Two members of the staff and alumni of Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, were recently honored with the Mary Anna King Whitehead Staff Excellence Awards during the University’s annual staff awards breakfast. Those receiving awards were Gaye Calhoun and Del Duke.
Calhoun, secretary in Magale Library, was recognized by her peers as the award recipient of the Support Staff Excellence Award. This award is intended to recognize the support staff that have achieved an outstanding level or professionalism in the performance of their assignment.
“I feel very blessed and honored to receive this award,” said Calhoun. “ It was a shock. The part of my job I love the most is helping people.”
She is a 1972 graduate of SAU and returned to work at the University in 1995.
“I felt like I had come home to work,” said Calhoun. “A number of the people I worked with were here when I was a student.”
Duke serves as coordinator of the Center for Instructional Technology and was awarded the Professional Staff Excellence Award. He has been employed with the University since 2002. This award is intended to recognize the non-teaching professional staff who have achieved an outstanding level of professionalism in the performance of their assignment.
“I am really surprised to receive this award,” said Duke, a 2000 graduate of SAU. “There are so many who are equally or more deserving of this award. One of the things that makes this University so outstanding is everyone’s willingness to help each other.”
Duke is a 1996 graduate of Genoa Central High School.
“I would like to thank my student assistants for helping me,” said Duke. “We all work together.”
Each of the award winners received a $500 prize.
The Mary Anna King Whitehead Staff Excellence Awards have been fully endowed through the SAU Foundation. The endowment was funded by current and former Governors of the University Foundation in memory of Mrs. Whitehead, who was a six-year member and former chairperson of the Foundation Board. Investment income from the Whitehead Endowment funds the two University staff excellence awards in perpetuity.
Also recognized during the staff awards breakfast were those who had given many years of service to the University.
Acknowledged for 10 years of service were Gaye Calhoun, Magale Library; Patty Carpenter, Physical Plant; Brenda Garrett, Student Accounts; Linda Mullins, Magale Library; J Kay Sawyer, Office of Institutional Research; Debbie Sehon, Department of Agriculture; and Cledis Stuart, Office of Multicultural Services.
Jan Franks, Roger Giles, Robert Jones, and Bronwyn Sneed were all recognized for 20 years of service. Franks is with the Office of Student Life; Giles is the vice president for finance and administration; Jones works at the Physical Plant; and Sneed is director of the Office of Financial Aid.