Category Archives: Strategic Updates Archive

Read the final week of shout-outs!

As part of Staff Appreciation Month, Human Resources has been sharing shout-outs submitted by faculty, staff, and students.  Thanks to everyone who participated this month!

Even though Staff Appreciation Month is coming to an end, please continue to find ways to show your appreciation to staff, faculty, and students across campus. We can all use a “socially-distanced” pat on the back!

Read the shout-outs submitted this week!

“A shout-out to the Facilities, Planning & Management Team: Thank you so much for all of the work you do to keep our study spaces clean!  I have been especially thankful for you during the pandemic while you have kept us all safe.  We all appreciate you so much and I am grateful to have such a great facilities team!” – Katelyn Mardis

 “A shout-out to the ASC Executive Team: A BIG thank you for the members of the All Staff Council Executive Team (Marina Verlengia, Andy Verlengia, Linda Feiden, Jenny Jones, Tyler Spoon, Michelle Huggins, Amelia Klatt, Dani Peters, Laura Bjurstrom, Kevin Saunders, and Leslie Noble).  This is a wonderful group of staff to work with, and they spend time above and beyond their normal workloads to both lead a committee, and serve as an Executive Ambassador.  It is not a small commitment, and they do a wonderful job of leading and providing programming and recognition for staff.  Thanks for the extra time and dedication you provide to campus!” – Sara Heijerman

“A shout-out to the Environmental Health and Safety Team:  Thanks to the EHS team for the million things, seen and unseen, that you had to deal with during the pandemic.  Thank you for leading campus through a crazy time for which there was no playbook.”

“A shout-out to the Custodial Team:  Thank you to the custodial team that takes care of campus each day.  You gave extra attention this year to keeping things sanitized and safe, and we so appreciate your work!”

“A shout-out to Christine Urish: Finding mindfulness resources to help faculty and staff mitigate stress and improve overall wellbeing is an ongoing goal.  Christine has graciously taken time out of her own busy schedule to facilitate multiple Koru mindfulness classes.  They have all been well received.  In addition, she facilitated a Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed class last year.  Her kindness and warm personality put everyone at ease.  A rare quality indeed!” – Linda Feiden

“A shout-out to Sara Heijerman and Andy Verlengia: Sara and Andy are current chair and co-chair of the All Staff Council Executive Committee.  These positions always require additional work, but this year has created unique challenges and the need for some creativity to support Drake’s staff.  They were certainly up to the challenge.  If you know Sara and Andy, you know two of the most positive people to grace our campus.  Their kindness and enthusiasm create a welcoming culture that represents the best of Drake.” – Linda Feiden

“A shout-out to Kerwin Dobbins: Kerwin Dobbins has been an exemplary Parliamentarian for Faculty Senate this year. He always has time for questions, is willing to research guidance on particular issues, and keeps the Senate on track as we discuss items and pass motions. He has created “cheat sheets” for me and answers queries on the fly in the chat during meetings. Faculty Senate would not have had such a productive year without his careful guidance. Many thanks to Kerwin!!” – Shelley Fairbairn

“A shout-out to members of Drake’s contact tracing team—Linda Anderzhon, John Amato, Ryan Arnold, Laura Bjurstrom, Kisha Burkett, Amelia Klatt, Doug Lampe, Nate Reagen, John Smith, Tim Tesar, Meaghan Tigges, Emily Weaver, Heidi Weiss, Cathy Williams, Drinda Williams, and Andy Verlengia: These individuals have devoted countless hours, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, seven days a week in helping students navigate CDC guidelines and Drake policies regarding public health and the coronavirus. ‘We’re all in this together’ embodies the spirit of this team.” – Scott Law

“A shout-out to Deneen Dygert: Drake campus visits have required a complete overhaul during this pandemic and Deneen has stepped up to serve at every turn – virtual, in person, back to virtual, and in person. She does all of this with strength, positivity and enthusiasm – a true duck on water. This university is so lucky to have her.” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Lilianna Bernstein: Lil takes such pride in how Drake looks in the eyes of the student, giving personality to our communications every opportunity she gets to ensure we stand out from the pack. She ensures that our staff and our families continue to have fun with our communications as the cycle unfolds – thank you for making us look so good!” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Rachelle Setsodi: Rachelle has stepped up to serve as an associate director this year as a one woman show as we searched for a new assistant director. We are grateful to her ever-present positive attitude, enthusiasm and willingness to drive new strategies forward with our transfer students. She never fails to keep her students at the heart of everything she does.” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Amy Nichols: Amy and her team have led us through some exciting changes this year leading to the most applications and admits in school history! She works hard to also ensure our leadership team has the data we need to make decisions, especially this time of year as the cycle twists and turns in the final weeks of the cycle.” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Evan Favreau: Evan has been a voice of calm and steady waters throughout this pandemic. In addition to managing a territory and serving families, his biggest contributions are ensuring that our first-year team feels supported and connected with our strategies and the office. We are so appreciative of his leadership daily!” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Rachel Butler: Rachel consistently looks for ways to help Drake and our brand stand out in a large market – and we love her enthusiasm and how she consistently works to get Drake in front of every audience she can! She puts her heart into her work both as a counselor and a supervisor – it is evident she cares deeply about both.” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Lisa Flynn: Lisa has stepped up this past year both to serve as an assistant director taking on a new territory – AND has been fearlessly leading our admission and recruitment efforts with Johnny Dee Bright College. No matter what she has going, she is calm, graceful and organized. She is engaged with her families and knows how to meet them where they’re at throughout this entire process.” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Ethan Fickau: A team player– through and through. Ethan not only has a solid pulse on what is happening with his students, but he cares deeply about his alma mater and ensuring there are streams of proud Wisconsinites filling Drake class seats in the future. He also makes sure to meet with every one of his families that has been on campus this spring – we so appreciate his dedication!” – Anne Kremer

“A shout-out to Donna Tuttle and Joy Bachmann: You are here, rain or shine, with or without electricity, and with or without heat, to care for our animals every single day! You not only care for the animals, but you care for the people who work with them! From making beautiful face masks to bringing in little treats for the students, you make Drake a far better place.” – Deb Christensen

“A shout-out to Angie Dahl: Angie has led Drake Athletics Sports Medicine department through the pandemic. As a member of the Athletics COVID Working Group, she has been transformative and creative as we figure out how to safely compete during a pandemic. Her leadership carries over to the Missouri Valley Conference with her contributions to the Conference COVID Working Group and as the voice of the league athletic trainers on NCAA and conference matters. March is National Athletic Training month. We salute Angie’s expertise and heart for the student-athletes.” – Megan Franklin

