Looking for someone who is extremely dedicated to Shippensburg University? Look no further than the cozy Century Café tucked away in Old Main, where you will likely find Cindy Emondi diligently at work ensuring quality food reaches hungry Raiders.
Emondi is the manager of the Century Café and has worked there since 1986, but her journey on SU’s campus started almost a decade before-hand.
“I’ve been here since 1978. I started when I was fourteen years old and have been here ever since,” Emondi said.
After working in Century Café for one year, Emondi met her would-be husband Tony Emondi while he was working as a temporary executive catering chef. When offered a full-time position by former SU President Anthony Ceddia, Tony jumped at the opportunity.
“He said he would [take the job] because he had found the love of his life,” said Emondi as her deep dark eyes welled.
The two were married in 1991 in the Old Main Chapel, where they began their 25 years of devoted marriage.
In January 2016, Tony died in their Shippensburg home.
“Four months after he had passed I found out that I had breast cancer. I have been battling ever since,” Emondi said.
The day after Christmas, Emondi had surgery to remove a softball sized tumor and four cancerous lymph nodes. On the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death, Emondi went in for a follow-up visit when they found more lymph nodes and two new masses. She explained that the doctors were confused by this because she had been receiving very strong chemotherapy.
“I can tell you right now, with his one year anniversary and me getting the bad news, he is the one calling me home, girlfriend, 30 years inseparable,” Emondi said, her voice quivering.
Despite having two cancer-related surgeries, Emondi’s work ethic compels her to request early releases so she may return to Century Café.
“I made the doctors release me. They know I’m a tough cookie so they do it,” Emondi said.
The café manager has found support during this challenging time through fellow staff and friends as well as campus organizations.
Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) raised about $500 for Emondi last month through a pastry and hot chocolate sale which took place from Feb. 27 to March 3 on the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library patio. The one dollar pastries and beverages were provided by Chartwells’ director Nick Iula, a longtime friend of Emondi’s.
CAC is a student organization which works to raise awareness of cancer on campus. The organization is closely affiliated with the American Cancer Society (ACS). Ten percent of all CAC proceeds go toward ACS.
CAC is currently working on establishing a new fund to assist students, faculty and staff at SU who are financially burdened by cancer-related treatment.
“In this way we can show that your couple of dollars you gave toward the bake sale is making an impact on the life of a student, staff member or faculty here at the university,” said CAC staff adviser Carl Archut Jr.
Because Emondi has dedicated so much of her life to SU, Archut explained there is a personal connection between her and the students.
“When we all come together I think we can accomplish a lot more,” Archut said, explaining that SU students must come together to help fellow students, faculty and staff like Emondi.
When asked what words Emondi had for others who are diagnosed with cancer, she said, “I just wish them the best because I know what I have been going through.”