Five University of Mary Washington employees were honored during an employee recognition luncheon Monday, Feb. 27, for their extraordinary contributions to students and the University community as a whole.
President Troy Paino praised award winners and other employees for fostering the kind of community that helps students thrive academically and socially.
Today’s students have shown their resilience during the public health crisis and other contemporary pressures, Paino said. Caring, support and mentorship from employees reinforces that resilience and gives students a model for how to function as contributing adults.
“Thank you so much for all you do for our students and all you do for Mary Washington,” Paino told more than 240 luncheon attendees at the Chandler Ballroom of the Cedric Rucker University Center.
Winners of the University Staff Council’s Larry Atkins Award, recognizing UMW’s “unsung heroes,” were:
Ryan Hastings, veterans’ liaison in the Office of the Registrar. “A veteran himself, Ryan has a deep understanding of the challenges facing student veterans, active-duty students, and military dependents,” his nomination said. “He has a true passion for serving this population, and it is evident in his daily dedication and commitment.”
Sharon Williams, assistant registrar for degree audit. “She is a problem-solver who takes each student’s circumstances seriously,” her nomination said. When a student is found to be missing a degree requirement, Williams responds with compassion and “helps those students strategize their path to completing their degree.” Her team attitude, integrity, honesty and sincerity were also noted.
And Clint Often, assistant athletic director of communications. “Clint Often is synonymous with athletics at Mary Washington,” a former student, now colleague nominator wrote. “He works Monday-Sunday many weeks during the academic year and sometimes will go weeks at a time without a break in his schedule as fall overlaps with winter seasons, and winter seasons overlap with spring.” Nevertheless, “he always does so with a smile, a positive attitude, and a joke.”
Winners of the 2022 Charles Coleman and Richard V. and Rosemary A. Hurley awards also were announced at the first in-person employee recognition luncheon UMW has been able to hold in 3½ years.
The Coleman Award, recognizing a classified or hourly employee with more than five years’ continuous service to UMW, was presented to case manager Betsy Southern for her exemplary service, loyalty and positive attitude. As Covid care coordinator, Southern demonstrated “incredible compassion in caring for students in isolation and quarantine,” according to her nomination.
The Hurley Award for exceptionally meritorious service and character went to Justin Wilkes, director of the Student Transition Program. He was recognized for his extraordinary commitment to the University and for “knowing the right moments to step in and provide students guidance and counsel,” his nomination said. “What an asset to the UMW community.”