“A shout-out to Lisa Murphy and the Recreation Sports staff for creating fun and safe programs and services for Drake faculty, staff, and student-athletes to engage in during this year where we have been able to engage online and in-person.  Lisa has been a member of the Athletics COVID Working Group where she brings a perspective that when we come to a roadblock she is able to bring a creative solution that gets us to a new solution. She also has the best GIFs for just the right moments. Kudos to Lisa and her staff.” – Megan Franklin

“A shout-out to Dianna Gray: Dianna works tirelessly to find innovative ways to reach potential new students for the CBPA graduate programs. When COVID hit, she learned how to host webinars so she could continue to offer information sessions to potential students in order to keep recruiting students during a challenging time. Additionally, she constantly is looking for new ways to make the admission process more efficient for new students and staff. She is an integral person on our team in the CBPA graduate programs office!” – Jenny Jones

“A shout-out to Madeline Mongar-Brodie: Madeline has been a critical piece of our work flow in the office. When we suddenly went online with student advising last spring, Madeline went through the painstaking process of converting every CBPA graduate campus student file to Teams, which allowed me to advise students seamlessly as we worked from home. She did all of this work quickly (and cheerfully!) in the middle of advising season, while we were changing class schedules at the same time. Her support has made a huge difference for myself and our students!” – Jenny Jones

“A shout-out to Jeremy Curtis: Jeremy has brought some incredibly creative ideas to the admission office since he joined us (just before the Covid pandemic)! I am so lucky to have a colleague like Jeremy! He’s constantly thinking of new and creative initiatives to help recruit students from Texas and Latin America!” – Rachel Butler

“A shout-out to Veronica McLaughlin: Veronica has taken on a much larger territory this year AND her territory interest in Drake has sky rocketed. I’m always amazed at how she manages such an incredible territory. She’s been working super hard to make sure her 600+ admits are taken care of and feel special. Veronica is so gifted at making those she interacts with feel valued and special. I’m so glad to call her a colleague!” – Rachel Butler

“A shout-out to Carmen Avila: Carmen joined the office of admission this past August – in the middle of the pandemic! I’m blown away at what she’s been able to do as a regional admission counselor in Colorado. Especially as she’s never been to Drake or Des Moines. She’s constantly adapting outreach and initiatives to mold to her unique territory needs. It’s so incredible to see her increased student population. She has been an incredible addition to our team!” – Rachel Butler

“A shout-out to Sheri Gavin from SJMC faculty, staff and students for all she does to support us and keep our financial boat afloat! A shout-out, too, to her colleagues Kathy Hickman and Geri Blaker for their help.” – Kathleen Richardson

“A shout-out to Sandra Harris: Sandra should be on the poster for ‘Commitment to Mission.’ She consistently brings a servant leader mindset to her work.” – Kevin Saunders

“A shout-out to Christine Marchand: Christine spends much of the spring season working behind the scenes to ensure successful completion of external reporting and the administration of internal surveys. Just like those daffodils outside of Howard hall, her work blooms during the spring.” – Kevin Saunders

“A shout-out to Greg Lin: Greg continues to reimagine his engagement with faculty colleagues in finding new ways to reflect on the impact of teaching and learning practices across campus. His curiosity and energy help to guide great conversations and discovery.” – Kevin Saunders

“A shout-out to Leslie Noble and Deana Cunningham in Cowles Library: These two wonderful colleagues have managed to keep Cowles Library open and running during all the different waves of the pandemic, tackling issues big and small.  We are lucky to have them!  Thank you both for your hard work and dedication.” – Laura Krossner

“A shout-out to Lynne Cornelius: Lynne Cornelius embodies the generosity of spirit. While we have never been in the same unit, she is always willing to help out as a colleague with events and programming in numerous capacities. I appreciate her positivity and willingness to jump in when she is able.” – Leah Berte

“A shout-out to Chrystal Stanley: Chrystal Stanley has been a fearless and creative leader and colleague this year! She has embraced technology this year hosting the first virtual diversity career fair. Our team successfully executed our first Career Conference with Chrystal helping to lead the way. She has also implemented new technology tools such as Loom and Jamboard to make career advising more engaging and efficient for students. Thank-you Chrystal for keeping us motivated as we navigated through many changes and new opportunities.” – Leah Berte

“A shout-out to Donna Knight-Donovan and Sheila Goodwin for always being so helpful and pleasant in the Cashier’s Office.” – Cheri McDaniel

“A shout-out to Kristine Plagman for having all the answers to my questions involving grants.” – Cheri McDaniel

“A shout-out to Brenda McNear for always directing our questions to the appropriate person in facilities.” – Cheri McDaniel

“A shout-out to Cheryle Anania for being wonderful to work with when scheduling meetings.” – Cheri McDaniel

“A shout-out to Jean Myers and Maria Almanza for keeping The Ray Center and all of Collier-Scripps clean and disinfected.” – Cheri McDaniel

“A shout-out to the under-appreciated staff of Cowles Library: In recent months they have: Worked to help provide remote library services during times of pandemic shut-down; helped to transition the building to allow safe access, especially for our students; been diligent about requests for information or access (I know I’ve emailed or called all of them at various times in the past year, and they were always prompt in responding).  They did this and more while also remaining focused on the overall well-being of our students (including our many student employees).  In alphabetical order, thanks to: Deana Cunningham, Jordan Flynn, Laura Krossner, Kathy Lincoln, Kris Mogle, Leslie Noble, Meredith Scherb, and Zoie Taylor.” – Bruce Gilbert

“A shout-out to the Career Services Team of Chrystal Stanley, Annette Watson, and Leah Berte for truly embracing the core values that define the actions of Drake staff. This academic year they welcomed me to their team to collaborate, however that resulted in including me in all career services work at Drake this year! As a result, I’ve grown as a career services professional and have been better able to serve all of our students as we embraced new technology, hosted many new events and generated new opportunities for students. Generosity of spirit really defines this team as they trust, empower, and presume the best of each other and conduct their work with civility, caring, and respect. Thank-you Chrystal, Annette and Leah!” – Carlyn Crowe

“A shout-out to Sonja Brightwell:  From the very beginning of the pandemic Sonja has been unwavering in her commitment to students and families.  Sonja has worked diligently to create new housing processes such as online check in, check out sign up and room selection.   Sonja consistently goes above and beyond. She does her work with a generosity of spirit. You are appreciated beyond measure.”  –Lorissa Sowden

