SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Family bonding is important, but what if you never got a break from it? OzarksFirst learned how this is going for one family who works at Evangel University.
When Tony and Katie Perrin got married eight years ago, they quickly realized their jobs got in the way of their relationship. Katie says she used to be a full-time nurse at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.
“I worked overnights, and my husband worked an eight-to-five job,” Katie said. “We saw each other very briefly, except on the weekends when I was off.”
Everything changed in 2017, which is when Evangel wanted to hire two resident directors.
“When this position opened up, I didn’t know much about what it would look like but knew it was something [Tony] was passionate about,” Katie said. “I knew it was something we could do together.”
Tony says he always wanted to work with students.
“Back in 2011, I got a master’s degree to work with students, student development,” Tony said. “Being a resident director was something that I actually wanted to do a long time ago.”
So, the Perrin’s applied for the position at Evangel, got hired and moved into Lewis Hall. They’ve now been co-workers for four years.
“Did I envision us doing this together? Honestly, no,” Tony said. “It wasn’t something that [Katie] thought was in her wheelhouse, although she’s really good at it.”
Tony says working with his wife has made their relationship stronger.
“She keeps me humble,” Tony said. “She keeps me on top of things, and we balance each other out well. There are things that I don’t do well that she does well, and things that she doesn’t do well that I do well. We’re able to work together in that capacity.”
Katie says her husband takes on more of the office and management side of the job.
“A lot of what we do here is relational,” Katie said. “It’s just living life with our students. A lot of it is meetings here and there as well. The majority of what we do is invest in the lives of the students in our Hall. That’s been a lot of fun to do together.”
In September of 2021, Evangel hired Katie’s father, Charlie Hungerford. He became the University’s director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment. This is Hungerford’s 19th year working in college admissions.
“My mission is just changing the future one student at a time,” Hungerford said.
Although he’s new to campus, Hungerford says he feels like he fits right in. His family has a lot to do with that.
“Katie and Tony working here made the transition comfortable and easy,” Hungerford said. “I’ve learned about the University by just talking with them. Of course, getting to see family on a regular basis makes it a bonus and a blessing as well.”
Since Hungerford started, family bonding has happened at work.
“I have lunch with them,” Hungerford said. “We try to do it at least once a week. It’s just fun to know that they’re just across the campus if I wanted to see them or if I wanted to go over and say hi.”
Charlie says every time he goes to a meeting, he feels like he is at a family reunion. It’s an experience Katie says she won’t take for granted.
“Through high school, he traveled so much,” Katie said. “We spent just brief moments together a lot of times. It’s nice now for him to be home-based here in Springfield. Now getting to see him even more being on campus is awesome.”
Tony says it’s special to work with his father-in-law.
“To be able to share this proximity and this love for Evangel, that’s unique,” Tony said. “That’s something that we didn’t have before. He gets to work with getting the students here, and Katie and I get to work with the students while they’re here. That’s a great pairing.”
A passion for higher education bringing this family together is nothing new. Tony says he worked with Hungerford a long time ago at Drury University.