WKU President Gary Ransdell presented the annual Spirit of WKU and diversity awards along with new awards for service and sustainability Monday morning (Aug. 22) at the opening convocation.
Registrar Freida Eggleton received the 10th Spirit of WKU Award, which recognizes an individual who represents enthusiasm for WKU, loyalty to the institution and principles of the WKU experience and its motto “The Spirit Makes the Master.” (Click here for more from the 2011 convocation.)
Recipients of the 11th annual President’s Awards for Diversity were Ann Mead, employee; Michael Delaney, community; and Trenton Dunn, student. Each recipient represents a clear demonstration of exemplary leadership and achievement in promoting diversity at WKU and the communities it serves.
Recipients of the inaugural President’s Award for Service were Alexandria Kimura, student; and Bryan Reaka, faculty.
Recipients of the first President’s Award for Sustainability were Nicholas Asher, student; and Brian Sullivan, faculty.
Annual faculty award winners and WKU’s newest University Distinguished Professors also were recognized.
Spirit of WKU
For nearly 37 years, Registrar Freida Eggleton has made numerous significant contributions to WKU that have impacted students, faculty, staff and alumni. She has held a variety of positions (including assistant residence hall director and admissions counselor) and her enthusiasm, loyalty and love for WKU have been evident in every role and at every academic or athletic function, but nowhere is that enthusiasm, loyalty and love more present than at WKU Commencement ceremonies. In June, Eggleton celebrated her 25th anniversary as WKU Registrar. Her contributions extend well beyond the red carpet of WKU Commencement ceremonies. She has been involved with Homecoming and Parents Weekend activities, has mentored numerous family members who have attended WKU, has been an honorary coach for men’s basketball and football and has been inducted as an honorary member of the W Club for her work with student-athletes. She also has led the registrar’s office to 15 consecutive years of 100 percent participation in the United Way campaign and is a member of the Cupola Society, which recognizes individuals for continuous financial support to WKU – this year marked her 30th consecutive year.
President’s Award for Diversity
Capt. Michael Delaney, a member of the Bowling Green Police Department and Commander of the SWAT Team, has served as President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee for two years. His commitment to the development of our community’s youth is a primary focus. For example, he was instrumental in arranging for Dr. Calvin Mackey, an award-winning mentor, motivational speaker, and successful entrepreneur, to speak with high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Bowling Green and Warren Central High Schools during Black History Month in 2011. Additionally, he is one of the founding members of Black Men United, a group of men in the Bowling Green community, geared toward mentoring and working with at-risk youth. Delaney also makes weekly visits to the 11th Street Alternative School and Bellewood Presbyterian Boy’s Home to mentor young men who have ventured off track in an effort to steer them back to the right track.
Trenton Dunn is a recent WKU graduate from Harrodsburg. During his undergraduate career on the Hill, he made it a priority to serve as a resource and an advocate to many special interest groups that promote the diversity that WKU has to offer. Dunn served on the Executive Boards of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, The Amazing Tones of Joy Gospel Choir, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Dunn served as a Spirit Master and Student Representative on the WKU Diversity Plan Committee. He has collaborated on projects with the Black Student Alliance, the Office of Diversity Programs, and a host of other organizations on the WKU campus and in the Bowling Green community. He has been involved in activities across various departments, including participation in several Theatre & Dance productions and the Hilltopper Showstoppers show choir. Dunn is pursuing his Masters in Educational Leadership at Florida Atlantic University.
K. Ann Mead, the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer, has consistently supported efforts to enhance diversity at WKU. Beyond teaching University Experience courses for University College and the Gordon Ford College of Business, she has steadily illustrated concern and commitment in supporting the needs of at-risk students at WKU. In addition, she has also been a strong supporter of activities sponsored by the Office of Diversity Programs. WKU’s Outstanding Black Graduates Program has been the recipient of Mead’s generosity through the donation of her personal resources to make sure the program’s graduates and their relatives take away an attractive publication to commemorate this significant event. Additionally, her knowledge and experience in budget and finance matters were instrumental when providing counsel to the Chief Diversity Officer as the WKU Minority Faculty Hiring Plan was being crafted.