A shout-out to Jerry Parker: Jerry, you role model how to have grace under pressure.  The personal touch in all that you do does not go unnoticed.  Your dedication to the students, the staff, your family and Drake is inspirational. Thank you for your tireless work and answering email at all times of day and night to keep things moving forward. Thank you for your support, guidance and leadership!” – Lorissa Sowden

A shout-out to Randy McMullin, Sara Schilling, & Hayley Ellis: I want to thank this team for their can-do attitude!  You have been creative about reimagining everything from hall programming, organizational meetings, RA class and staff meetings.  I want to personally thank you for your collaborative and innovative spirit. Your willingness to assist residential students with moves to isolation has also been appreciated.” – Lorissa Sowden

A shout-out to Mitch Wieczorek: Mitch has an upbeat attitude and no matter the time of day or night, he is willing to assist.  I appreciate his prompt responses and follow up on situations.  I can’t say enough about his willingness to collaborate on a variety of events. The behind the scenes work he and the facility staff do to make things happen and keep us safe is appreciated.  I also want to Thank Mitch for letting us borrow your personally owned tents for student curbside student move in.  We are grateful to you!” – Lorissa Sowden

A shout-out to Debra Wiley: I admire Debra’s dedication to students and staff.  She makes herself available to students seeking to complete HR paperwork for campus employment.  She then inputs the information into the system in record time, so that the hundreds of students working across campus can begin their employment and access their timecards in a timely manner.  Deb is quick to answer phone calls and respond to emails.  No matter how busy she is, she makes you feel like you are her only priority.  Thank-you Deb for making Drake a great place to work!” – Lorissa Sowden

 “A shout-out to the Admissions Staff for their support and recruitment for the Engaged Citizen Corps program. Special shout-out to Glenn, Grace W., and Lil for all of your help these past few months!” – Amanda Martin

“A shout-out to the FPM staff for all of their help with relocating the Sprout Garden to its new location. It was a lot of work but it is looking awesome and we are excited about the possibilities at the new space.” – Amanda Martin

 “A shout-out to Sara Heijerman for helping us print at low costs, and for her speedy responses. Customer Service is a ten!” – Amanda Martin

“A shout-out to the Cowles Library custodial team, Atong and Antonio, along with Facilities, Public Safety and Student Services staff, who help keep Cowles Library open and operating smoothly. Your hard work and patience is very appreciated!” – Leslie Noble

“A shout-out to Cowles Library staff (Deana, Jordan, Kathy, Kris, Laura, Meredith and Zoie) who work incredibly hard to support library faculty and students, and the entire Drake community!” – Leslie Noble

“A shout-out to Linda Feiden: THANK YOU for always being willing to explore new programming.  The OT students and myself are so appreciative of your willingness to allow us to offer wellness groups this spring semester.  We are hopeful this is a program that we can continue annually!  Thank you for all you do for our campus.” – Christine Urish

“A shout-out to Ali Harms & Jessica Lang: THANK YOU for making our interviewing process and student recruiting and admissions an easy process and so effective.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you every single day!” – Christine Urish

“A shout-out to Jeannie Nielsen: I want to thank you for covering during staffing changes, maternity leave, and retina surgery.  You are always there for all students, faculty, and staff in OT and I could not imagine not having you to work with.  You are a dear colleague and friend and I appreciate you more than words can say.  We will get through this pandemic year with smiles!!” – Christine Urish

“A shout-out to Jeannie Nielsen: Jeannie Nielsen in the CPHS Experiential Office is a wonderful person to work with. She shows caring, compassion, and dedication in her work in the office. Not only is she a huge asset to our team, she is a true friend. Jeannie makes my job easier and more enjoyable. Thank-you Jeannie!“ – Anisa Hansen

“A shout-out (thank you) to the incredible professional staff in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: The professional staff add so much quality to the student experience and the overall success of the college.  Thank you for all of your work and dedication!” – Chuck Phillips

“A shout-out to the CPHS staff: The CPHS staff is a group of dedicated, organized, and supportive individuals that allow our entire college to be successful. Without your daily efforts with our students and faculty, we would not be as strong of a team. Thank you for your timeless effort you give to CPHS to allow us to continue to thrive as a college and enduring all of the challenges over this past year! I am very grateful for each of you!” – Alisa Drapeaux

“A shout-out to the CPHS staff: CPHS staff, thank you for your generosity of spirit that you display every day while supporting our students, faculty, and administrators. I appreciate how approachable you all are to work with, as it enables me to work better and more efficiently on behalf of our students. I also greatly value your professionalism: being able to readily trust each of you to perform at a high level and portray CPHS in a positive manner is a huge asset to our program and a great example to both our faculty and students. My wish is for each of you to feel both happy and supported in your roles, and if there is something you feel I can do to help make this happen, I would welcome that conversation.” – Michael Nelson

“A shout-out to the CPHS staff: Thanks to the CPHS staff members for all that you do!  Your willingness to pitch in, solve problems, and create a collegial and collaborative culture are greatly appreciated.  You embody the values of the University and our College, and make the CPHS a great place to work, whether you are in person or on the other side of a TEAMS screen. Your additional efforts to support each other, our faculty, and our students over the past year have truly made a difference.  Thank you!” – Renae Chesnut

“A shout-out to Denise Kluever: She has an extraordinary work ethic; very nurturing to students yet able to prompt professionalism and a strong professional identity with each and every student.” – Yolanda Griffiths

“A shout-out to Kaylyn Maher: She always demonstrates a can-do attitude and is a magician with graphics.” – Yolanda Griffiths

“A shout-out to Diana Newman: She is the person to go to when needing to know who to go to for answers.” – Yolanda Griffiths

“A shout-out to Jamie Rognes: A calming presence in the middle of chaotic busy times.” – Yolanda Griffiths

“A shout-out to Jill Batten: Jill is always incredibly helpful when I have questions regarding my health science advisees.  She is extremely personable and quick to respond to any questions or concerns that I have and I am very fortunate to work alongside her!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Jess Lang: Jess is extremely good at what she does. She is very reliable and organized and exhibits a rare quality of looking at things from unique perspectives and advocating for changes. If Jess doesn’t know the answer to something, you can always count on her to search until she finds it!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Ali Harms: Ali has a way of making everyone around her feel welcome and comfortable, she is one of the most personable individuals I have ever worked with.  She is very talented at what she does and always knows how to engage students in conversations!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Denise Kluever: Denise has a true heart of gold and passion for the profession of occupational therapy.  She is full of knowledge and never afraid to share her experiences with students. Denise has helped tremendously with organizing the OT building and making several connections within the community. She wants to make life easier for everyone else and always willing to help!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Jamie Rognes: Jamie has done an incredible job transitioning into academics as a lab assistant and even teaching a class over the summer! She is very flexible and always willing to help even if it involves going out of her comfort zone!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Diana Newman: Diana has always been very helpful with any questions that I have and extremely reliable!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Alex Rosburg: Alex is always willing to assist with tasks with a smile on her face!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Chris Wing: I always look forward to meetings with Chris because he has an incredible sense of humor! He brings great insight to many topics and a smile to everyone’s face!” – Kelsee Hove

