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Meet Terri, a Gourmet Dining Services superstar

Preparing the salad bar along with other stations and helping students in the cafeteria are just some of her superpowers. Her most sacred are the relationships she has built with students during her time at Seton Hall.  

Terri "Mama Terri" Waller is a Gourmet Dining Services employee who ensures all students feel included while eating in the dining hall. 

Waller has been working for GDS since 2018 and said her favorite part of the job is preparing the salad bar for the students to enjoy. She said when working with the salad bar, “it’s all about presentation.”

After almost five years working at GDS, she said working here has been interesting. Waller said that she is grateful for this job and has met people from around the world. 

“They call me Mama Terri, it’s fun and I like it,” Waller said. “The students that I’ve met here have a whole world ahead of them.”

While she was training for the job, Waller said the other workers within the GDS community made her feel comfortable and helped her navigate through her new position. 

“I’m so grateful for the people that helped me during the job,” Waller said. “They were there for me while I worked.”

Waller said she cares deeply for the students at Seton Hall, she even calls them “her children.” She often helps them with advice when they come to her seeking her help and advice. 

“All my children are my favorites,” she said. “It doesn’t make a difference where you’re from. Even the ones that graduated, I still think about them, and I just want them to succeed.”

She maintains close relationships with her “children,” including Davion Harnett, a freshman business marketing major. 

Harnett said Waller's characteristics are caring, blunt in a positive, helpful way and wise. 

“I met her on my third day on campus,” Harnett said. “She’s like my mother in the cafeteria and she’s given us advice on how to succeed in college.”

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Harnett said he talks to her anytime she is working, and he could hold a conversation for a long time while talking to Waller. 

Another student, Ideleniza Morillo, a freshman business undecided major, described Waller as a friendly, caring and outgoing person. 

“She is always there for students, [and is] very nice and cracks jokes,” Morillo said. “I mostly converse with Mama Terri more than anyone else in the dining hall.” 

According to Waller, “the students mean everything to me.”

Esmeralda Arias can be reached at


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