College Celebrates Employee Contributions to a Year for the Books
Author: Angie Rice Figueroa
Photography: Christopher Record
A year bookended by a celebration of Stephen Curry ’10 and a hugely successful Reunion Weekend punctuated by the inauguration of President Doug Hicks ’90 drew to a close with accolades for the staff and faculty who worked to make it all happen.
For the first time since 2018, Davidson College employees gathered in the Duke Family Performance Hall to honor recent retirees, acknowledge service milestones and congratulate award winners.
Kicking off his first end-of-year employee appreciation event with an emphatic “thank you,” President Doug Hicks recognized and commended the commitment, hard work and dedication of the college’s 935 employees.
“THANK YOU! Thank you for what you do for the Davidson community EVERY DAY,” Hicks said. “Every success on this campus, every student taught, every fixed problem, every special event, every single campus greeting … is because of you.”
This year’s gathering also included the return of a community favorite—a closing raffle. Employees with the luck of the draw received restaurant gift cards, concert and game tickets, swag bags and baskets, a reserved parking space and an extra vacation day. Prizes were provided by local Davidson eateries, college vendors and campus offices.
Hicks also announced the annual employee awards, which include:
Spirit of Davidson Service Award: Carolyn Stevanus
Students nominate hourly staff members for the Spirit of Davidson Award. This year, the students of Third Belk expressed their appreciation for Carolyn Stevanus, Building Services.
“She is incredibly sweet and works very hard,” one student wrote. “She makes my day every morning when I run into her and talk for a bit.”
Other students describe Stevanus as kind, caring and considerate of others, and one who only settles for the absolute maximum.
“She does her best and walks my friend’s service dog as well,” another student said. “She’s a valued part of the staff and I’d love for her to get recognition.”
The award honors staff members who excel in service to the college and its students. It’s the 12th year of the award, which Kathy and Gary Parsons established in appreciation for the caring way the staff treated and supported their son Mike ’08. The original award is $850; Mathematics Professor Donna Molinek and Frank Molinek added a gift to make the award $1,000.
Hackenson Family Fellowship: Liz Robinson
Liz Robinson’s warm greeting and smile are seen around campus so often that the postmaster and Central Services manager seems to be in multiple places at once.
Robinson led a change process for student employment that resulted in students applying for campus positions with resumes, which mirrors and helps to prepare them for the post-graduation experience.
Robinson regularly goes above and beyond for Davidson students, nominators said. “Alums who were her advisees, international host students and our work study students come back to campus and head straight for her office.”
The award, established by Elizabeth and Bill Hackenson in honor of their son Billy’s 2013 graduation, recognizes a staff member who provides superior service to the college and its students. The $5,400 award is intended for travel or continuing education.
Matthews Travel Endowment Award: Anne Pender
Anne Pender is a desktop systems administrator in Technology & Innovation. Pender’s role is described as behind the scenes, or behind the screens, of campus. Her work is integral to the labs, classrooms and college computers employees use daily.
Dedicated to work and community, Pender “…applies practical solutions to technology problems that many of us would be stumped and frustrated by, and she does so with positivity and kindness,” her colleagues shared. “She sets a great example of approaching her work with a growth mindset and the entire team looks to her as a mentor in this regard.”
Frank Matthews ’49 established the award in memory of his brothers, Eugene Robinson Matthews ’36 and James Houston Matthews ’50. The award is “in due recognition of the outstanding and unselfish service rendered Davidson by members of the college family.” The $20,000 award covers travel for the recipients and their families, “to afford opportunities for personal renewal and enjoyment.”
Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award: Ashley Bodie
Ashley Bodie is assistant director for exploration and experiential learning at the Matthews Career Center, and the second winner of this annual award.
Bodie has created impactful programs and experiences for students of non-dominant identities, focusing on leadership, career exploration and mentorship.
Bodie spends “…many evenings and weekends meeting with student groups. But most importantly, it is the individual support they provide to students that makes them so special,” said one colleague. “Their students always stop by the office to meet with them, say hello or give an update on something they are experiencing. They’ll attend a student’s play, film premiere or exhibit.”
The $10,000 award recognizes a staff member “who has worked hard to create positive, systemic change in the Davidson College community. This person has gone over and beyond the call of duty to make Davidson a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place.”