“A shout-out to Jill Batten and Sydni Jennings: I have to consider them together because sometimes I am not sure who to reach out to! They are extremely prompt, helpful and kind in their responses. I think this team really adds a lot of value to our college!” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Ali Harms: Ali represents the college so well to prospective students and families. She brings a great background of admissions knowledge and is fun to do family visits with. I really enjoy working with Ali. I am so glad she’s at CPHS!” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Jessica Lang: Creatively executes her job, with a great attitude. She never overlooks thanking people for being involved in recruitment efforts. Jess makes it easy to say, “yes!” to helping out with these events.” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Kaylyn Maher: Her creativity is such an asset to CPHS. I feel like there is an increased engagement and pride from alums as a result of our social media presence.” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Diana Newman: One of those people we CANNOT do without. She is extremely knowledgeable, and helpful in making sure we have whatever we need to carry out our jobs.” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Jeannie Nielsen: She invests so much of herself in the success of our students in the experiential program. We definitely owe Jeannie a huge debt of gratitude for all she does.” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Chris Wing: He has such a wealth of knowledge that we have been able to tap into to assess and improve our programs. Chris is a great team player.” – Kristin Meyer

“A shout-out to Jill Batten: Thank you for the help you’ve given me with using Starfish in my advising!” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Ali Harms and Jess Lang: Thank you for all you do to ensure OTD admissions interviews run smoothly!” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Denise Kluever: Thank you for making the trains run on time in OTD, and for your assistance with designing scenarios for the Disaster Prep Presentation in Population Health.” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Kaylyn Maher: Thank you for your help in getting the word out on social media about the Kuhl, Johnston & Plutschack Covid-19 survey!” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Diana Newman: I always appreciate your quick and clear responses to my confusing questions about reimbursements.” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Alex Rosburg: I enjoyed working with you in the OTD Program.” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Chris Wing: I appreciate your assistance with OTD program assessment. Thank you also for your work on the IDEA course evals.” – Sara Johnston

“A shout-out to Megan Young: She’s always ready to help with any laptop I needed to borrow in a classroom emergency as well as always providing the service with a smile.”

“A shout-out to Diana Newman: She’s amazingly efficient when it comes to keeping track of grant expenses and purchases.”

“A shout-out to Kaylyn Maher: She’s always ready to help in the Fitch office, even when it falls outside her area of expertise.”

“A shout-out to Jill Batten: She’s always considerate, thoughtful and positive in her approach to working with myself, faculty and students.  Consummate professional.” – Yolanda Griffiths

Standing in solidarity

President Martin sent the following message to campus Monday, March 22, in response to the tragic murders in Atlanta.

Dear students and colleagues,

The murders in Atlanta of eight individuals, six of whom were women of Asian heritage, has sparked a national conversation about the growing tide of hate and violence in our country directed towards individuals of Asian and Pacific Island decent. On Friday, President Biden and Vice President Harris traveled to Atlanta to acknowledge the tragic loss of life, to meet with community leaders, and to call on all of us to not remain silent in the face of attacks on our colleagues, friends, and fellow citizens. Speaking from Emory University, President Biden said, “Our silence is complicity. … We have to speak out. We have to act.”

Drake University is blessed to have a vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander community on our campus, among our alumni, and across Greater Des Moines. These students, graduates, colleagues, and friends enrich our educational and formational mission by bringing perspectives and experiences that expand and enhance everyone’s understanding of the world and how we can make it a better place. These members of our community deserve, like everyone else, to be able to make their way without fear of being targeted because of the bigotry of others. Let us all take a moment this week to express our love and support for our Asian and Pacific Islander friends, colleagues, and community members. To say to them that we stand with you against those who seek to harm you or in any way deny your rightful place in our collective community.

Please know that there is help for anyone who is struggling because of the events of last week or any other hate incidents that have occurred all too frequently over the last year. For our students, appointments can be made with the University Counseling Center at 515-271-3864 or with Drake’s spiritual counselor, Ted Lyddon-Hatten, who can be reached by email at For staff and faculty, the Employee Assistance Program is available by calling 515-244-6090. In addition, the Crisis Text Line is always available by texting “HELLO” to 741741.

I close with a quote from Grace Lee Boggs introduced to me today by Professor Kevin Lam in our School of Education. “Love isn’t about what we did yesterday; it’s about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after.” (2011)


Reminder: Please complete the Great Colleges survey

Full-time faculty and staff received an email yesterday from ModernThink with an invitation to participate in this year’s Great Colleges to Work For survey. Thank you to those of you who have completed the survey already. If you haven’t, please take time to complete it. It is easy, quick, anonymous, and the primary tool used by the University to gather feedback on our workplace culture.

Instructions on how to access the survey are included in the email.  The survey period ends Friday, April 2. For further questions, contact Nate Reagen.

— Nate Reagen, President’s Office

Read this week’s shout-outs!

As part of Staff Appreciation Month, Human Resources is encouraging everyone to submit a shout-out for a staff member this week.  Deadline to send in your final shout out is this Thursday, March 25.  Simply submit a sentence of appreciation to Linda Feiden at

Read the shout-outs submitted this week!

“A shout-out to Jarad Bernstein: From the very beginning of the pandemic, Jarad has provided critical expertise and assistance on the University-wide communication effort.  Jarad continues to offer good suggestions and bring up questions or issues that the rest of the Emergency Operations team may not otherwise be thinking about.  Jarad has stayed resilient and engaged bringing new ideas and thoughts to the table when it would otherwise be easy to succumb to the fatigue of a year-long emergency response effort. Jarad’s insights and expertise, as well as all the work crafting communications, has been key to the overall work of the EOC.” — Venessa Macro

“A shout-out to Jessica Morgan-Tate: Throughout the pandemic response, we have had to quickly draft policy updates as well as updates to the FAQ section of the COVID-response web page. Jessica Morgan-Tate has provided key assistance in this effort, stepping up to contribute to ensure clarity around pandemic response decisions and policy. Offering this expertise has taken the burden off others with pandemic response responsibilities, so that they can concentrate their efforts on decision making and response. Jessica took on this work while the U.S. Department of Education issued comprehensive (and voluminous) new Title IX regulations. Not only did Jessica provide help to the EOC with important policy updates, but she did also so at a time when her role as Title IX Coordinator was particularly busy because of these new regulations.” — Venessa Macro

