Columbia State Celebrates Faculty and Staff

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – July 10, 2014) - - - Columbia State Community College recently held its 17th annual Employees’ Honors and Awards Convocation, recognizing those who have excelled in their service to the school as well as those who are retiring.

Beverly Mitchell, professor of English, emceed and Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, presented the awards. The most prestigious awards include those given to members of the faculty, the professional staff and the support staff. Each group nominates and votes on its award winner, proclaiming that person to be the best of their area.

The 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award went to Dr. Glenn Hudson, associate professor of mathematics. Hudson, who received his doctorate in physics from Auburn University, has served on the faculty since 2007.

Announcing the award, Michael Darrell, president of the faculty senate, praised Hudson for his classroom excellence, his strong advocacy of his students, and for his pivotal role in 2013 STEM Girls event held at Columbia State, a day-long activity that drew over 300 middle school girls to the campus this past October.

In nominating Hudson for the award, his peers wrote, “He is clearly an outstanding professional, mentor, teacher and colleague, but I believe he should be viewed first as an outstanding leader… He is a person who brings vision, drive and passion to everything he does, and his energy and determination are contagious.”

The 2014 Outstanding Professional Staff Award was presented to Matt Lewis, assistant director of admissions. Lewis began his employment in 2007 as a valued member of the Lewisburg campus staff, moving later to the Columbia campus.

An alumnus of Columbia State, Lewis is able to understand and assist those now beginning their college career at Columbia State. He is also known for his musical gifts, having provided chamber music with his family at numerous college events. He is a second generation college employee as his mother, Beverly Lewis, instructed in the music department for several years.

Iris Anderson, president of the professional staff council, praised Lewis on behalf of all his peers for his reliability, expertise and leadership. Referring to a supporting letter for his nomination, she made clear why Lewis was the right choice for the award.

“Matt Lewis serves our students so well because he sincerely loves Columbia State and has truly made a commitment to lifelong learning,” Anderson said. “He seems to bring out the best in those around him, and he always, always, always represents Columbia State Community College in the finest light.”

The recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Support Staff Award was Jackie Crawford, a customer service clerk in admissions since 2006. In announcing the award, Yolanda Neal, president of the support staff council, stressed the value of Crawford’s attitude, her warmth and friendliness.

“She has a sense of humor and a sensitive nature of caring about the well-being of her fellow employees,” Neal said.

Whether it is the athletes in whom Crawford takes a strong interest and supports wholeheartedly, or the nervous, new student seeking information, Crawford’s cheerful approach is award-worthy.

The final award of the event was the President’s Medal, which was presented by Smith to David Ogden, recently retired director of recruitment and admissions, in recognition of his many years of dedication to the school. In her presentation, Smith read from letters written in support of Ogden by his college colleagues.

Among the letters was the statement that he has been “a tremendous advocate for education and, of course, Columbia State.” Another wrote, “He has an outstanding morale and optimism that blend into his personal and professional relationships… I have held him as a quiet role model.”

Among the retirees were Lyn Bayless, librarian (joined the college in 1974); Brenda Burney, director of financial aid (2011); Laura Cathey, secretary for economic and workforce development (1988); Jerri Grooms, coordinator of purchasing/financial analyst (1984); Deb Heidelbaugh, records clerk for the health sciences division (2002); Gene Humphrys, dean of the humanities and social sciences division and associate professor of sociology (2003); David Ogden, director of recruitment and admissions (1990); Will Santana, grounds foreman for facility services (1987); and Joe Szostak, grounds worker for facility services (1998). Together these individuals have given 172 years of commitment and service to the college.

Service awards were also given to employees who have completed a specific number of years of employment, beginning with a 5-year designation. Among them, Dr. Mary Susan Kennedy, professor of marketing, was recognized for 30 years employment, and Dr. Karen Siska, professor of education, was honored for her 35 years of service.


Photo Caption:
Jackie Crawford was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Support Staff Award. Pictured (left to right): Jackie Crawford and Yolanda Neal.


Photo Caption:
Matt Lewis was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Professional Staff Award.


Photo Caption:
Glenn Hudson was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award.


Photo Caption:
David Ogden was awarded the 2014 President’s Medal Award, the highest honor an employee of Columbia State can receive.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at tncommunitycolleges.org.

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