President’s Award for Service
Alex Kimura, better known as The Grilled Cheese Girl, is the first student recipient of the President’s Award for Service. In the spring of 2010, Kimura started the WKU Chapter of FeelGood, which is a student-run, non-profit deli that makes grilled cheese sandwiches in exchange for donations. The donations go toward grassroots organizations in developing countries that work to build up democracy and empower people to get themselves out of hunger and poverty. FeelGood has raised thousands of dollars in three semesters and will continue to work toward ending hunger one grilled cheese sandwich at a time. The group has more than 40 members, 10 officers and continues to grow. But Kimura’s service doesn’t stop with global hunger. After her sister, Sam, was diagnosed with a severe bone marrow disorder called aplastic anemia last April, Alex spearheaded a bone marrow drive and has partnered with the Be The Match organization to host drives at WKU and in her hometown of Louisville. She has raised more than $40,000 and added 5,000 people to the registry, including three WKU students who have been called as matches. She also is a member of Alpha Delta Pi, is a WKU Spirit Master, has attended the Clinton Global Initiative University for two years, helps raise money for the Ronald McDonald House and volunteers for Operation Christmas Child.
Bryan Reaka, an associate professor in our Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences, is the first faculty/staff recipient of the President’s Award for Service. Reaka has served as advisor for the WKU campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity since 2003 and has been a Habitat volunteer for more than 15 years and participated in projects in the United States, Mexico and Fiji. Since 2004, the WKU chapter has participated in Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge and more than 200 WKU students have made spring break and winter break trips to build houses for those in need. In 2009, WKU’s chapter was recognized as one of the top five participating in the alternative break program. Reaka also is advisor for the student chapter of the National Association of Home Builders and judges student competitions, speaks to numerous organizations, assists with student recruitment, and attends state and national meetings. Reaka served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at Glenmary Farm in Vanceburg in 2002-2003, and has been a youth camp counselor for the past four years.
President’s Award for Sustainability
Nick Asher is the first student recipient of the President’s Award for Sustainability. Asher, a May graduate who could be called “Mister Sustainability,” embodies the sustainable lifestyle – take little, use little, give back to that which nurtures. After arriving at WKU in 2007, he began promoting sustainability on campus and in the community. He was an active member of the GreenToppers, worked for the Recycling Department, helped expand the Big Red Bikes bike share program and co-founded the student sustainability garden at the WKU Farm. He has been active in Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and has attended Powershift conferences in Washington, D.C., and “I Love Mountains Day” in Frankfort. In the community, he has participated in the Bike BG program and farmer’s markets. Asher has studied and lived at an eco village in India with the Living Routes program, worked on a trail maintenance crew in Modoc, Calif., and spent this summer as a park ranger at Mammoth Cave, where he taken a full-time job.
Brian Sullivan, an associate professor of management in the Gordon Ford College of Business, is the first faculty/staff recipient of the President’s Award for Sustainability. Sullivan has generally taught courses related to the legal environment of business but he has a long history of social and environmental responsibility. As a law student and a young lawyer, he was involved with a number of environmental initiatives. Early in his teaching career at WKU, he taught seminars on environmental policy. In the past year, Sullivan has been a leader in adding a sustainability emphasis to WKU’s MBA program and has worked with academic programs, WKU administration and the community to get it done. Even though he plans to enter optional retirement soon, he isn’t slowing down. Sullivan is working to create a sustainability concentration within the management program, is teaching an Honors Colloquia on sustainability and is pouring energy into new efforts in this important area of sustainability. He is working with Warren Rural Electric Cooperative and the Franklin Economic Development Office to develop a social entrepreneurship program.
Faculty award recipients
Provost Gordon Emslie formally recognized the following faculty award recipients, who were announced during May commencement ceremonies: Fabian Alvarez, Department of English, excellence in teaching; Dr. Ferhan Atici, Department of Mathematics, excellence in research/creativity; Dr. Donna Blackburn, School of Nursing, excellence in public service; and Deanna Hanson, School of Nursing, excellence in student advising.
WKU’s newest University Distinguished Professors also were recognized – Dr. Farley Norman, psychology; and Dr. Robyn Swanson, music. (For more on faculty award recipients, visit the 2011 President’s Convocation website.)
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