“A shout-out to Karen Pomeroy: Always embodying a student-first mentality, Karen’s commitment and service to Drake and the CBPA is unwavering. She has earned the trust, admiration, and respect among colleagues with her honesty, sincerity and commitment towards the important work she does!” — Kailee Springer

“A shout-out to Sophie Tibbals: Making work her passion is the reason she succeeds! Her enthusiasm and the positivity she brings to our work culture is something that cannot be taught or developed! She brings life to our team, and her presence, whether virtual or in-person, motivates each of us every day!” — Kailee Springer

“A shout-out to Charitie Schaer: “We are the best at what we do because we have the best employees” Charitie’s dedication to the CBPA and undergraduate students never waivers. Her ability to accept challenges and overcome them with efficiency and excellence is outstanding!” — Kailee Springer

“A shout-out to all CBPA faculty: Despite the current environment, the exceptionally high-quality education you deliver is inspiring and motivating. Your colleagues in the undergraduate office hold you in high regard and are truly honored to work alongside you supporting our business students!” — Kailee Springer

“A shout-out to Alicia Chilton: Alicia graciously went the extra mile to help me on a project that was beyond her realm of responsibilities. Thank you, Alicia, for your support! Your hard work and willingness to help without hesitation is very much appreciated!” — Ashton Hockman

“A shout-out to my colleagues in University Communications and Marketing: A BIG thank you to my UCM colleagues whose resilience, attentiveness, and hard work inspires me every day. Thank you for your unwavering support, for rallying and evolving in a time of crisis, and for supporting University-wide communications and marketing on a scale that is awe inspiring in normal times, let alone a pandemic. I couldn’t ask for better colleagues.” — Ashton Hockman

“A shout-out to Jon Walker: Thank you for helping me with my recent ITS requests! You always address my inquiries in a quick and timely manner. Thank you for your support, guidance, and joyful accountability.” — Ashton Hockman

“A shout-out to Nathan Jacobson: Nathan has been great to work with on getting the J-Term information fair up and running online this year. He is so easy to work with and I can’t say enough about his collaborative efforts. It is obvious to me that he is invested in giving students the best experience available. Thanks Nathan!” — Sandra Harris

“A shout out-to Drinda Williams: For those of you who do not know Drinda, you are truly missing out. Her spirit is infectious and working with her is always a joy because I come away from every meeting excited about what is next on our list. Thank you for all you do to keep things moving forward.” — Sandra Harris

“A shout-out to Chris Nickell:  He has helped us to navigate the pandemic over the past year, answering tireless questions, providing information and resources, and advocating for our staff to get vaccinated. He has supported the entire campus and has worked long days and even longer weeks to help keep us all safe and healthy. Thank you!” — Lisa Proctor

“A shout-out to the custodial teams: Thanks so much to our custodial teams that have continued to do work through a tough COVID year. Managing family and work has been tough for all but WE DID IT!!! It did not go unnoticed. Thanks again!” — Marla Johnson

“A shout-out to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication staff (Denise, Ray, Mallory and Carlyn) and the Meredith Hall facilities crew (Sammie, Sanda and Enisa), who do everything they can to support SJMC students and faculty. The pandemic has proven how important all of them are to our success as a School and an institution. We couldn’t do it without you!” — Kathleen Richardson

“A shout-out to Teresa Downs & Wendy Borst for processing and reviewing an all-time RECORD number of Fall 2021 undergraduate applications, including direct from high school, transfer, domestic and international applications. Not only did they efficiently address this historic volume, but did so while adjusting and splitting time between WFH and working from campus. Their combined attention to detail and sincere concern for timely information for prospective Drake students truly make them the Premier Admission Operations Dream Team!“ — Amy Nichols

“A shout-out to Grace Baumgartner: Grace has been a fantastic collaborator on a number of admission projects this year as we moved programs like National Alumni Scholarship to a virtual format. I’ve been especially impressed with her continued work on the Drake Physics Prize, which has helped promote a phenomenal opportunity to more prospective students.” — Evan Favreau

“A shout-out to Megan Rush: Megan’s creative work with our presentations has been invaluable as our office has had to dive into virtual recruitment like never before. We’ve found success with virtual visit days, college fairs and other virtual events thanks to Megan’s skills. It hasn’t been the kind of recruitment we were used to, but Megan helped us transition as easily as possible.” — Evan Favreau

“A shout-out to Grace Wenzel: I’ve been so impressed with Grace’s willingness to “embrace the awkward,” as she would put it, when trying new things and finding the best ways to engage high school students in the virtual setting. The warmth and authenticity she has when working with students, virtually or not, is a big reason for her continued success on our team.” — Evan Favreau

“A shout-out to Lauren Sharp: Lauren was new to our team and only on campus for a week before we all moved to working virtually, yet she has still learned the ins-and-outs of Drake and successfully taken on a large recruitment territory with ease. I appreciate how naturally she is able to connect with students on an individual level while at the same time managing hundreds of applications and admitted students.” — Evan Favreau

“A shout-out to Tyler Koehler: Over the course of a year Tyler has quickly become a skilled admission counselor on our team, even though he had to learn the job and Drake itself while being mostly off campus. Besides getting to know his own territory, he brings unique ideas and creativity to our entire team that allows us to connect with prospective Drake students in new ways. (His TikTok lessons have been especially valuable.)” — Evan Favreau

“A shout-out to Lauren Selfridge: Lauren is our newest admission counselor and has been doing a great job working with our future students. I’m especially impressed that she successfully transitioned from being a Drake student to a Drake staff member, all in the middle of a pandemic. She has quickly become an essential member of the admission team.” — Evan Favreau

“A shout-out to Kailee Springer, Karen Pomeroy, Charitie Schaer, and Nic Jacobson: All are my colleagues in the CBPA Undergraduate Office, and I am so grateful to be working with such a great team during a challenging year. I’m appreciative of the strong communication in our office, everyone’s ability to step up to the plate and help each other out, and most importantly, the grace and compassion they have all shown to myself and one-another. Special thanks to Nic, our Undergraduate Assistant, who will be graduating from the College of Business and Public Administration this spring, and while finishing up his undergraduate degree, still manages to be a top-notch member of the team!” — Sophie Tibbals

