Public Safety officer Annette Beckford is famous amongst Queens College students for her warmth and positivity. Photo: Apolline Lamy

Hello, Sunshine! — A Spotlight on Public Safety Officer Annette Beckford

4 mins read

Who hasn’t heard the famous line, “Hello Sunshine,” while entering campus? Whether it’s 7 a.m. or 2 p.m., Queens College Public Safety officer Annette Beckford stands at the main gate on Kissena Boulevard to welcome everyone. 

Born on the island of Jamaica, Beckford came to the U.S. thirty years ago. When she started this job, she couldn’t remember everyone’s name. 

“Knowing the name of each student is very hard. Sunshine came to me out of the blue,” she said while directing a FedEx truck driver. Since 2007, there is not a moment she’s stopped loving her work. “I am a people person, I like to interact with people, I like to put a smile on people’s face,” she said — and she does it well. While I was talking to her, several students stopped by to greet her, to tell her about their day.

Before working for Public Safety, Beckford worked as a medical assistant. However, she likes it better here, and she imagines more years at QC, waving to students with the same energy every day.

“I like to work here, at a public college, because there are so many people from different backgrounds. I am discovering different cultures,” Beckford said. 

If you asked Beckford about her favorite memories at QC, she couldn’t choose just one. There are millions, and all the stories are phenomenal, according to her. “Phenomenal because there are so many great persons here. Being in college is a growing process, a learning process,” she said. 

Beckford is proud to be part of this learning process for students. “I remember this student being so stressed before their exam,” she said. “I told him, ‘I will pray for you.’ Then, he came back and told me, ‘Sunshine, I got an A!”

Students are grateful for the encouragement Beckford gives them. “Sunshine is a very warm person,” said Mohamad Samra, a former student at Queens College. “She likes her job, she makes people feel comfortable, always here to help you up.” 

Ana Tarbujaru, a senior Psychology major here at QC, is another one of the many students to have a story about Beckford. “She has a positive energy and she takes her job so seriously,” said Tarbujaru. “Last year, I was already twenty minutes late to class and I forgot my ID. I begged her, but she never let me in and I just missed my class.”

This was, of course, when QCards were still required to enter campus.

Indeed, Ms. Beckford won’t let anyone on campus if they don’t have the authorization. During our interview, she would interrupt, “Hi! Hi! Guys, stop. Where are you going? Where is your parking pass?”

While security is a male-dominated profession, Annette Beckford doesn’t let just anyone on campus, always managing to assert her authority. 

But of course, her presence goes beyond being a figure of authority. When we see Annette Beckford, we not only notice her famous catchphrase, but also her incredible makeup, each day different from the last. “You know what, I am the MAC model,” she jokes. “I am advertising for them, but I am not paid for it!” 

Such a remark reminds students that Beckford is more than Public Safety. Her vibrant demeanor is the first encounter many get to have as they start their day of classes. So next time you pass through the gate on Kissena Boulevard, don’t forget to wave back and say, “Hello, Sunshine!”


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