While Interim President Dr. J. Kyle Dalpe regretted that he hadn’t bought Zoom Video Communications stock prior to the health pandemic, he celebrated that employees attended the annual Fall Kickoff and Welcome Back Convocation in person on Aug. 24 in Carson Nugget Hall.
Faculty and staff packed the hall and Dr. Dalpe welcomed them to a new academic year, providing college news, recognizing college accomplishments, lauding outstanding employees, greeting new employees and outlining strategic planning for the coming year.
The meeting was an opportunity to acknowledge three award-winning employees, as well applaud the President’s Team Award recipients.
This year’s recipient of the Classified Employee of the Year is Daniel Smith.
Daniel has worked at WNC since 2008, serving as a maintenance repair specialist in Buildings and Grounds. He is a valuable team member who serves a variety of the college’s needs, including electrician service, and is known to show up for work at 3 a.m. when a project demands. He also was applauded by Dr. Dalpe for removing a rattlesnake from campus earlier this summer.
“When you love what you do, you don’t feel like it’s too much,” Daniel said. “I enjoy what I do and enjoy the people I work with.”
Biology Professor Holly O’Toole was selected as Faculty Employee of the Year.
Since 2007, Holly has primarily taught human anatomy and biology to WNC students. Students say that Holly makes science “fun and easy.”
She’s also served as Fallon campus director and has been very active on campus as a student and faculty adviser, and in leading student research projects.
“I believe that we need to feel like what we are doing is extraordinary, significant and meaningful,” Holly said. “This adds a value and dimension to our work lives. I have put 100 percent into my role as an educator. It’s lovely to feel valued by my peers. I really appreciate it!”
The third award went to Disability Support Services Director Susan Trist for Administrative Faculty Employee of the Year.
Susan has worked at WNC since 2005 and has been instrumental helping and empowering many students with disabilities to obtain their education and professional goals. She also is very active committee member on campus, providing educational wisdom and guidance for the college.
“I’m honored and surprised to receive the Administrative Faculty of the Year Award,” Susan said. “WNC is a great place to work. I truly enjoy helping students achieve their goals; being recognized for my work and commitment to our students is ‘icing on the cake’.”
Dr. Dalpe also announced the Enrollment Management Committee as the recipient of the President’s Team Award. The team meets weekly most of the year to provide current and long-range planning and tactics to increase enrollment. The committee is headed by Director of Financial Assistance J.W. Lazzari and Psychology Professor Dr. Rebecca Bevans. Team members include Cathy Fulkerson, Chelsie Hamtak, Coral Lopez, Deborah Ingraffia-Strong, Jessica Rowe, Joshua Fleming, Niki Gladys, Piper McCarthy, Ronald Belbin, Scott Morrison, Dr. Winnie Kortemeier, Angela Holt, Rachael Schneider, Aaron Glass, Dr. Dana Ryan, Troy Wadsworth and Steve Yingling. Dianne Hilliard and Dr. Georgia White were also part of the committee before they retired this summer.
Another highlight of the meeting was Dr. Dalpe casting T-shirts into the crowd during a “SuperPower session.” Reluctant receivers of the WNC swag were asked to stand up and state their superpower. The college’s superheroes were Joshua Fleming, Hilda Villafana, Maggie Densford, Jason Spohr, Piper McCarthy and Gregory Sly.
The meeting was followed by a BBQ lunch and a Benefit and Wellness Fair for employees.