Although we might complain about it the most, Trinity students are not the only ones with challenging schedules and strenuous workdays. Trinity faculty and staff work night and day, behind the scenes and in the classroom, to keep this school in tip-top shape. Last Tuesday, the Human Resources office hosted the annual Trinity University Service Awards to provide Trinity employees with the gratitude they deserve.
“The ceremony is for anyone that has 15 or more years of service, and is awarded in five-year increments,” said Denise Covert, associate director of Human Resources. “Each recipient receives a lapel pin with the number of years of service plus a certificate. After 20 years, they receive a plaque, and after 25 years, they can select a gift or a gift card, with the dollar amount depending on their years of service.”
Gifts include anything from a pen and pencil set with the Trinity logo, a Montblanc pen, or a clock with the Trinity logo to a wooden rocking chair or a regular wooden chair with the Trinity logo and the recipient’s name on it.
“I’ve seen a lot of longevity here,” Covert said. “I don’t know if it is just because we are in the education world, but it seems like there is more longevity here than there would be compared to what you typically see in the corporate world.”
Longevity has certainly been the case for professor of English Coleen Grissom, the sole recipient of the 50-year award. Grissom came to work at Trinity in 1958, left after three years, and then returned in 1963 after two years of work on her doctorate.
“Almost everyone that I deeply love and/or admire has some close connection to Trinity – students, faculty, staff, even a few trustees,” Grissom said in an email. “Most of all, I have always appreciated the opportunities to engage with young adults of much promise, both in and out of the classroom, and to influence them with my moral values which – as almost everyone knows by now – include being kind and accepting of one another (as well as ourselves), contributing to a true sense of community, celebrating and cherishing the ‘life of the mind.’”
As well as recognition for years of service, two other awards are given out at the Service Awards Ceremony: the Helen Heare McKinley Award and the Rhea Fern Malsbury Memorial Award.
“For the McKinley Award, anyone can nominate an individual that’s basically gone above and beyond their call of duty or has really done something that’s been outstanding,” Covert said. “It’s awarded every quarter, and this quarter it was awarded to Jim Baker and Randy Creech, who are both in Facilities Services.”
The Malsbury award, on the other hand, is awarded to hourly and contract employees who have been outstanding in their work throughout the years. It is a surprise every year at the ceremony, and last year it was awarded to James Hill, Trinity alumnus ’76 and assistant to the director of athletics. Hill has been at Trinity for 15 years and, among innumerable other responsibilities, is the “voice of the Tigers” and works with the Trinity Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Well, I’ll tell you, it was a nice experience and I did not know I was going to get it—it was like the Academy Awards, except I didn’t even know I was nominated!” Hill said. “My boss, Bob King, said he and I needed to go the ceremony to represent our department. When President Ahlburg called me up and gave me the award, I was so happy. I looked in the back and my colleagues from the department were there—the office manager had told everyone but me to get up there. I was so awed by the whole experience and humbled, really. Trinity means a great deal to me.”
This year, the Malsbury award went to Larry Hechler, a hardware technician supervisor in Information Technology Services.