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Unsung Hero

February 3, 2017

From Pottery Barn assistant manager to ‘Penny the omelet lady’, Penny McVey is one of the College’s most eminent Chefs. Native to Monmouth, Penny spent years working as an assistant manager at The Pottery Barn. However, cooking has been a lifelong passion for Penny. Thus, in 1993 when her son told her about an open chef position at the college, she applied.

Penny spends her mornings preparing made to order omelets for students. Far from laconic, Penny is steeped with a positive attitude as she greets students with a smile and asks for their omelet request. With a voracious appetite for conversation, Penny’s outgoing personality draws a throng of students to her omelet line. Referring to the students Penny said, “I guess you could say it feels like I have 1,400 grandkids”. In addition to the student body, Penny has three children of her own and many biological grandchildren. She raised two sons, one a policeman and the other is employed by the city. She also has a daughter who is an x-ray technician at the local hospital. Penny deeply cherishes family, therefore it makes sense that her favorite hobbies consist of things she does with her family. Penny enjoys camping, swimming, fishing, and doing arts and crafts with her grandchildren.

Outside of family activities, Penny has participated in a few daring water adventures. At age 40, Penny went tubing for the first time on Spooney River. She also participated in a Polar Plunge event in the Mississippi River. These memories are exciting and hold rare moments of adrenaline for Penny who typically participates in laidback activities. Expectedly, when asked what her absolute favorite thing to do, she said there is nothing she loves to do more than cook meals with her family. Her favorite meal to create is the classic meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. Penny says this meal is a classic comfort food. She uses food to show her compassion.

If Penny could give one piece of advice to students it would be, to follow through on getting their education and travel the world, but most of all she wants us to recognize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For Penny, it is not just about crackin’ eggs; it’s giving a warm smile and encouraging a nutritious start to your day. Just like most grandmothers, her goal is to make sure you never have an empty stomach and a smile on your face.

Haley Thompson
Contributing Writer

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