Co-Arts & Life Editor
College life can be hard at times. There are days when we might be overwhelmed with stress or personal issues and feel unmotivated. Luckily, Scranton is a place where there is always a helping hand or friendly face to help students with difficult moments.
Joe Hamilton is one of those helping hands, and one of those friendly faces. Joe works on the third floor of The DeNaples Center as a front-of-the-house employee.
After growing up in Dickson City, he graduated from Messiah College with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and behavioral science. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in clinical counseling at Marywood University. Prior to his time at The University, he worked as a psychotherapist.
When Joe was only 33 years old, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
He described his experience living with this condition, noting the fatigue he felt and the impact it had on his speech. At the time of his diagnosis, he was under a lot of stress, working full-time as a clinician and also serving as a team leader within the program he worked in.
He said that his experience with MS reached a point, especially with the fatigue and difficulty with speech impairment, where he needed to stop working as a clinician and go on disability.
But Joe stayed optimistic.
“When God closes a door, he opens a window,” Joe said, smiling. “Adam Davitt, Joe Boyd and Chris Major are my windows.”
He spoke highly of these three who work at The University and described them as “very supportive.”
When speaking about his experience working at The University, Joe emphasized that his favorite part is interacting with the students. He recognized the difficulties and curves that life sometimes throws at you, and stressed the importance of being open with your feelings.
“I want the kids to know that I care about them,” he said. It’s very important to deal with your feelings. Sometimes kids come in happy, and other times they come in and it looks like something is bothering them. People need to learn to talk about their feelings rather than keeping them in.”
Joe’s compassion for the students at The University does not go unnoticed. Senior nursing major Armand Giroux expressed his sentiments toward Joe.
“Seeing Joe is truly the highlight of my DeNaples dining experience.” Giroux said.
In addition to being a part of a loving community here at The University, Joe also expressed his love for his family. He has been married to his wife of 43 years, JoAnn, whom he refers to as the “love of his life” and also has two children and two grandchildren.
In reflecting about his experiences, he noted a quote by Maya Angelou that sums up his outlook: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
He emphasized his love of the students here at The University.
“They’re friendly and congenial and loving,” he said. “And that’s what it’s all about it. That makes me truly blessed.”