Clayton State University President Dr. Thomas Hynes’ new initiative for recognizing “individuals who make differences in the lives of people at Clayton State University and the community,” the “Making Things Better” awards, has recognized four individuals and two organizations for indeed, making a difference.
At a ceremony in the James M. Baker University Center, Hynes presented the initial “Making Things Better” awards to: Karen Blackburn, support services coordinator for the Office of Disability Services; Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jim Braun; Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Physics Dr. John Campbell; and the director of Clayton State – Fayette, Leslie Moore. In addition, two Clayton State organizations, the Department of Campus Life and the Laker Angles Club, were also honored with “Making Things Better” awards.
Hynes neatly summarized the contributions of the six award winners, noting that they were being honored for all that they do, “to make dreams real at this institution.”
“All of the nominees this year are definitely making things better at Clayton State University, but our winners really stood out,” says John Wallom, assistant director of Virtual Services and a member of the “Making Things Better” Selection Committee. “One of the things that I think really makes this award special is that it is based on the nominations from co-workers, students and employees, as well as the professional judgment of peers on the committee.
“Be it for an overall commitment to the goals and future of Clayton State, or their reaching out to help a colleague in trouble, the winners this year really made those of us the committee thankful for the awesome employees at Clayton State.”
Wallom also notes that the committee focused on several key words in judging the nominations, specifically, institutional commitment, impactful, engaged and involved.
Hynes, in introducing each award winner, enjoyed giving some of the reasons for their awards.
Blackburn was commended for her enthusiastic spirit and for always meeting student needs. Braun, the University’s senior faculty member with 36 years of service, is “the soul of the University who is passionate about teaching students.”
“It’s nearly impossible to capture everything Dr. Campbell has done to make Clayton State better,” was Hynes’ assessment of Campbell.
Moore, who has directed the instructional site in Peachtree City since 2010, and who also advises all of the University’s 300+ dual enrolled students, is, “a model of what this institution can tell others about what this institution does to make things better for a wide range of people.”
The two group awards went to an entire department within Student Affairs (Campus Life) and the Laker Angels organization, a group of faculty and staff volunteers that was formed in 2004 with the mission to organize efforts to help lift the burden on Clayton State employees in their times of need. Co-director Julie Coile accepted the award for the 55 members of the Laker Angels.
Accepting Campus Life’s award was Director Natasha Hudson, although her entire team was present to receive credit for their student-centered attitude and ensuring the success of the University’s student programs.
Vice President for External Relations Kate Troelstra, in opening the program, noted that the “Making Things Better” awards were made possible by the contributions of many donors to the University’s Excellence Fund, and that the awards would be an annual event that would eventually move to a permanent place in the fall later this year.
Also nominated for the initial “Making Things Batter” awards were; Dr. Virginia Bonner, Dr. Eric Bridges, Dr. Ruth Caillouet, Dr. Michael Dalmat, Wanda Davis-Bender, Dr. Kevin Demmitt, Dr. Anthony Giovannitti, Dr. Barbara Goodman, Dr. Sipai Klein, Tina Lake, Elise Marshall, Joshua Meddaugh, Dr. Antoinette Miller, Dr. Linda Nash, Dr. Grace Nteff, Aaron Rafter, Dr. Charlotte Swint, Vicky Stewart, Dr. Richard Singiser, Dr. Patrick Taylor, Dr. Shawn Young, the AmeriCorps program, the Clayton State Library staff, and the School of Nursing advisors.
Above Photo, Left to Right: Karen Blackburn, support services coordinator for the Office of Disability Services; the director of Clayton State – Fayette, Leslie Moore; Dr. Tim Hynes, president at Clayton State University; Natasha Hutson, director of the Student Activities Center representing the Department of Campus Life; Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jim Braun; Professor of Physics Dr. John Campbell; and Co-director Julie Coile accepted the award for the members of the Laker Angels.