“A shout-out to Amelia Klatt and the rest of the All Staff Council Recognition Committee (Erin Bell, Teresa Downs, Drinda Williams, Dianna Gray, Cathy Williams): Amelia has done a terrific job leading the ASC Recognition Committee as they administer Bulldog Applause, present Called to be True Blue awards, write welcome notes to new staff, and organize the annual Sapphire Awards.” — Linda Feiden

“A shout-out to Tyler Spoon, Kevin Saunders and the rest of the All Staff Council Events & Community Service Committee (Lynne Cornelius, Sydni Jennings, Kim Jones, Sara Hughes, Aimee Lane, Mariah Mohler):  This committee has been instrumental in organizing our team trivia, and other water cooler events this past academic year.  They have done a wonderful job finding creative ways to keep employees connected despite the difficult challenges related to COVID.” — Linda Feiden

“A shout-out to Kevin Moran, Sophia Siegel, Annie Spadt, and Jeremy Sievers for their collaborative efforts with Human Resources wellness to create the Bulldog Mile. Their resources and hard work helped make this walking path a great addition to the Drake campus.” — Linda Feiden

“A shout-out to Carla Herling: Carla is always quick to respond when help is needed with a Microsoft Teams question, both individually as well as inquiries on the Microsoft Remote Workers Chat Group.  It is great to know that she is there to help!  Carla has also been a valuable collaborator in adding Microsoft classes to BUILD.” — Linda Feiden

Great Colleges to Work For survey: Your participation is needed

The Great Colleges to Work For (GCTWF) survey is back after a year off. On March 22, full time faculty and staff will receive an email invitation to participate.

What is the Great Colleges to Work For survey?
The Great Colleges to Work For survey is the primary employee survey used by the University to gather feedback on our workplace culture. The survey is administered by ModernThink, a management-consulting firm focusing on workplace quality in higher education. More information about the Great Colleges to Work For survey is available at

Why should I participate?
Your voice matters and your responses help the University identify opportunities to improve workplace satisfaction and engagement. Your responses provide valuable insight into employee opinions and needs. Overall responses are reviewed to identify actionable areas for improvement over the next year.

Is participation mandatory?
Participation is voluntary, although we do hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to share your feedback and make sure your voice is heard. A high response rate will help ensure an accurate representation.

Are my responses confidential?
By having a third-party provider facilitate the survey process, your participation and the feedback you provide will be completely anonymous and confidential. No one at Drake will be able to trace results back to individuals. Drake will receive reports summarizing the results, but will not have access to individual response data. Furthermore, ModernThink will not report back results for areas that have less than five respondents.  Learn more by reading the Statement of Confidentiality.

When and how do I participate?
The survey period begins Monday, March 22, and ends Friday, April 2. The survey is administered online. Full-time faculty and staff will receive an email invitation to participate in the survey from ModernThink on March 22.

How long will it take to complete the survey?
It typically takes about 10–15 minutes to complete the survey depending on the amount of feedback you provide.

How is the data used and will the results be shared?
A summary of the findings will be shared with employees and will be used to identify our strengths and opportunities for improvement. Several key measures and targets in the University’s continuous improvement plan (CIP), and in many unit-level CIP’s, are tied directly to feedback from the survey. In addition, ModernThink provides valuable benchmark data against which we can compare our results. With this evidence in hand, senior leaders and individual units can make informed, strategic decisions about new initiatives.

Can I complete the survey during work hours?
Yes. Faculty and staff are encouraged to complete the survey during working hours. Completing the survey is an important contribution that you can make to strengthen our campus community.

For further questions, contact Nate Reagen.

Thanks for your support in advance!

— Nate Reagen, Office of the President

Read this week’s shout-outs!

As part of Staff Appreciation Month, Human Resources is encouraging every staff member to submit a shout-out for a fellow colleague. Simply submit a sentence of appreciation to Linda Feiden at

Read the shout-outs submitted this week!

A shout-out to the Mail Team: Thanks so much to the mail team for your hard work during this past year. You came into the office every day, when many other departments were able to work from home, and kept deliveries flowing to campus. We appreciate your hard work during this strange and isolating year!”

A shout-out to the Accounting Team: Thanks so much to the accounting team for finding ways for us to submit accounting paperwork from home during the pandemic—you are always so pleasant to work with, and are always patient and understanding when we have questions or issues. Thanks for being so awesome!”

A shout-out to Jeni Baugher: You always brighten my day whenever I talk to you—you are not only so helpful and great at your job, you go the extra mile to help with questions and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”

A shout-out to Scott Law: Thank you for all your hard work during the pandemic, and basically every day around here. You wear a million hats, and somehow manage to juggle your workload, and remain an awesome manager. Keep up the great work.”

A shout-out to the HR Team: I can’t even imagine all the new struggles and hoops that come with dealing with COVID. Thank you for soldiering on during this very difficult year, and for helping the rest of Drake’s employees soldier on as well. You are all doing a great job in the midst of a very difficult season. Thank you for all you do!”

A shout-out to Alice Fynaardt: Thank you for your hard work, both this year and always! You juggle many duties and responsibilities, and are so thorough and always pay great attention to detail. You are a great asset to Olin and SCB, and Drake is lucky to have you on staff!”

A shout-out to Aaron Knutson: Aaron is incredibly hard working, and is a pleasure to work with on campus. I’m sure managing the Drake Sodexo branch is no easy task, but he is always level headed, chips in when needed, and is always available for questions or help with a project. He is a great partner to the campus, thanks for all you do!”

A shout-out to Skyler Hayden: Skyler always has your back with a great coffee recommendation—he is always kind and provides great customer service at the Olmsted Starbucks.”

A shout-out to Marietta Jackson: Marietta is well loved by everyone at Hubbell, I have no doubt. She learns your name, and makes you feel so welcome when you come in for a meal. Thank you for your positive attitude, and welcoming smile! We are so lucky to have you at Drake!”

A shout-out to Erin Bell: I don’t know Erin well, but I am always impressed by her whenever I get the privilege to work with her. Not only is she (and her family) a huge asset to the University for her work with the mascot program, she is also just a rock star human being and it’s always so fun to watch her work. She answers the same questions about her family and Griff over and over and over and over again…and you’d never know it from her answers. She’s just a wonderful person and employee—Drake is so lucky to have her on staff!”

A shout-out to Kevin Moenkhaus: I don’t work with Kevin often, but am always happy when I get the privilege to do so. He is so knowledgeable about his work, and I can tell he cares a lot about his department and co-workers. Drake is lucky to have him as a loyal employee.”

A shout-out to Sara Sommerlot: Sara is a wonderful employee. She seems to wear a lot of hats over in the University Communications and Marketing department, and is always a pleasure to work with. She is so upbeat, and always has a great attitude. I don’t work with her often, but am always excited when I get the chance to see or email her. Drake is so lucky to have you, and I so enjoy your sparkly personality.”

