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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Retired Admissions Staff Member Mary Kay Bringham

Stars shine above Trinity Hall.
Jason Halley/University Photogra

Retired staff member Mary Kay Bringham, who worked at Chico State for 32 years, passed away June 3. She was 64.

Born May 15, 1955, in San Francisco and raised in San Mateo, Bringham earned her bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure studies in 1978 from San José State University. She began her tenure at Chico State in 1984, when she was hired in what was then the Admissions and Records Office. She spent her early years as a clerical assistant, processing transcript orders copied from paper records and was part of the team that manually updated student academic records.

In 1998, she moved to the newly reorganized Office of Admissions and was eventually promoted to an administrative analyst/specialist. Until her retirement in fall 2016, she served as the PeopleSoft functional lead for Admissions.

Outgoing and witty, Bringham truly loved working with her colleagues and helping students, said former Admissions director Allan Bee.

“Not only did Mary Kay help thousands of students gain admission to the University, more importantly, she was a tremendous mentor to hundreds of student workers whom she supervised over the years,” Bee said. “She was the friendly ear and caring mother-away-from-home that so many of her students came to rely upon—and she was always sure to celebrate their birthdays!”

Portrait of Mary Kay Bringham
Mary Kay Bringham’s warm spirit is one of the first traits that came to mind for her former colleagues.

Brigham was never short on friends and cared deeply for all of them, said retired registrar Jean Irving, who also remembers her former colleague for her humor, generosity, and big heart.

“While we worked together on many projects, we shared a love for a good cup of coffee, often spiriting away downtown to a coffee shop and a chance to catch up with each other,” Irving said. “We bonded over raising our children, sharing our joys, our trials, and their successes.”

Bringham was known for her pride in her Irish heritage and her superstitious nature. St. Patrick’s Day required a great deal of advance planning and the sharing of Irish soda bread prepared with love for her colleagues. Her many friends learned never to hand her scissors, as it might sever their friendship and was considered bad luck.

Both on and off campus, Bringham put her talents to work as an accomplished photographer. She made sure all new employees’ pictures were added to the staff picture board and chronicled campus events and celebrations. She also enjoyed movies and camping, especially in Yosemite, where she worked during summer breaks from college and where she met her husband, John. Family gatherings were her greatest joy.

She is survived by her husband, John, daughters Megan and Shannon, son-in-law Jeffery Rhodes, sister Ginny Tilton, brother-in-law Ray Tilton, sister Joan Bingham, and nephew John Franks.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 13, at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church, 566 E. Lassen Avenue in Chico. The family asks that any contributions in her memory be made to the American Cancer Society or the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary.

The University flag will be lowered Tuesday, June 11, in her memory.