Event honors faculty, staff

Jonathan Smith
Copy Editor

George Keeler, professor of journalism, and communications department chairman, was recognized last week for completing 30 years of service at the University of La Verne.

He was among those honored for his service last Friday at the annual Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony.

“Awards tend to bring up a flood of memories,” Keeler said. “I feel I made a difference in the lives of so many students.”

Keeler compared his 30 years here to several popular TV reality shows.

“Being honored is like the show ‘Survivor’ or the ‘Amazing Race,” Keeler said adding he hopes to continue teaching for many years.

“It’s a short time. I have a lot in front of me. I enjoy the challenge everyday as my students grow toward excellence,” Keeler added.

Several faculty and staff members were honored during the event held in the Athletic Pavilion, for such milestones as achieving tenure and promotion to associate or full professor. Honors also were given for five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service to the University, among other distinctions.

“I think it’s a wonderful annual event to celebrate the employees, faculty and staff time,” said Dean of Student Affairs Loretta Rahmani. “I really truly think that time is a beautiful gift.”

Keeler, who started his service at ULV in 1979 has been communications department chairman since 1995. He also served as adviser for many issues of award-winning La Verne Magazine.

Recently Keeler appeared as an expert commentator on the History Channel’s “Beyond the War of the Worlds.”

Keeler said the award is a testament to his career as a teacher.

Among other honorees, Jeff Nonemaker, the director of international student recruitment and admissions, received the Administrator/Professional Employee of the Year Award.

“I was completely surprised,” Nonemaker said. “I didn’t expect it. There were other people that probably deserved it.”

Nonemaker is in his 26th year at ULV.

Before his current position of the past four years, Nonemaker was the academic dean at the ULV Athens campus for 22 years.

Nonemaker said that the number of international students has increased tremendously since he took his current position.

“I think the group I’m working with now are the nicest, most qualified people I have worked with,” Nonemaker said.

Reed Gratz, professor of music, was inducted into the University of La Verne Academy.

The Academy, created in 2006, honors faculty members with outstanding achievements in research, publication and creative activity.

Gratz came to ULV in 1977 and was given the University of La Verne Excellence in Teaching Award in 1991. He has also released 11 albums.

Several other awards were given out during the ceremony.

Many of the ceremony attendees, like Rahmani, enjoyed the event.

“It was fun to see them receive their awards,” Rahmani said.

Jonathan Smith can be reached at jonathan.smith@laverne.edu.

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