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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Friday, June 14, 2024
The Echo

Tammy Nunley: A mother to many

Nunley expresses her heart for Taylor students

Tammy Nunley always wanted more than one child.

Now, she feels as if God gave her 3,000 more.

As students pick their food and swipe their cards at the Student Center or in Euler, there is a good chance they will step into a line where warm words will be waiting for them at the end.

Nunley loves the Taylor students like they are her own kids. Whether she is working as a dining services cashier, cheering on the Trojans at sporting events, posting student pictures on her @tutammy2021 Instagram page or even calling them heifers, Nunley wants to treat the students like she would want others to treat her own kid.

Like many of the students who come to Taylor, Nunley grew up in Indiana. More specifically, she is from the Muncie area.

Growing up, she went to ten different schools and was the quietest one in class. 

“I make up for it now,” Nunley said. 

Having attended Ball State University as an accounting major, Nunley is no stranger to students.

She overflows with friendly words of encouragement for students as they get their food and go about their day, asking about how they are doing and making a point to encourage them if they are down.

Nunley heard about Taylor from some friends and came to work here around Thanksgiving of 2021. Before that, she worked at a nursing home. However, she wanted a job that offered more life. 

“God led me to this place,” she said.

Behind Nunley’s joyous presence lies her motivation to love on the students of Taylor University as if they were her own children.

Tears often well up in her eyes as she speaks about her love for them. 

“When I honestly say you kids are like my kids, you kids are my kids,” Nunley said.

She credits a lot of her outlook on life to her mother. She explained that her mom raised her to think of others before she thought of herself. Instead of following the cultural mainstream, Nunley wants to serve others before she serves herself.

However, she doesn’t always succeed at this.

“I talk about it all the time; I cry about it,” Nunley said, remembering when two students took her out for Mother’s Day last year. “You’ll never know what that meant to me.”

This is just one of the many examples in which Nunley and Taylor students spend meaningful time outside of short conversations at meal times. 

As it turns out, she thinks she spends just as much time with students outside of work — if not more — than she does while working.

Nunley remembered the time she dressed up with Third Center Olson for Silent Night. She had taken a bad stumble around that time, and they came around her in encouragement. 

“Those third center girls — OC (Olson Center) girls — text(ed) me that morning on the way to the doctor’s appointment and prayed for me during that whole time,” Nunley said.

Nunley also loves to go to Trojan sporting events. She often sports Taylor apparel in support of the numerous teams on campus. Her Instagram page bears witness to this.

Nunley sees her page, @tutammy2021, as a way to connect further with the students. All one has to do to get a sense of it is to try and scroll to the bottom of her page.

This love that the students and Nunley have for one another is clearly evident there as you can see photo after photo of students.

While she loves to have fun with the page by posting couple photos, and this year, siblings, Nunley posts because she believes it is a way to bring positivity into the students’ lives here at Taylor.

No matter what she does on campus, Nunley seeks to serve the students and make them feel seen.

“It's about encouraging them and making them feel wanted and needed, that they got this and they can contribute to society,” she said.

Nunley noticed that for many students, being at college is a daunting experience. For her, the job is not just working as a cashier. She seeks to give many students the comfort she would want her own son to receive. 

As it turns out, Taylor students give back.

She has a box full of letters at home from many students whom she impacted with her kindness.