Six Elon staff members were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the university at a May 31 awards program during the annual staff appreciation celebration in Schar Center.
Six Elon university employees were honored on May 31 for their contributions to the university in the annual awards program in Schar Center attended by hundreds of staff members. The half-day event included entertainment by the renowned Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team, which was a semifinalist on America's Got Talent and has performed around the world.
"What really sets us apart is all of you," President Connie Ledoux Book told the staff members gathered for the celebration. "You are who create Elon's unique and powerful sense of community."
The Phoenix Innovation Award is presented to a member of the Elon staff who has displayed innovation by creating, designing, improving or implementing a new idea or program that benefits the university or our community. The 2019 award was presented to Libby Coyner, archivist and assistant librarian.
The Phoenix Rising Award is presented to one newer member of the Elon staff who has consistently displayed excellence in pursuit of the Elon Commitment with an engaged mind, inspired leadership and global citizenship. The 2019 award was presented to Tracy McBane, program assistant for the departments of Mathematics and Statistics, and Computing Sciences.
The Phoenix Community Engagement Award is presented to a member of the Elon staff who has demonstrated exemplary service to the university, local or global community through engagement in volunteer organizations. The award was presented to Jessica Blocker, coordinator of the prospect database in the Admissions Office.
Nicole Bergen, program assistant for the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, was named Professional Hourly Staff Member of the Year; Maurice Levesque, associate provost for curriculum and assessment, was named Administrative Staff Member of the Year; and Susan Tripp, horticulturist, was named Physical Plant Staff Member of the Year.
Friday's event also offered an opportunity to celebrate the careers of staff members who are retiring this year, including Karen Chisnall, information analyst and student support specialist in the Office of Career and Student Development at Elon Law; Dianne Ford, coordinator of library electronic resources and associate librarian; Mark Kellis, plumber and mechanic; Cheryl Loy, registration and graduation coordinator in the Registrar's Office; Ron Morgan, senior buyer for Physical Plant; Rudolph Singleton, custodian; and Mike Thompson, technology construction manager.
Book surprised the staff on Friday with an announcement as she recognized Gerald Whittington, who joined the university in 1992 and is concluding his service as senior vice president for business, finance and technology to move into the new role of senior vice president and special assistant to the president, and associate professor. Noting Whittington's service that has included working long hours, Book said the ample overtime Whittington has amassed is enough to grant the entire Elon staff an additional vacation day.
Book proclaimed Friday, July 5, as "Gerald Whittington Day" and announced it would be an additional paid holiday for all university employees in honor of Whittington and his remarkable contributions during his nearly three decades of service.
Staff Appreciation Day is also an opportunity for Elon staff to support the local community. Staff members donated a record 5,113 pounds of food for the food pantry at Allied Churches of Alamance County, which works to address homelessness and hunger.