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The annual Service Awards luncheon at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) has been a tradition since 1968. NEO President Dr. Jeff Hale uses the event to recognize and honor faculty and staff who have been selected as outstanding members of the college community. Hale also recognized employees with five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service to NEO A&M as well as retirees. The following individuals received awards through a nomination process and meeting certain criteria:

“Get On Board Award” – Angela Gleaves

The Get On Board Award is intended for NEO staff members in the earliest phase of their employment at NEO who have demonstrated substantial contributions to the college through excellent performance of their job duties, voluntary involvement in campus activities, committees and events, and an overall positive attitude in support of the mission of the college. Gleaves is finishing up her second year with the college in the position of staff accountant. This year, she has served as President of the Staff Association. Her duties in the business office are quite diverse. She manages all cash held in the vault, fills in as cashier when needed, prepares the daily bank deposit, reconciles numerous clearing accounts, audits claims for vendor payments, assists the controller with various accounting duties, sells tickets at sporting events, and tackles many special projects under the category of “other duties as assigned.” Gleaves is a graduate of Southwest Oklahoma State University.

Outstanding Staff Award — Melanie Stegeman

The Outstanding Staff Award is intended for a staff member who has demonstrated substantive contributions to the college through achievement in creative endeavors and participation in the service activities of the college. Stegeman is the administrative coordinator for the Grove Center, a position she has been in since January of 2013. She graduated from Missouri State University in 2011 with her bachelor’s in criminology and psychology. One year later, she graduated from MSU with a master’s degree in administrative studies and a graduate certificate in conflict and dispute resolution. Stegeman comes to NEO after working at Grand Lake Mental Health as a behavioral health rehabilitation specialist and has experience working in higher education as a graduate assistant in educational student services and as a project worker in the teacher certification office.

New Faculty Award — Andrew Olson

The New Faculty Award is intended for faculty in the early phase of their career who demonstrated substantive contributions to the college through achievement in creative endeavors, excellence as a teacher, advisor, and participation in the service activities of the college. Olson is an English instructor who began his employment at NEO in the fall of 2012.  He has been active on the HLC Workgroup for Criterion Three as well as active in the HLC Assessment Academy. Andrew is the editor of Portmanteau, the literary journal featuring work by NEO students.  He also teaches creative writing classes for members of the Miami community. He has taken over the creative writing and history of film classes and made them extremely rigorous while still popular with students.

Faculty Distinguished Service Award — Brenda Lucas

The Faculty Distinguished Service Award is given to a faculty member whose contributions fall outside the academic sphere, but in addition to academic responsibilities, both within the college and the surrounding community. It recognizes faculty for their outstanding service in promotion of the college within the college, to the outside community, and civic engagement. Lucas began teaching at NEO in the fall of 2004, and she takes her teaching duties very seriously. She was instrumental in starting NEO’s evening Marketing/Management program. She worked with the students on the Governor’s Cup last year, and they achieved a third place finish. Lucas is co-chairman of the Criterion One HLC committee.  She serves on the academic advisory council.  She serves on many other committees throughout the year.  She is secretary of the Faculty Senate. For the past two years she has attended the Institute of Management Accounting Leadership Conference.  She teaches a computer class for senior citizens as well as Excel and QuickBooks at the Vo-Tech.

Excellence in Teaching recipients –Lori Kurtz and Dr. David Loving

The criteria for this award includes demonstrated excellence as a classroom instructor, professional ethics as an educator, demonstrated service to the students, college and community as well as participating in professional development involvement and leadership. Kurtz teaches several psychology courses, particularly General Psychology and Developmental Psychology. She teaches these courses in many different formats (face to face/online). Kurtz consistently receives high marks on her student evaluations. She serves as the campus counselor. She helps many students during difficult emotional times in their lives and serves as a stabling force for many on campus. It would not be an exaggeration to identify her as a life saver. She has also helped Shipley Hall receive funding to beautify the building and the make the building more open to students. Dr. Loving has created new courses which include Western Civilization (I and II) and Religion in America. All three of these courses transfer to four-year institutions. Loving consistently receives high marks on his student evaluations. He has served as the History Day coordinator for several years and serves on several committees on campus. He has served as a faculty senator for a number of years and has also been assessment coordinator for the campus. Along with the faculty and staff award presentation, numerous 2015 retirees were recognized for their years of dedication and service. The following employees were recognized:

Beverly Arnold has served as the benefits clerk in the Human Recourses Office for 17 years.
Alan Batt has served as a math instructor for 15 years.
Peggy Duvall is finishing 14 years as secretary to the vice president for fiscal affairs.
Sharon Grigsby served in the position of purchasing assistant in the business office after 21 years of service to NEO.
Kim Grimes has dedicated 30 years as LRC assistant in the learning resource center.
Jim Wiford is leaving after 10 years as lead building attendant at NEO.
Gerald Jones has served nine years as the director and instructor of the medical lab technician program.
Peggy Rhine will be leaving NEO in September after 34 years of service. Rhine is the executive assistant to the president.
Tom Robertson has served as campus police chief for a total of 19 years.

For more photos or individual shots from NEO’s Service Awards luncheon, visit https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152887369061989.1073741980.193484416988&type=1

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