Greyhound Grad Sherry ‘Gwyn’ (Dean) Buzzell returns to Eastern New Mexico University this week to celebrate the reunion over 40 years after being crowned Reunion Queen in 1980. She will participate in the reunion parade this weekend and will enjoy other festivities.
Ms. Buzzell, who received an AA in Business, AA in Religion, and a Bachelor of Education from Eastern in 1984 after receiving a Friends of Eastern scholarship, talks about her homecoming experience and her successful career as a educator and senior diplomat in several countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Describe your experiences coming home as a student and what you look forward to attending this year’s reunion.
It was remarkable that a sophomore, who was sponsored by a faith-based organization, could become the reunion queen (1980). I was amazed at the effort and time that Ken Carlson and the rest of the Baptist Students’ Union (BSU) committed to making my, our, selection as the Reunion Queen. The fellowship of the BSU was inspiring.
All the events around Homecoming were so much fun, but the liveliest and most memorable was the crowning glory and the effort my mom and sisters made to cross the state to attend.
I look forward to reconnecting and reminiscing with old friends around Homecoming and watching students participate in events this year.
I was in contact with Dana (Ross) Ware who was Homecoming Queen in 1981.
She was also sponsored by the Baptist Student Union. We both took part in the parade together 20 years ago. She will ride with me again this year.
I am excited to ride with Dana as we were the only two queens of the elected reunion, as far as I know, which was sponsored by the BSU. Even after not seeing each other for 20 years, our friendship continues.
What did it mean to you to be named Homecoming Queen?
It was very humiliating on the one hand and inspiring on the other, that our group (BSU) was supported by the student body.
Discuss your oriental experience.
The people of the Baptist Student Union have had a significant positive impact on my life. Through BSU, I participated in the summer mission program, first in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, and the following summer in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Playing volleyball in my first year was fun, as well as being active in the sports community. My French lessons with Dr Margaret Willen, as well as my Bible lessons on Old Testament prophets and the life of Christ, were my most enjoyable lessons.
How did you choose your field of study?
I wanted to have work flexibility while having a family. Because my mom worked full time, we always had a babysitter when we were very young children. I liked being free on weekends, holidays and summers for my future children.
In which activities have you participated in the ENMU?
I attended the ENMU from 1979 to 1984. I had a work-study program at the BSU and in the cafeteria; assisted BSU; was part of the ENMU volleyball team; volleyball referee from middle and high schools in the region; took statistics for the ENMU men’s basketball team and was the inter-muros director of the BSU.
Tell us about your career.
After graduating, I was an elementary school teacher for four years in Bloomfield, New Mexico, and Sonora, Texas. During my graduate studies this summer, I met my husband, who was training as a Navy pilot. We got married and soon after started a family when we moved to the southwest coast of Spain where he was posted to missions in the Mediterranean region, Africa and the Middle East. . So my career took a hiatus until our youngest started school while we were living in Oklahoma City.
I returned to class for another eight years in Oklahoma and Rhode Island, where my husband was a professor at the US Naval War College. In 2005, we moved to Stockholm, Sweden, and I started working as a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) at the US Embassy, advising the Ambassador on issues related to the Embassy and the external community, as well as coordinating activities and events within the Embassy and the diplomatic community.
While we were living in Bahrain, I helped the US Embassy and the Middle East Commander coordinate bilateral and multilateral meetings of the Secretary of State (Hilary Clinton) and the Commander of State Central Command United, David Petraeus, during the geopolitical engagements in the Middle East around the Manama Dialogues. During my assignment at the United States Embassy in Paris, I participated in numerous high-level visits, including two from President Obama, as well as advice and interpretations for high-level meetings.
I retired from the State Department in 2018, following our last overseas assignment at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands, and Brussels, Belgium. I never imagined that the skills I learned here at ENMU would be so important for success in foreign service and diplomatic engagements.
I have been fortunate to use my language skills to advise and interpret at the highest level of government. It has been a privilege to represent our country in countless state events with our president, secretaries, foreign heads of state and nobility. Some of the most memorable events include the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, four days of events around the 30th anniversary of Prince Albert’s reign in Monaco, the host of the Noble Prize Luncheon and dinner / events at the residences presidential and noble. .
How did ENMU prepare you for your career?
My training at ENMU allowed me to acquire very useful skills to engage in the foreign diplomatic environment. Language training gave me the opportunity to advise and interpret at all levels of engagement in the United States and abroad. Even being selected as the Reunion Queen gave me confidence when engaging in state events.
What advice would you give to a student interested in working in your professional field?
Hard work and dedication to any field one chooses is the secret to success. Be a positive influence for others and honor the LORD in everything you do. There are amazing people there.
What awards have you received?
I received the Meritorious Honor Award from the United States Department of State and was elected president of diplomatic associations.
Are you involved in any organizations or causes?
I have been active in many organizations and volunteered for many causes in all the places we have lived for the past 33 years. Since our retirement and relocation to Texas over the past year, we haven’t gotten out of it until the current environment has improved.
Tell us about your family and your background.
I was born and raised in Farmington, New Mexico. My dad was an oil rig repairman and my mom did some clerical work. I studied French and played volleyball in high school. My husband retired from the Navy in 2018 after serving 34 years as a pilot and diplomat.
We have two grown children; both attended boarding school in Sweden for high school, and went to college and graduate school in Missouri and Washington, DC. Our daughter works at the Pentagon as a senior consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Our son is married and lives in Saint-Louis. He works in mortgage financing and is the author of numerous LitRPG and science fiction fantasy books.
What are your hobbies?
Travel, languages and engagement abroad.
Share an interesting fact about yourself.
I studied French, Navajo, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish and Dutch.
Is there any additional information you would like to share?
I have had the privilege of participating in several historic events with heads of state, royalty and foreign diplomats. I have met many people with whom I have been able to discuss some of the most pressing issues of the day. Some events really stand out when everyone is relaxed and just enjoying the moment; to sit with the King and the Royal Family during the Royal Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack while watching the film on the big screen on a raft in the port of Amsterdam at the interpretation for Prince Charles and US / French dignitaries over lunch on a British Warship in the English Channel, or simply discuss the challenges of the Presidency and weigh in on major court decisions with RBG.
I have truly been blessed for every opportunity that has presented itself to me. Even though I have enjoyed living in other countries, it is clear that there is no other place on earth that has the freedoms that we have, and no country takes better care of its people than here in the United States. United States of America. May GOD continue to bless America.