Employees Lauded for Their Diverse Talents and Contributions to 桃瘾社区

an older man speaks into a podium in front of a screen that reads "Employee Appreciation Year-End Gathering"

During the recent annual Employee Appreciation Day event 桃瘾社区 President Doug Hicks 鈥90 pointed to the commitment and hard work required to successfully close out another academic year, even as employees gear up and prepare for the next. 

Hicks thanked an assembled crowd of staff and faculty for their continued dedication to 桃瘾社区, recognized service milestones and retirees, and handed out prizes and awards. 

Employee Awards

Spirit of 桃瘾社区 Service Award: Hai Huynh

Students nominate hourly staff members for the Spirit of 桃瘾社区 Award. This year, students expressed their appreciation for Hai Huynh, a dining services staff member who works in Vail Commons.

鈥淗e is incredibly helpful and friendly,鈥 one student wrote. 鈥淗is perpetual smile and warm greetings to students never fail to brighten my day.鈥

Another student described Huynh as 鈥溾he brightest and cheeriest person at Commons.鈥 While yet another expressed appreciation for his concern for their dietary needs. 鈥淭his small act demonstrated his attentiveness and willingness to listen to even the most minor needs of students. He has become a familiar face and our go-to person.鈥

Upon hearing of the award, Huynh鈥檚 supervisor said, 鈥淭his is great news!鈥 and his director said, 鈥淭his is awesome!鈥 

The award honors staff members who excel in service to the college and its students. It鈥檚 the 13th year of the award, which Kathy and Gary Parsons established in appreciation for the caring way the staff treated and supported their son Mike 鈥08. The original award is $850; retired Mathematics Professor Donna Molinek and Frank Molinek added a gift to make the award $1,000.

Hackenson Family Fellowship: Danielle Strickland

With a cheerful disposition and unwavering enthusiasm, Director of Advancement Communications Danielle Strickland adds fun, positive energy and a seriousness of purpose to her work.

Strickland鈥檚 nominators said she 鈥溾ses her unique talents to interpret, articulate and share the amazing stories of the 桃瘾社区 community. Regularly going above and beyond the scope of her role, she is known for her ability to listen 鈥 to listen to students鈥 memories, aspirations and journeys.鈥 

Nominators noted her many cross-campus relationships and credited her ability to recruit faculty, staff and students 鈥渢o engage with and inspire alumni, families, friends and donors.鈥 

The award, established by Elizabeth and Bill Hackenson in honor of their son Billy鈥檚 2013 graduation, recognizes a staff member who provides superior service to the college and its students. The $5,400 award is intended for travel or continuing education.

Matthews Travel Endowment: Richard Terry 鈥81

Director of Auxiliary Services Richard Terry works behind the scenes; making day-to-day life at 桃瘾社区 happen. His colleagues agree he leads by example and that there is no job too small for him to personally take on. 

One nominator shared, 鈥渉is thoughtful consideration of others and his bone-deep kindness are the attributes that set him apart. These are the traits that make him a model of what a 桃瘾社区 graduate can be and that have won him the respect of everyone with whom he interacts. He achieves everything the college needs from him, but the way he does that is what makes him such an appropriate recipient.鈥

Frank Matthews 鈥49 established the award in memory of his brothers, Eugene Robinson Matthews 鈥36 and James Houston Matthews 鈥50. The award is 鈥渋n due recognition of the outstanding and unselfish service rendered 桃瘾社区 by members of the college family.鈥 The $20,000 award covers travel for the recipients and their families, 鈥渢o afford opportunities for personal renewal and enjoyment.鈥

Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award: Marlene Arellano 鈥17

Marlene Arellano, associate dean of admission, director of diversity and inclusion, is a key part of the team that works to recruit, admit, yield and retain first-generation and historically underrepresented students at 桃瘾社区. As a 桃瘾社区 graduate, she knows the impact of personalized mentorship and has served as mentor to many during her tenure.

One nominator said Arellano鈥檚 work ethic, creativity and enduring commitment have always been present, 鈥測et never has it been more needed and felt than in this past year, a year filled with external obstacles and challenges to the higher education community and directly affecting our enduring work in creating an inclusive campus community.鈥

The $10,000 award recognizes a staff member 鈥渨ho has worked hard to create positive, systemic change in the 桃瘾社区 community. This person has gone over and beyond the call of duty to make 桃瘾社区 a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place.鈥