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Hendrix Salutes Staff

CONWAY, Ark. (March 19, 2014) – Hendrix College staff members were recognized at a special ceremony today in Worsham Student Performance Hall in the Student Life and Technology Center.

Sharon Russell, Director of Operations (Academic and Administration Buildings) in the Office of Facilities Management, received the "Indi" Award given to a staff member who, by his or her service, has proven to be an indispensable member of, and contributor to, the Hendrix community.

“I see no more diligent worker, no more dedicated servant of the college, no more cheerful spirit in the face of enormous challenges, no more kindness in leadership than I see in her,” wrote her nominator. “So much of what she does is behind the scenes that many people on campus may not know that she’s doing it. I feel like her good work should be visibly awarded and applauded by the Hendrix community.”

Assistant Director of Admission Brett Carr, a 2010 Hendrix graduate, received the A. C. Millar Innovator Award. The award is named for Alexander C. Millar, who was president of Hendrix and was instrumental in moving the College from Altus to Conway in 1890. The award is given to a staff member who is recognized for having the courage to champion new and innovative ideas for the betterment of Hendrix College.

“He has an ability to think outside the box that has helped him reach students and families in new and unique ways,” wrote his nominator. “He is the brains behind two major creative initiatives in our office: Pop-Up Ivan and the Disco Tray Keychain, two items that we mail to admitted and enrolling students. I know his creativity and innovation will take him great places – but not before he leaves his mark on Hendrix.”

Sunny Haynes, Events Production Manager in the Office of Technology Services, and Emily Lee of the Office of Dining Services received the John Paulette Unsung Hero Award presented by the Student Senate to a staff member who has had an impact on students at Hendrix.

Rane Peerson, a senior from Alma, Ark., was one of the students who nominated Haynes. Peerson has worked in the Media Center under Haynes for nearly four years.

“During this time, I’ve discovered over and over again just how important Sunny is to the functionality of nearly every single part of the Hendrix campus and how lucky we are to have him employed here,” Peerson wrote. “The truth of the matter is, if Sunny wasn’t around, the school would have probably fallen to pieces years ago.”

“Every day, Sunny comes into work and finds himself faced with an unending list of problems, requests and repairs to be made,” Peerson added. “Sunny is without a doubt the hardest worker I’ve ever encountered so far in my life, and he refuses to let himself or his workers fail.” 

William O’Brochta, a junior from Roanoke, Va., was one of the students who nominated Lee.

“Last year, ECC started an initiative where we cleaned trays in the dish room on Thursdays and saved the compost. This basically meant that we completely interrupted the flow of the dish room for our own initiatives. I guess I really did not think too much about the dish room and how it could have a flow, but boy it does,” said O’Brochta. “Ms. Emily spent time each week teaching our ECC volunteers how to pull trays and clean them most effectively.”

“I happened to get on the washing line with her the first week. As soon as I would pull a tray from the return, she would have half of the plates and cups washed and be ready for another one. There was barely time for me to grab the compost off,” said O’Brochta. “I calculated that Ms. Emily could wash singlehandedly a tray of any number of plates and cups and mess in an average of 20 seconds, which I think is remarkable. That is 20 seconds per tray for at least an hour at a time without breaks. And, during the busy times, the trays kept coming and we kept washing, Ms. Emily at least three times faster than whomever was on the other line and she never complained when someone used seven cups or stacked three plates on top of each other with sauce all over all sides of them … Plus, she managed to do all this and know absolutely everything about me, my fellow ECC workers, and all the “regulars” in the caf in the morning. I think that she truly goes beyond what could possibly be expected and epitomizes the Hendrix spirit all while a huge portion of the campus does not give her a second thought.”

Past recipients of these awards include Brenda Adams, Mary Beacham, Julie Brown, Karen "Cookie" Burchfield, Shawn Goicoechea and Chris Simon.

The awards were overseen by the staff events committee, which includes Karen Foust and Fred Baker (Office of Admission and Financial Aid); Vicki Lynn (Human Resources), Pamela Owen (Office of Alumni and Constituent Engagement); Frank Cox and Helen Plotkin (Office of Marketing Communications); Loyd Ryan (Facilities Management); and Jim Wiltgen (Office of Student Affairs).

Nominees for this year’s awards were: Sandra Barnett, Felicia Beaston, Brett Carr, Christy Coker, Mimi Courtway, Martha Dayer, Desh Deepak, Dianne Edwards, Wendy Faught, Danny Fuller, Sunny Haynes, DeAnn Huett, Nicholas Horn, Barbara Horton, Leigh Lassiter-Counts, Emily Lee, Dana Leighton, Maureen McClung, Jennifer McKenzie, Ephraim McNair, Holly Nelson, Terri O’Neal, Kimberly Porter, Sharron Russell, Mary Anne Seibert, Chris Simon, John Steward, Henryetta Vanaman, Mary Wiese and the Office of Technology Services.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit