Employees of the Year Honored at Brunch
Westmont honored a number of employees for their outstanding contributions at the May 9 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Brunch, an annual ceremony that recognizes individual work anniversaries and accomplishments. President Gayle D. Beebe and members of the college’s executive team selected the recipients from a peer-nominated pool. An endowment set up by the late Bruce and Adaline Bare fund the awards; he was a longtime college trustee.
This year’s Employee of the Year awards recognized the important contributions by staff who manage data systems. Nancy Everest, developer/analyst of applications and systems, works with the college’s essential information system.
“She makes things happen, but does so in a way that doesn’t draw attention nor require recognition,” said Reed Sheard, vice president for advancement and information technology. “She is a great teammate. She stepped up. She got the work done. After picking up and mastering the largest and most complex software application used to run the school, she moved on to a new application that proved invaluable and became the technical lead for her project that has established Westmont as a leader across higher education.”
Zak Landrum, senior director of advancement services, acts in a similar, but less technical, capacity as a fundraiser. Last summer, Landrum hired seven students to create new software for the advancement office. Working together, the team developed a unique extension of Salesforce that better organizes information about donors. “It’s intuitive, it’s simple to use and it’s owned by Westmont,” Sheard said. “It has saved us tens of thousands of dollars annually.
“Zak is not only one of the smartest people I’ve hired, but also one of the most creative.”
This year’s Adjunct Faculty Award recipients represented such fields as dance, music, and business. Each winner stood out amid a crowded field of talented teachers. Provost Mark Sargent praised dance instructor Susan Alexander for going “beyond her role as an adjunct.” Flute instructor Andrea Di Maggio, a founding member of Sonos 5 Winds, is a virtuosic role model for students. “She contributes with joy to the department’s music performances and recruiting efforts and is typically the first to volunteer,” Sargent said. Alumnus Ramon Gupta, a corporate attorney with an active practice, has taught business law at Westmont the last four years. “He is an incredible communicator in the classroom and regularly brings in subject matter and experts to put flesh and bones to the text book,” Sargent said.
Beebe gave Lisa De Boer, professor of art, and Toya Cooper, college counsel, the Jane Higa Award for Academic and Co-Curricular Partnership, recognizing the significant role that Higa played in promoting and fostering curricular and co-curricular partnerships during her 24 years as vice president for student life and dean of students. Beebe said that DeBoer had earned the esteem of both students and fellow faculty while seeking the transcendent good. The president saluted Cooper for her role as a tireless leader dedicated to discovering the best way to move ahead.
The brunch also served as a way to thank retiring staff members Teri Bradford Rouse and Tim Wilson. Rouse held several positions during her 27 years at Westmont, most recently as senior director of alumni and parent relations. Wilson, who served as associate dean of students for nearly 40 years, joins his wife, Jane, in retirement.
One of the loudest ovations of the day went to Brad Elliott, who has served as campus photographer and on the chapel worship team for 35 years.