COVID-19 spoiled a campus retirement party for Dr. Sheryl Santos-Hatchett, so she took the celebration nationwide

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UNT Dallas Dr. Sheryl Santos-Hatchett retirement on Today Show

On May 31, Dr. Sheryl Santos-Hatchett’s distinguished career as an educator heads into retirement. Dr. Santos-Hatchett served as the founding dean of the School of Education (2010-15) and over the last five years she’s been a professor of Bilingual Education. Because of COVID-19, we are missing out on being around Dr. Santos-Hatchett’s infectious positive personality on campus, and being able to throw her a proper retirement party with her colleagues.. 

In lieu of that party, Dr. Santos-Hatchett “decided to go big” and applied to be part of the NBC Today Show’s Virtual Plaza. On Wednesday morning, she and husband Mike were front-and-center– yes, both wearing cowboy hats -- among the 16 people chosen from thousands of applicants to appear in the Virtual Plaza.

“It was a blast,” Santos-Hatchett says. “We were sent a ZOOM link by the producer in charge of the segment and all the people chosen were on Zoom together and given a set of instructions like signs to hold up and noise to make when on camera. We stayed on Zoom the entire two-hour program and all watched together live from NYC.”

Santos-Hatchett will be missed at UNT Dallas when we finally return to campus. She has plenty of plans in the works to fill her time, but for now, those plans are on hold.

“After retirement, I plan to practice my piano and exercise to in stay in shape for dancing with my husband, Mike,” she says. “I was planning to travel abroad and spend lots of time with my seven grandchildren, as well as do some consulting and temporary professional work. But, Mother Nature had other plans! So, I’m hunkering down until the “all-clear” is sounded."