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Ceremony celebrates faculty, staff

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Erin Gratz, librarian, accepts the Ellsworth Johnson Faculty Service Award from President Devorah Lieberman during the 2016 Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony Friday in the Campus Center Ballroom. The annual ceremony honored faculty members and employees who received awards in service and teaching at the University. / photo by Autumn Simon

Erin Gratz, librarian, accepts the Ellsworth Johnson Faculty Service Award from President Devorah Lieberman during the 2016 Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony Friday in the Campus Center Ballroom. The annual ceremony honored faculty members and employees who received awards in service and teaching at the University. / photo by Autumn Simon

Zachary Rodriguez
Staff Writer

As the school year comes to an end, the University of La Verne decided to conclude the academic year by honoring its employees at the 2016 Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony Friday in the Campus Center Ballroom.

The ceremony recognized faculty and staff for their accomplishments this year including promotions, retirement, earned degrees and yearly milestones at the University.

Awards such as Student Employee of the Year, Classified Employee of the Year and the Ellsworth Johnson Service Award were also presented at the ceremony.

Student Employment Coordinator Robbyn Gibson awarded the first recognition of Student Employee of the Year to senior business major David Betancourt from the Small Business Development Center.

“Honestly I was just really happy to be nominated, and I had no idea that I was going to win,” Betancourt said. “I got goosebumps when up there and just played it cool.”

Faculty and staff who have worked at the University for five to 40 years were recognized with a thank you and a packet to celebrate their success in their years of service.

Physics Lab Manager and Technician B.J. Haddad was awarded Classified Employee of the Year.

Associate Professor of Broadcast Journalism Valerie Cummings, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Kanya Godde and assistant professors of psychology Kristina Post and Aaron Baker won the La Verne Scholars awards.

Associate Professor of Management Kathy Duncan won the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Michelle Kechichian was awarded Administrative/Pro­fessional Employee of the Year.

Librarian Erin Gratz received the Ellsworth Johnson Service Award.

Kechichian said she was overwhelmed and excited when she saw her husband, two sons and her father, who lives in Northern California, standing with flowers to surprise her on winning the award.

“It was a complete surprise, and that my family was able to keep this secret from me is even more surprising,” Kechichian said. “I am very passionate about helping the students and the community, and I don’t need the award to keep that passion, but I am very humble and will continue to do my work with the same amount of passion.”

President Devorah Lieber­man then recognized the faculty and staff members who will retire at the end of the year.

She highlighted their accomplishments and what they have done for the University.

“For me, a day like today when faculty, staff, students and adjunct professors get to come together and recognize each other represents who we are as a campus – it’s not separate groups or individuals,” Lieberman said.

“It’s really about are students. We have been here for 150 years to service our students and to help students to succeed. We have everybody coming together and that doesn’t happen anywhere else but here at the University of La Verne and that represents who we are – a family.”

Zachary Rodriguez can be reached at zachary.rodriguez@laverne.edu.

Correction: June 20, 2016
An earlier version “Ceremony celebrates faculty, staff” (May 20) mistakenly omitted the name of one of the La Verne Scholars Award winners, Assistant Professor Kanya Godde. The Campus Times regrets the error.

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