Born in Morrison, Ill. in 1942, Swedell was so strongly influenced by her high school business teacher that, after attending Western Illinois University for business on a full academic scholarship, she chose the same career.

Despite it being a time when many women got married and began family life rather than furthering their own education, Swedell earned her bachelor’s degree in 1964 and began teaching at Wethersfield High School in Kewanee, Ill. before moving to Macomb to continue teaching there. She also filled the roles of yearbook sponsor and junior class sponsor.

Swedell was recruited to fill a part-time position at SRC, joining the staff in 1986. She enjoyed it so much that, when working both jobs became too much, she chose to remain at SRC. She was known for developing close—almost motherly—relationships with students and coworkers alike. She was named SRC’s Employee of the Year in 2011 and served in several roles. In her final role as an advisor in SRC’s TRIO program, she helped first-generation college students and other students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

After a bout with cancer in 2010 left her at higher risk for severe illness, Swedell’s doctor recommended that she retire at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to lessen the risk to her own health. This left her one year shy of reaching her goal of 35 years of service to SRC and SRC’sstudents.

Though her beloved husband Lennie passed in 2022 after 57 years of marriage, Swedell remains extremely proud of their sons, Dave and Steve; her educator daughter-in-law, Ashley; and her grandchildren, Audrey (also an educator) and Blaine, who is a current SRC student and fifth- generation family farmer.