Holmes Community College Public Relations Specialist/Alumni Coordinator Katherine Ellard and Director of Marketing Bronwyn Martin presented nine awards during Convocation 2017 held Aug. 7 on the Goodman Campus. The theme for this year's convocation was "No Place like Holmes," and awards were named for characters from "The Wizard of Oz."
The first award was presented to Stephanie Wood, district-wide graphic designer. Wood was presented an award for having the best answer - as voted on by her colleagues - to the prompt, "Explain what 'No Place like Holmes' means to you."
"Holmes has been a part of my family for generations," Wood said in her response. "Dad used to drive us to Goodman just to show us the dorms he lived in and eat in the cafeteria. One of Mom's favorite photos is from her Holmes PN Pinning back in the 70's. She had on the white hat and all. My sister graduated from Holmes and was an employee. I attended, now I am an employee. Holmes has always been a part of our family and has always felt like home."
The runner-up for having the best answer was Amy Land, educational programs instructor on the Grenada Campus.
"I have spent literally one-third of my life at Holmes between my time as a student and faculty member," Land said in her response. "Holmes truly has a piece of my heart and my passion for this institution runs deep. I love that we are a family, and I take pride in working with students so they too can love Holmes like I do."
After Holmes gave three "Glinda the Good Witch" awards, one for each main campus, to people who demonstrated exceptional customer service.
Mary Haralson, a student aid advisor in the financial aid office, received the award for the Ridgeland Campus.
"I nominated Mary Haralson for the Glinda award," said Director of Financial Aid Dr. Gail Muse Beggs. "Although I don't personally witness it, I know what she deals with daily and she continues to smile and have the best attitude and sweetest spirit of anyone I know."
Judy Hemphill from the Ridgeland Campus Admissions Office said: "Mary Haralson amazes me with her efforts to attend school and pursue her degrees while also being a full time employee."
Miracle Redmond, admissions representative/switchboard operator, received the award for Goodman Campus.
"Miracle Redmond demonstrates excellent customer service and dedication in her position," said Vice President of Institutional Research and Student Affairs Dr. Lindy McCain. "She is always willing to help students, parents or co-workers and handles every situation with professionalism. I continually see her 'going the extra mile.'"
Director of Admissions Kay Bates added: "There are so many positive things that I can say about Miracle. She is a great asset not only to the Admissions and Records Office but to the college as a whole. She is always willing to help out where ever needed. She does a great job of conveying our message of 'There is no place like Holmes.'"
Finally, Bethany Miller, administrative assistant to the vice president and academic dean, received the award for the Grenada Campus.
"Bethany Miller always demonstrated exceptional customer service," said Debbie Harville, Grenada Campus admissions representative. "She goes the extra mile for our students."
Grenada Campus Vice President Michelle Burney said, "Bethany Miller is always happy and always helpful. She has such a sweet spirit, and it shows in her interactions with students and other employees. If Bethany is having a bad day, the students and staff will never know it. I don't know what we would do without her in the front office!"
After the Glinda awards were given, Ellard and Martin presented the "Cowardly Lion: Not Anymore" award to Cynthia Abel, recruiter/student activities coordinator for the Grenada Campus. This award was for an employee who has stepped out of his/her comfort zone and accomplished a personal or professional goal.
"Cynthia hit the ground running when she joined the marketing and recruiting team last fall," Martin said. As a recruiter, she has brought new ideas and innovation to not only the Grenada Campus but to the college as a whole. Cynthia has proven to be an asset to our department and continues to demonstrate her 'can do' attitude. She is a self-starter and constantly looks for new ways to recruit students to Holmes."
Harville said, "I nominated Cynthia Abel for this award. Who would have known that shy little girl from ten years ago would have accomplished a degree and new position since then."
Next, the "Scarecrow: If I only had a brain" award was presented to Vice President of Academic Programs, Dr. Fran Cox. This award was for someone who has implemented innovation to improve and/or grow the college.
"Dr. Cox is always willing to implement something if it is good for the college; electronic advising, new Banner portion for class scheduling and so much more," said Ridgeland Campus Academic Dean Dr. Tonya Lawrence.
History and Political Science Department Chair Laura Canard said, "Dr. Cox is continually working to improve both student and faculty experience at Holmes. She spent last year engaging all faculty in round table discussions to improve retention and other processes at Holmes Community College."
Diane Allgood, "Dr. Cox always keeps us up to date and moving forward within many areas of the college. I mean no disrespect here - she definitely has a brain - a very good one! All anyone needs to do to understand the difference she has made in moving us forward is to compare where we were just a few years ago in terms of registration, advising, etc."
Next, Ellard and Martin presented the "Tin Man: Wherever you go leave a heart print" award to District Director of Career-Technical Education Dr. Amy Whittington. This award was for an employee who has impacted other people's careers at Holmes.
Director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program Kana Williams said, "Dr. Whittington does an excellent job as a leader who provides guidance with a giant heart."
Reagan Dilmore, the administrative assistant for Career-Technical Education, said, "Dr. Whittington is all heart when it comes to the CTE Program! She genuinely cares about Holmes, the success of CTE students, and her employees."
Finally, Ellard and Martin presented the "Emerald City" award to Roy McDonald of the Ridgeland Campus maintenance crew. This award was for someone in either the maintenance crew, grounds crew or custodial services who went beyond his/her normal duties to keep Holmes beautiful and keep the facilities sparkling and bright.
"Roy always has a smile and speaks to the 'nurse ladies,' as he calls us, every single one of us," said Kim Sandifer, Ridgeland Campus Associate Degree Nursing instructor.
Dr. Beggs said, "I have never met a happier person than Roy. He not only does a wonderful job, but he takes pride in what he does. Every time I go to Ridgeland, I seek him out because I just want to see that smile and hear 'how's is going soldier?' I have never heard a cross word from this man. In my opinion, everyone could benefit from just a few minutes spent with Roy. His attitude, smile and laugh are contagious. He truly is an example of what everyone should aspire to be - I love him."
Judy Hemphill, admissions representative in Ridgeland said, "Roy McDonald works daily to do his very best and with the best, most contagious attitude. Good job, soldier!"
In addition to the awards presentation, Convocation 2017 also included food, fellowship, trivia, relay races, a performance by the Holmes cheerleaders, an address by Holmes President Dr. Jim Haffey and a presentation of certificates for milestone years of service to the college.