Featured image: Dr. Segall is awarded the professor of the year award.
The bleachers of Royal Brougham Pavilion were full of students, staff, friends, and families on the morning of Thursday, May 8, as faculty were honored for their years of service to SPU.
The Celebration of Service ceremony is performed each year, honoring professors and staff who have been at SPU for any number of years that is an increment of five. Honorees spanned five to forty-five years of service this year.
The different milestones are each marked with a unique gift, such as a rocking chair and a brick, and staff and professors came down from their seats to receive them. The announcers — President Dan Martin, retired SPU staff member John Glancy, and director of Human Resources Gary Womelsduff — showed their love for and knowledge of the honorees by telling amusing stories and affectionate jokes at moments.
The honoree with the most years of service, at forty-five, was Dr. Kim Gilnett, who works in admissions, fine arts, and is a marketing associate for SPU. He joined the university in 1974. Gilnett received the first full standing ovation of the event when his name was announced.
The Non-Exempt Staff Member of the Year, Katie Bennett, and Exempt Staff Member of the Year Donna McLynne were announced as well, to great enthusiasm from the audience.
Bennett was commended by announcer Teylar Greer for “grace, and commitment to their church community. About their competence, skill, and initiative, one colleague said ‘they are not one to shy away from hard tasks.’”
McLynne, meanwhile, was said to “boost the moral of her office constantly,” and commended for her attention to detail.
The ceremony also included the announcement of undergraduate professor of the year, an award given each year at the event, as well as graduate professor of the year, a new honor that will be awarded from this year on. These awards are nominated by students, and selected by a committee and ASSP Senate.
Unlike the years of service honors, no one but the event coordinators and select others knew before the ceremony who would recieve these prestigious awards.
ASSP President Nathan Samayo came up to the podium for the first time that morning in order to announce the undergraduate professor of the year, Dr. Kimberly Segall.
Segall is a professor of English at SPU, as well as directing the new Social Justice and Cultural Studies major this year. Between starting the SJCS major, teaching a full load of classes, managing a colloquium series, and overseeing a full study abroad program, Segall is an unquestionably committed, dedicated professor.
“Let me tell you, this selected professor is a powerhouse,” said Samayo.
“They are not afraid to have conversations about deconstructing systems that hold all people from succeeding, and love to engage in interfaith and intercultural dialogue.”
He detailed her many accomplishments this quarter, including her work in the SJCS and English majors, as well as the Spain and Morocco study abroad program. He also commented on her powerful work in the classroom from the perspective of a student.
“I have had the privilege of working with this professor specifically, and let me tell you all that she ain’t a pastor but the Holy Spirit be working out of her” he said emphatically, backed by claps and cheers from the audience.
Segall, who Samayo called a “wonderful and powerful woman of God,, commented in an interview on the experience of winning the award.
“There are so many amazing teachers at SPU, so I felt so honored to be selected” Segall said. “As a teacher, it has been a delight to partner with faculty across this campus and students across this campus for this exciting first year with the new major,” she said. “Working with students in the SJC
Leadership and Internships to set up Learning Resources with video clips of these events and to host these colloquiums has been a delight!”
Despite all she has taken on, Segall is not losing steam. She is hoping for even more student engagement in all her programs and classes in the coming months and years.
“In terms of my classes, I hope to see more students in the study abroad programs in cultural studies — either in Spain/Morocco or South Africa — or to take Intro to Justice and Cultural Studies, Middle Eastern Literature, or Race, Representation, and Law,” Segall said.
The first ever graduate professor of the year was also announced, by student and chair of the selection committee Carrington Wilson. The award was given to Dr. Paul Yost, Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Director of Applied Learning and Development.
“It is clear that their life embodies the university’s core values. They are a person of deep faith, and possess a true servant’s heart, are full of grace in their interactions with others, and their work exhibits the highest level of competence and professionalism,” Wilson said.
Wilson read a nomination from an unnamed student, which said that Yost is the “hands and feet of Jesus in his actions and consistency.”
Yost himself commented on receiving the award, saying, “I feel honored to get the award and quite humbled that students recommended me for it! I will display the award prominently in my office so I can look at it as I grade the mountain of papers right beside it on my desk.”