North Texas

UNT's ‘Mama Joyce' Serves Life Lessons

Step inside Bruce Hall on the University of North Texas campus and it's hard to miss Joyce Nixon.

Always on the move, she's affectionately known to students as Mama Joyce.

Nixon oversees the cafeteria and is known for her meals as much as her mothering.

"When people come through that door we don't know how they grew up. We don't know what they've been dealing with. Sometimes when we serve in that line we see it all," said Nixon.

Part cook and comforter, Nixon strives to make her kitchen feel like home for those who are far away from their own.

"When she's coming around, you can hear her," said one student-worker from Belgium. "She's funny and she's always in a good mood."

"You've got to care something about the next person," said Nixon. "It's not going to make your team work."

That caring includes a little tough love to the student workers she oversees and the students who come through her line.

"In the real world they don't hold your hand. You either come to work or you don't," said Nixon. "Regardless on what people put on you it's always your choice."

It's not uncommon for former students to stop by to say 'hello' or send Nixon a 'thank you' card for her guidance after graduating.

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