A shout-out to Miss Pam Stewart: Miss Pam is always a pleasure to see around campus. She always takes the time to ask how you are doing, and seems to care deeply for both the students she works with, and her co-workers on campus. Thank you for all you do!”

A shout-out to the Admissions Team: I don’t get to work with the admissions team much, but I imagine that this year is a particularly difficult year to recruit students. Please know that we all appreciate your hard work and innovative strategies to recruit future Bulldogs, and we are so appreciative of all your hard work this year!”

A shout-out to Group Fitness Team: Thank you to the Group Fitness team and all of the instructors that have continued to put out great content throughout the pandemic. You worked hard to pivot your programming to still be effective virtually, and have been working to resume in person programming safely, while also still providing online programming for those that were not able/comfortable to work out in person. A quick Group X class is always good for my mental health, even in the best of times, so it was particularly welcome and appreciated this year, when I was stuck at home.”

A shout-out to Linda Feiden: I’m so thankful to have Linda on staff. She is not only coming up with great programming using very limited resources throughout the year, she also is always willing to collaborate and team up with other groups on campus, and truly has a passion for Drake employees and their wellness. I particularly appreciate her partnership with All Staff Council, as she is a most welcome and valuable resource to this group. Thank you for all you do—Drake is SO lucky to have you!”

A shout-out to Nancy Crittenden and Heather Travis: Thank you for helping me to create a process to allow Bulldog Bucks payments from Drake ID cards in the community this fall.  You helped facilitate a program that students and parents have been asking for years, and have been accommodating to the process that Campus Cash needed to function, even though it wasn’t your preferred method.  I greatly appreciate your partnership!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Anthony Leto: Thank you for your partnership and patience with the SSC as we work together on Student Employment paperwork.  You are always a pleasure to work with, and are always patient and kind if we have a paperwork hiccup – I appreciate your prompt communication and guidance with questions and issues.  Keep up the awesome work.” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Andy Verlengia: Thank you so much for being a wonderful All Staff Council co-chair this year—I know that you will rock the chair position next year! You are such a positive, enthusiastic employee, and Drake is SO lucky to have you on staff.” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Ryan Arnold and Jazlin Coley: Ryan and Jazlin were an amazing help this year as we began a new off-campus Bulldog Bucks program. Ryan helped connect existing projects/proposals from multiple departments, which led to increased impact and expedited our project. Jazlin and Ryan were both incredibly helpful in brainstorming and getting the off-campus Bulldog Bucks and Dogtown Dash programs off the ground, and I know they will be excellent partners on campus moving forward. Thank you!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Becky Klein and Carla Herling: Becky and Carla were great partners this year as we built a new troubleshooting system for Card/Key access requests through the Team Dynamix platform for the SSC. Both Becky and Carla paid great attention to detail, were excellent at executing my vision into a reality, and have continued to be wonderful resources for updates and changes that we didn’t foresee in planning.  Thank you both for your time and expertise in my project!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Joey Bedwell: Joey is always a pleasure to work with. While his whole team has been super busy/helpful this spring with phone changes (thanks to all of ITS that has helped with this project!), he in particular has always been super helpful with many of my tickets in the past, and I really appreciate that he doesn’t make me feel dumb when my problem was 100% user error. Thank you for all you do for Drake, we are glad you are here!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Don Severs: Don has been an incredibly helpful and welcome addition to the card access team this year. He is extremely prompt in assisting with card access ticket requests, and has made my job considerably easier this year. He was willing to join an established team that had been working together for 5 years (never an easy thing…), and has learned a tricky (and not always user friendly) system. He has been a great help to me this year—thanks, Don!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Steve Blaylock: I have a lot of favorite people on campus, and Steve always floats to the top of my list. Steve is incredibly hard working, cares deeply for both the campus and the students we serve, and is a pleasure to work with. He has great attention to detail, and works hard to provide great customer service. He has rolled with many changes to his position and the SSC’s involvement in some of his key duties in recent years without complaint, and I’m so glad I get to work with him!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Tricia McKinney: Tricia is always a pleasure to work with, but I was particularly thankful to have her on my team this year when she offered to assist with Parking Tag registration data entry without me even asking. This is a HUGE task that I was worried I would not be able to complete with staff working from home, but she jumped in and offered to complete the task. This was so helpful, and eased a huge burden on my department during our busiest time of the year.  Everything went so smoothly because of this kind offer, and I am so grateful that she was willing to take it on this year. Thank you, Tricia!” —  — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Annie Spadt: Thank you so much to Annie and her team with her help with the Off-Campus Bulldog Bucks/Dogtown Dash program artwork. You and your intern created so many useful and beautiful pieces that were WAY better than what the vendor sent us, and I’m so thankful for both your talent and how easy it was to work with you!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to Dan Chibnall and Kris Mogle: A huge shout out to Dan and Kris for your help this year (and always) in running the Drake Book Club! I so appreciate this partnership between All Staff Council and the library—I know this is an “extra” program, that takes up both time and funds, but I think it is so appreciated. It is a welcome opportunity for employees to get together with people from other departments, and I’ve had such a great time at our book discussions. Thank you for taking care of all the “logistics” to make this vision a reality, and for continuing the partnership between Cowles and ASC! You’re the best!” — Sara Heijerman

A shout-out to all of the faculty and staff with young children at home during the pandemic. What a challenge to navigate at home care, home schooling, etc. all the while trying to be productive. And what a challenge that is! It does not go unnoticed.” — Nate Reagen

A shout-out to Drake Athletics for somehow navigating running all sports at once! Unprecedented for the athletic trainers, staff, and coaches—yet our student-athletes continue their high performance academically and in competition.” — Nate Reagen

A shout-out to University Advancement: In times of a pandemic, you’ve really risen to the challenge. Where would the University be without you?  (don’t make me think of that!) You’ve all done so much: CARES Act management, contact tracing, COVID-19 hotline and inbox, and more! And you’ve done it all with a smile and generous enthusiasm.  Wow! So grateful.” — Nate Reagen

A shout-out to Erica McGowan, Nancy Crittenden, Shelly Biondi, Jeni Baugher, and Suzanne Stewart for always being so patient and helpful with accounting questions.” — Cheri McDaniel

A shout-out to Mary Cecil and Christian Law for meeting my mailing requests.” — Cheri McDaniel

A shout-out to Linda Feiden for organizing BUILD classes.” — Cheri McDaniel

A shout-out to Matt Miller and Kathrine Coady for always being willing to help with event scheduling.” — Cheri McDaniel

