An enthusiastic crowd waved bright orange and green pom pons and chanted “Let me see your body move! Ooh, la, la! Ooh, la, la!” kicking off this year’s University of La Verne Faculty awards.
The annual event recognizes faculty members for years of service, promotions, tenure, sabbaticals and degrees earned.
Other awards of the event include classified employee of the year, excellence in teaching awards, the Ellsworth Johnson Service Award and emeriti recognition.
Faculty members inducted into the University of La Verne Academy were also honored.
The academy was created in 2006 to recognize those who have shown complete dedication to research and equal devotion to the University of La Verne.
This year’s inductees to the University of La Verne Academy are Donald Dunn, professor and dean of the college of law; Glenn Gamst, professor and chairman of the department of psychology; and Kathleen Lamkin, professor of music history and president of the College Music Society.
All three inductees were surprised and flattered at the announcement of their names.
“I’m completely honored and a little overwhelmed, and it’s wonderful to be a part of this group,” Lamkin said.
Another honoree was Charlotte Neill, this year’s Classified Employee of the Year.
“I’m most appreciative because (I) couldn’t be a good employee without all the backup of my fellow workers and my wonderful boss,” Neill said.
In addition to being classified employee of the year, Neill was also recognized for earning a bachelor’s degree in art history at the University this year.
She was also recognized for her 20th year of service.
The crowd stood up and broke into applause as Jonathan Reed, professor of religion, was named this year’s recipient of the Ellsworth Johnson Service Award.
“It’s very humbling because there are so many other people who are deserving and work so hard for ULV,” Reed said.
Melissa Rothmeyer, who received eight separate nominations and a petition signed by 19 faculty and classified staff members, was named the Administrative/Professional Employee of the Year.
Colleagues described Rothmeyer as, “a diamond that shines even during the darkest times” and “this is as close to organizational magic as anyone can ask.”
“I was very proud and I hope to live up to everything they said,” Rothmeyer said. “There’s nothing I can do without my team. I’m so proud to see that I’ve actually made a difference.”
Rothmeyer is the associate director of human resources.
The Excellence in Teaching awards went to Rex Huigens, professor of movement and sports science and assistant athletic director; John Bartelt, associate professor of education-technology; Samuel Son, and Anita Flemington, professor of education.
“I’m jazzed. It’s such an honor to work with such a collegial group of people,” Bartelt said.
“Everyone is there with open hearts… It’s the only place I’ve ever worked where they actually believe their own mission statement,” he added.
Other faculty and staff members were recognized for five through 35 years of service to the university.
Among those highlighted was Mike Laponis, professor of communications, who has been at the University for 25 years.
“It’s been wonderful, I enjoy working with students – that’s the best part of the whole time here,” Laponis said.
Another long-time employee of the University is Al Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs.
Clark has been a part of the University of La Verne for 30 years and was called “the real energizer bunny” by university president Steve Morgan.
“He’s the glue that holds so much together,” Morgan said, and continued to praise and joke about his colleague and their years working together.
With pom pons in the air, laughter and smiles everywhere, Morgan put it best, “Here’s to our faculty dear, for them I have the biggest cheer.”
Cindy Lopez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.