Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Faculty and staff recognized on A Day


On Thursday Sept. 27, faculty and staff were recognized for service years, perfect attendance and a few were awarded the Jaeke Award during a morning event called “A Day.”
“In the grand history of 155 years of Augustana, it’s new. I believe this is our fifth A Day event,” Laura Ford, the Director of Human Resources and coordinator of the event said. “We started it just as a way to kind of take a time-out and celebrate what we’ve accomplished as a college in the last year.”
A Day is an Augustana College employee-only event, held this year in PepsiCo Recreation Center. Starting at 7:30 a.m. on Symposium Day, employees in attendance were given baseball T-shirts with the event’s theme, “Better Together,” on the front. Faculty and staff also enjoyed a breakfast of assorted pastries, fruit, eggs, breakfast burritos, bacon, biscuits and gravy, and sausage.
The event began with recognizing service years: “We recognize service in five year increments and so each of those awards are really a token – they each involve the college seal in some way. For instance, our fifteen-year award is an Augustana blanket that has the Augustana ‘A’ on it,” Ford said.
Before recognizing individuals and their years of service, Ford also announced major happenings from the year staff members joined Augustana. For example, in 1993, the first year for those celebrating 25 years with the college, Augustana’s tuition was $12,000. In 1988, Her Royal Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden made her first visit to campus.
Tammy Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administration, has been at Augustana for 25 years. Starting in facilities, Sullivan has worked in the business office for approximately 20-22 years. “It’s very much like an extended family. I really enjoy all the people that I work with,” Sullivan said.
Cindy Schroeder, Assistant to the Executive Vice President of External Relations, was recognized for 40 years of service to the college. “I think at least from when I first started to now, [Augustana is] a much better school,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder’s advice to other employees: “I know sometimes people aren’t always happy with the pay here, but in life there’s things more important than that, and you have to be happy with what you do day in and day out. For students, enjoy your four years here – it’ll be some of the best years of your life. And maybe come back and work for the college.”
Along with being recognized for service, employees were recognized for perfect attendance. Dawn Tilp works in facilities, and was recognized for 13 years of perfect attendance. “I started here because my daughter was gonna come here, and I couldn’t think of a better gift to give her than no student loans. And then I loved it, and loved the students and being around here so I stayed.” When asked how she made 13 years of perfect attendance, Tilp said, “I say good health, and good health.”
Among these recognitions, five employees were awarded the Harold T. and Violet M. Jaeke Award. In an email to employees asking them to nominate their colleagues, Kai Swanson, Special Assistant to the President, said “Violet and Harold Jaeke established the endowment to recognize outstanding performance by persons within the ‘major areas of employment at the College: teaching, administration, food services, plant and maintenance services, and secretarial services.'”
Recipients of the award are Kelly Atkins, Kristin Douglas, Monica Metscaviz, Joe McDowell and Peggy Santee.
Dr. Umme Al-Wazedi, associate professor in the English department, gave a speech at the event. “Today’s A Day service award theme was ‘Better Together’ so my speech was around that – how do we become one community and what makes us a unique community – that was the focus of my talk. What came out of my speech is that we have to think about working together in different levels, and I sort of went through the different experiences of how I became a part of this community,” Al-Wazedi said.
In her speech, Al-Wazedi also spoke about the collective effort made by the college’s employees to “try to make this campus safe, make sure our students are learning, and to make sure our staff are being well-taken care of,” and their commitment to students and each other.
Al-Wazedi was also among those being recognized for 10 years of service to the college. “I never ask myself why I’m here. I get up every day, I get ready, and I come to teach class. So, perhaps the happiness that I get from just coming to class, coming to campus, meeting my students, that’s the reason. I have great colleagues, I feel that I am taken care of on my campus, and I have a lot of opportunity to do research, so all of this kind of comes together. But I just enjoy what I do. I’ve not thought of why I wouldn’t come and work here.”
Graphic Illustration Above: Cindy Schroeder (pictured & recognized for 40 years of service) and 87 others recognized. Graphic and Photo by Emma Gannaway and Cora Lamb.

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Faculty and staff recognized on A Day