography from the University of Kansas in 1994. He was awarded the status of professor emeritus at the December 2016 commencement ceremony.

Dec 2016

Karen Gregg at at Kansas State football game in December 2016. (Karen Gregg/Facebook)

Karen, meanwhile, also earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University—hers in business. She worked in a local bank and part-time at the University of Kansas helping with registration before coming to JSU. Here, her job as certification officer mainly required her to check that students who had applied for graduation met all the requirements for their major and minor. With that, though, came hours of helping students register for class, navigate the course catalog and making of their most as their time as a Gamecock.

After 25 years at JSU, the Greggs agreed that it was time for a new chapter in their lives, one that they hope to fill with off-season traveling, hobbies and volunteer work.

“It’s not dissatisfaction with the job,” explained Kelly, who has over 35 years of teaching experience. “It’s just time for something new. It’s like, if you’re reading ‘Harry Potter’ and there’s a chapter about a Quidditch match. It’s interesting for 20 pages or so, but if it stretches on for 100 or 200, you start thinking, ‘Hmm, wouldn’t a new chapter be nice?’.”

Kelly stressed that retirees still get to do “all the fun stuff” that they did when they were teaching. He still plays in the JSU steel drum band and gives Dutch oven cooking demonstrations at Desoto State Park, but there are aspects of JSU that the couple will miss.

With Brittney Hughes 9-16

Dr. Kelly Gregg and Brittney Hughes of Desoto State Park show off the pineapple upside down cake Gregg made during his Dutch oven demonstration. (Karen Gregg/Facebook)


“I’ll miss helping the students,” Karen said. “I really did like helping them. I’ve watched some of them grow up from the time they were kids.”

“I’ll miss meeting the new students,” Kelly agreed. “Eighteen to 21-year-olds are really an amusing group.”

With their newfound free time, the Greggs have already done a considerable amount of traveling: they spent a month at the beach at the beginning of the year and three weeks in Germany in the spring. At the time of this publication, they had just returned from visiting friends and family in Kansas.

Moai Statue in Germany

The Greggs pose with a Moai statue in Germany during their visit in April 2017. (Karen Gregg/Facebook)

And while they may be “officially” retired, friends of the Greggs can still find them on campus at drama productions, band concerts, graduation ceremonies and other big events.

“JSU has been really good for both of us,” Karen smiled.

As this chapter closes, JSU wishes the Greggs a long, happy and fun-filled retirement!



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