A shout-out to Pam Pepper, Lori Flaws, and Jodi Hofer for their helpful support to The Ray Center.” — Cheri McDaniel

A shout-out to Scott Law and Security for always being helpful with parking and security questions.” — Cheri McDaniel

A shout-out to Rachelle Setsodi: Thank you for your tireless and student-centered efforts to recruit and admit new Drake transfer students! You are a terrific and supportive colleague, and I appreciate what you do for our students!” — Lauren McCarthy

A shout-out to my Office of Undergraduate Admission colleagues: The amount of creativity, hard-work, innovation, limit-less effort demonstrated by this team in the past pandemic year is truly amazing! I look forward to when we can be together in person again as Cole Hall Family!  I’m so proud of you all! — Rachelle Setsodi

A shout-out to Linda Feiden: She always has a smile on her face despite the world that we are all suffering through. She is a friend to all on this campus and she should be cherished.” — Mary Cecil

A shout-out to Annette Watson: Thank you for pivoting so quickly and successfully to a virtual environment for career events. You paved the way nicely for the rest of us!” — Chrystal Stanley

A shout-out to Leah Berte: Thank you for your creativity in initiating and managing the PCDS Instagram account so successfully, and for maintaining a sense of humor through our virtual year!” — Chrystal Stanley

A shout-out to Carlyn Crowe: Thank you for adding your expertise to the PCDS team this year!  We have loved having you!” — Chrystal Stanley

A shout-out to Melissa Sturm-Smith: Thank you for keeping our unit connected throughout this challenging year!” — Chrystal Stanley

A shout-out to Community Engaged Learning: The PCDS staff have enjoyed collaborating with you this year to bring so many virtual opportunities to our students!” — Chrystal Stanley

A shout-out to Alumni Relations: The PCDS staff have appreciated our collaboration to bring the alumni voice to our current students. The LinkedIn hashtag campaign and panels have been a hit with students!” — Chrystal Stanley

A shout-out to Jenny Jones: A true Bulldog through and through! As the director of graduate student programs, she provides personalized advising to our graduate student population in the CBPA. Consistently going above and beyond, Jenny is always available to students and guides them throughout their entire program. She is a great team member and colleague!” — Madeline Mongar-Brodie

Give a shout-out to a deserving colleague

Giving a shout-out is a great way to recognize your colleagues for their hard work, talent, support, and creativity during a very challenging year, and it can simply brighten their day. 

As part of Staff Appreciation Month, Human Resources is encouraging every staff member to submit a shout-out (formerly called Spotlight Stories) for a fellow colleague. Simply post a message on Twitter and Instagram using #DrakeBulldogs or submit a sentence of appreciation to Linda Feiden at

Shout-outs will be compiled and shared in OnCampus at the end of the month as well as on the University’s social media pages. Giving a shout-out is quick and easy—simply write a sentence or two thanking a co-worker or team for a job well-done, going the extra mile, or showing support during an ever-changing year.

To help you get started, here are a few shout-outs I would like to give:

  • Facilities Planning and Management team: Thank you for the wonderful job you have done this past year maintaining our campus and buildings during the pandemic. We appreciate everything you do!
  • All Staff Council:  Thank you for your hard work this past year finding ways to support staff both on campus and remotely.  From coordinating water cooler events to organizing the Called to be True Blue program, you are the best!

As an added bonus, everyone who sends in a shout-out will be placed in a drawing for a chance to win prizes. 

Please take a few minutes to post or send in a shout-out to show your gratitude for our amazing colleagues!

Linda Feiden, Human Resources

March is Staff Appreciation Month

Over the last year, we collectively have been challenged to change everything we do—from educating students and maintaining campus operations, to how we go about our lives at home and in the community. One consequence of not gathering as a campus community, is fewer opportunities to recognize and celebrate the work of our colleagues.

Human Resources and the All Staff Council are encouraging everyone to join us in showing our appreciation for the contributions of Drake staff during the month of March (and beyond!). This is a good time to nominate an individual or team through the All Staff Council’s Called to Be True Blue program. This award recognizes those who go above and beyond expectations to serve students, colleagues, and the Drake community.

We are working on additional ways to spotlight some of our employees who have made extraordinary efforts during this past year’s pandemic.

Human Resources will provide additional recognition tips and resources throughout the month of March. Take some time to let others know you appreciate their efforts.

— Linda Feiden, Human Resources

Advancing the legacy of alumna Catherine Williams

Pictured above Catherine Williams, LA’61, poses with President Martin in 2018 after receiving Drake University’s Alumni Community Service Award.

As our inspiration statement declares, our University strives to transform lives and strengthen communities. This inspiration is often embodied in the work and accomplishments of our graduates. One such graduate, was Ms. Catherine Gayle Williams who passed away last spring at the age of 105.

While working as an assistant stenographer for Polk County, Ms. Williams decided to pursue a Drake degree in sociology part-time. Following her graduation in 1961, she joined the Iowa Department of Human Services where she embarked on a 30-year career of firsts. Ms. Williams established the first foster parent group for children with developmental disabilities, provided the first statewide training program for foster parents, developed the first subsidized adoption program, and implemented Iowa’s first child abuse registry. Her efforts resonated on a national level with the creation of uniform standards for the delivery of foster care services.

When she retired in 1981 as deputy commissioner of the Iowa Department of Human Services, she was the highest ranking African American in the Iowa State government. Ms. Williams received many accolades for her incredible service including membership in the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and the Iowa African Americans Hall of Fame. In 2019, she was inducted into the National Association of Social Workers Foundation Pioneers Program.

I met Ms. Williams in 2018 when she received Drake’s Alumni Community Service Award, having previously received Drake’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

When it was Ms. Williams turn to accept her award and address the crowd, she rose from her seat in Sheslow Auditorium. Instead of taking the stage, she spoke from the auditorium floor. Despite not taking center-stage, the audience listened with rapt attention. With few notes, Ms. Williams passionately advocated for the value of community service and the impact we can each have on one another. The insight in her words and spirt of her delivery were electric. In these polarizing times, Ms. Williams’ message of shared humanity coupled with her exemplary life lived in service to others continues to resonate with me and all who shared in that special moment.

Following Ms. Williams’ passing, Drake learned of her continuing commitment to others and her alma mater. Ms. Williams made an estate gift to Drake of nearly $600,000. This gift will further advance her legacy while providing countless opportunities for generations of students to attend Drake. While the scale of Ms. William’s gift is significant, her legacy looms even larger, inspiring each of us to live a life of purpose and in support of our communities.

— Marty Martin, President