Seventeen years ago a woman walked across the beautifully kept campus of Indiana Wesleyan University, wearing a backpack full of fertilizer and carrying a sprayer. Curious bystanders may have wondered who this woman was. She was, Dr. Jeanne Argot, a retired biology professor who had dedicated her life to education and to others.
When selecting the Marion Champion of the Month, two character traits are considered: achievement and leadership. Dr. Argot, an extraordinary example of both these qualities, was chosen as the Marion Champion of the Month for October.
Layla Price, the director of marketing and community relations for the city of Marion, said, “We look for servant leadership, and academic achievement. Dr. Argot displayed both in outstanding ways.”
Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, Argot cultivated a love for nature and biology.
Argot’s love for nature matched her love for education. After two years of college, Argot became a licensed medical laboratory technician and began working at a hospital.
While working as a medical technician, Argot continued to further her education. Her perseverance eventually led to a doctorate in biology in 1969.
After receiving a call from the dean of Indiana Wesleyan University, Argot was hired to save the suffering medical technology program in 1979. Argot directed the medical technology program for 21 years. Her dedication to the program led to the establishment of a two year accredited medical technology major.
Although the medical technology program eventually ended due to lack of interest, Argot continued to work for the university in the Facilities Services Department.
“When Dr. Argot approached me about working for the grounds team at Facilities, I actually thought she was joking,” said Don Rowley, AVP of Facilities and Operations at IWU. “Here she was a retired professor from IWU so I was wondering why she would want to work for us.”
For the next 16 summers, Argot planted flowers, trimmed trees, blew leaves, picked up broken tree limbs, and diligently worked to beautify the campus grounds.
Argot knew that she would enjoy the work. “I got a lot of exercise and I enjoyed making the campus look pretty,” said Argot.
Rowley never imagined that Argot would work on the grounds for 16 years, she impacted the campus through quality and quantity of her work.
“She was an amazing example of what a strong work ethic looked like,” said Rowley. “She spoke wisdom into the lives of those she worked with whether she did it intentionally or just through the way she lived her life.”
At the age of 65, Argot ended her career at Indiana Wesleyan University. Her work, however, was not finished.
In honor of her late nephew Elvin Huyard, Argot established a scholarship to help IWU students pursuing careers in the medical field.
“I taught in biology, so the science area was a place that I wanted to help students in,” said Argot.
After retirement, Argot continued to dedicate her time to the community.
Argot displays humility and compassion in everything that she does. Today Argot volunteers for hospice as well as many other organizations.
Argot finds fulfillment in life through helping others. “That’s why I do all the volunteer work that I do, because I feel like I can be a benefit to others,” Argot said.
“She is an amazing servant of God. She is always a happy giver and very humble,” said Miller. “A world changer everyone should get to know.”