Texas Tech University
Deceased September 19, 2020
It is with a heavy heart to inform you all that Marty Grassel, a longtime legend to our profession and our organization, passed away this past Saturday, September 19th.
Marty Grassel was awarded the distinction of TACRAO Honorary Membership in 2002 after retiring from Texas Tech University as the Director of New Student Relations and later the Director of Admissions. She was a stalwart who helped shape our profession for decades by hiring and mentoring so many who have gone on to be transformative enrollment management leaders at various universities throughout Texas and the nation.
Marty built a recruitment dynasty at Tech, hiring and mentoring so many future TACRAO leaders, including TACRAO presidents Troy Johnson, Trey Hattaway, and myself. She was an ardent support of TACRAO, dedicating a level of love and commitment to our organization that few others have had. She, along with her staff of recruiters and admissions counselors over the years, worked tirelessly to support TACRAO in so many ways and at so many levels. Many of us owe our success in this profession to this wonderful leader.
If you worked for Marty, you learned quickly that there are certain work expectations that were simply non-negotiable. During recruiting weeks, in between the scheduled TACRAO fairs, you made sure to fill your daily schedule with high school and community college visits and drop-bys. Even in the heat of those first two Dallas weeks, or later during the Gulf Coast weeks when it was hot and humid, you still dressed professionally, which for us male recruiters meant a coat and tie even on the hottest of days. We were expected to be the first at the fair to set-up and the last to leave. She taught us to work hard and to play hard, and she led by example on both fronts!
She not only instilled in all of her staff this work ethic, but also many other powerful pieces of advice that have helped serve us throughout our careers. I remember her telling me, "Don't ever let your boss be the last person to know." (And along those lines, "Hey, if you are going to communicate with someone at my level or above my head, just CC me so I know what said!") Something so simple, yet so monumentally critical. Another former employee of Marty, in his tribute to her on Facebook, said that she taught him "a good leader commands respect rather than demands it." Marty was the type of leader you wanted to not only work for, but you wanted to work as hard as you could for her because you did respect her at the highest level.
At the same time, she was such a warm and generous person, treating you as a close friend as well as a colleague. Her smile would light up the room and she always had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person at that moment. I have included a couple of pictures of her below because you just can't think of Marty without seeing that wonderful, warm smile.
Bobby Lothringer, 2019-2020 President, TACRAO