The tagline of Bob Jones University continually encourages everyone across campus to learn, love and lead. One person who exemplifies those values in her work and her interactions with everyone on campus every day is Cheryl Maxwell, a full-time custodial staff member and graduate student.
Maxwell is most well known as a friendly and straightforward custodial worker who keeps many of the buildings on campus clean and looking nice. T.C. Baker, who is also on custodial staff and has worked with Maxwell for about six years, said Maxwell has a passion for serving that makes her a delight to work with. Whether she is just going about her daily routine or helping train new employees, Maxwell is always ready and willing to help others whenever possible.
“She’s a friend to all who pass her way here at Bob Jones [University],” Baker said. Before coming to BJU, Maxwell served in the U.S. Army for 15 years. Recruited at 16, Maxwell joined the Army right after high school and spent seven and a half years playing softball for the Army before serving as medical personnel.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Maxwell grew up in a Christian home and was saved around the age of 12. Her father was a deacon of their church, so Maxwell remembers spending much of her time in church. As an adult, Maxwell married and had children of her own, raising them in a Christian household.
To escape the cold weather, the family moved to Florida where Maxwell lived for 20 years. In Florida, Maxwell was attending Northwest Florida State College when a friend told her about Bob Jones University. Maxwell had never heard of the University before, but after learning about it and visiting the campus, she applied to the University and was accepted.
“I felt like this is where God wanted me to be,” she said. Having been out of college for 30 years, it was rough sitting in core classes like History of Civ with freshman who were just out of high school, Maxwell said.
But as the other students began to realize that she was there to study and further her education just like they were, things began to get better. Maxwell also enjoyed interacting with the professors who taught her classes.
“You can go to them for help,” Maxwell said. “They have no problems. They’ll bend over backwards to help you.” At the state college Maxwell attended in Florida, the professors were often put up on a pedestal for the students, which made interacting with the professors difficult.
But here at BJU, Maxwell said the professors feel more like a family, treating their students fairly and making a true effort to help their students in their learning, an effort Maxwell hasn’t seen in a lot of schools. After graduating in 2016, Maxwell started working toward her master’s degree in sports administration and coaching.
She also became full-time custodial staff, a position in which she is now in her second year. Maxwell worked at the dry cleaners for the first semester of her freshman year before moving to custodial. She describes her custodial crew as a big family with everyone working as a team to get the large amount of work done every day.
Through her willingness to serve and dedication to work, Maxwell glorifies the Lord by the example she sets every day. She encourages students to keep pushing forward through what can feel like overwhelming trials and academic struggles.
“With God all things are possible,” Maxwell said. “I waited 30 years to come back to school. If I can do it, they can do it.”