LaWaunda January, Administrative Support Assistant at WUTC radio station “exhibits exemplary courtesy and helpfulness each day. She is Administrative Assistant to Robin Higgins and performs a yeoman’s job in that capacity. Her job involves tracking and reporting membership financial pledges – which require accuracy and thoroughness,” according to Helen Walker, Development Associate for WUTC. Though she is not a receptionist, January responds pleasantly when visitors arrive at the radio station. She plays a key role in training and coordinating the many Membership Campaign volunteers who come to WUTC during the drives twice each year. She schedules, welcomes, answers questions, and contributes to the vitally important ambience and integration that inspires the volunteers to return year after year. She also assists with training and orientation of student interns. “When I began work as Ken Dryden’s Assistant, LaWaunda … introduced me to the campus mail system, security protocol, and helped with computer issues which would have necessitated a call to IT. This on-site orientation was invaluable,” Walker said.
Ellie Wallis, Program Resource Specialist, STEM Challenger Center, demonstrates true understanding, real empathy for the customers, and a dedication to making sure the customers are satisfied, according to Racheal De’Friese, Micronaut Program Coordinator & Flight Director at the STEM Challenger Center. “I witnessed a few months ago, a customer who wanted to have her child’s birthday party here. The mother stated she would love to have the party here but couldn’t afford it. Ellie was heartbroken that the little boy couldn’t have his dream party here. Ellie got their address and mailed the little boy some Challenger and NASA stickers, pencils, and other small trinkets to wish him a happy birthday. The mother and her family and friends were so impressed by Ellie’s kindness, that they joined together to raise the money and scheduled a mission birthday party for this little boy! I was the Flight Director in charge of that party and they were in awe of Ellie and her great customer service. A guest from that party scheduled their little boy’s birthday party two weeks later!” De’Friese said. When school groups visit, Wallis schedules the entire visit. All the teacher needs to do is “show up with the check in hand. They appreciate how easy and stress free Ellie makes planning a field trip,” De’Friese
explained. Many of the children who attend summer camp at the STEM Challenger Center know Ellie by name. “When they come here for a field trip, during the school year, their eyes light up as soon as they see Ellie. Ellie is here 200% for UTC, for the Challenger Center, for the customers, and most importantly for the children,” De’Friese said.
Laura Herron, Senior Associate Athletic Director and Women’s Administrator, began compiling data and information in November 2011 to try and document the eligibility of a student who was graduating from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and wanted to continue his education at UTC and wrestle for the Mocs. “Due to UNCG dropping their program last spring and very tight restrictions by the NCAA, there was a lot of paperwork and research to be done to ensure the athlete would be eligible. Laura spent many hours over her Christmas break on the phone with the former institution and the NCAA to help make sure this process was done properly,” said Heath Eslinger, UTC Head Wrestling Coach. On January 24th, the athlete was cleared to participate and he was a key part in Chattanooga Wrestling securing its 27th Southern Conference Championship, according to Eslinger.
UTC Police Chief Bob Ratchford nominated Officer Steve Everett for saving a life. Everett took action and stopped a man who was attempting to jump from the Market Street Bridge. The quick action taken by Officer Everett has also been recognized by administration at the Chattanooga Police Department, Ratchford explained. “We are honored and privileged to have an officer of this caliber working for our agency and serving both the University and our community as a whole,” Ratchford said.
Lieutenant John Boe earned the Blue Ribbon Award for responding quickly and professionally to a call for help. When an employee expressed despondency to another employee, Boe responded, collected all the facts, and quickly located the troubled employee. He took extra measures to diffuse the situation. His nominator said his “entire handling of the situation was most commendable.”
Scott Sammons, Craft Specialist III of Facilities, was nominated by Diana Shelburne, Administration Support Associate in Social Work, for solving a leak that had plagued two rooms in Hunter Hall. The wall had been repaired several times, but the problem always came back. Sammons discovered the source of the water, which had been causing the problems, and had it resolved. “He went over and beyond the scope of a problem to correct it once and for all,” Shelburne said.
UTC Police Officer Rebecca Morgan was nominated by Officer Jay Johnson for her charitable act toward a homeless man. Morgan stopped to check on the welfare of an elderly homeless man who was seeking relief from the heat. The man told Officer Morgan that he was fine. When she checked on him later, he said he was hungry and thirsty. “Officer Morgan left and returned with a bottle of water and a hamburger, purchased with her own money,” Johnson explained. Instead of ignoring the person’s needs, or just trying to push him out of sight of off campus, she checked on the man’s welfare, asked him if he was aware of community resources that could offer aid. She didn’t treat the man as criminal, but as a person at risk…Officer Morgan should be commended for this simple act as an example for others to emulate,” Johnson said.
Sharon Williams, Senior Accounting Clerk for Housing and Residence Life, diligently keeps track of University finances and notifies appropriate staff of any discrepancy, according to Tim Johnson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Housing & Residence Life. “While routinely reviewing invoices Sharon identified a delivery of parts that was double the amount ordered. Sharon followed up with calls to the vendor to return the excess parts.” Her diligence paid off in a big way for the University when the bill for the parts came. “[When] the vendor tried to bill the department for the overage…Sharon pursued the matter to the company supervisors and ultimately the vendor agreed the University had made exceptional efforts to return the parts. All charges were cancelled, resulting in a savings of over $40,000,” Johnson said.
September, October, and November
Three women who work in the Records Office were nominated by Jocelyn Sanders, D.M.A. Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, for working together to make the certification of graduates go smoothly for the record commencement in May. Squoia Holmes, VA Academic Liaison & School Certifying Official; Juanita Wade, Graduation Specialist; and Samantha Skidmore, Graduation Specialist, experience a heavy workload every semester, but last spring proved even more difficult. “The record number of graduates in May, the implementation of the new degree audit system (Degree Works), the elimination of the August commencement ceremony, and restructuring within the Records Office required that these three individuals to work many overtime hours in order to complete the final degree audits for all students graduating in May and in August. Despite these factors that added significantly to their workload, they successfully prepared a record number of graduates and “walkers” for the May commencement – without error. This is the behind-the-scenes work that is often unnoticed, but adds so much to the positive experience of our graduates,” Sanders said.
Nancy Leamon, Administrative Support Assistant II, is a thoughtful employee in the Department of Music, and she adds a personal touch to many departmental interactions with students, faculty, staff and the public, according to Dr. Lee Harris, Professor and Head of the Department of Music. “Most recently, we honored Roland Carter as he is retiring from UTC at the end of this semester. It was Nancy who suggested that we have a faculty and staff portrait photographed to honor him for his 24 years of service to the university. She saw to it that the portrait was framed and presented to him after his final concert last Tuesday evening. She also made arrangements for a reception in the Fine Arts Center lobby following the performance. It was a wonderful evening and fine tribute to Dr. Carter,” said Harris. He explains it is just one example of the way Leamon goes above and beyond her job responsibilities. She has coordinated music scholarship auditions each spring for many years; and communicates with prospective students, parents and teachers throughout the year. “She is always pleasant, professional, knowledgeable and helpful. Many parents in particular have thanked her for her calm assistance with the details associated with college visits and auditions. It is a very emotional time for them and they appreciate the reassurance that their sons and daughters will be in good hands at UTC,” Harris explained.