Dec. 20, 2004
has awarded the second annual Thomas S. Thompson Staff Excellence
Awards to Gene Ambroson, director of Alumni
Relations; Karen Gagnon, director of Student
Financial Planning; Randy Hansen, director
of the college's bookstore; Vivian Isaacson,
coordinator for Academic Affairs; Mary Krejci,
coordinator to the vice president of Student Services; and
Mary Peshek, registrar. Gagnon was also named
the Staff Employee of the Year.
The annual awards
are funded by a $500,000 endowment established by Margaret
Thompson, wife of the late Dr. Thomas S. Thompson, who served
as president of Morningside from 1969 to 1978. He passed
away in 1999.
John Reynders presented the awards at the annual Christmas
banquet held Friday night at the Olsen Student Center on campus.
The recipients will each receive a bonus of $4,000.
As employee of the year, Gagnon will receive $5,000.
The recipients were
selected based upon their demonstration of outstanding dedication,
service, and commitment to Morningside and its students during
the 2003-04 academic year. Criteria for selection included
the nominees' contributions to their respective departments,
their representation in campus organizations, and their service
and volunteer efforts towards fulfilling the college's mission
came to Morningside in 1986 as the college's director
of Public Affairs. In 1995, he became director of Alumni &
Community Relations and assumed his current title as director
of Alumni Relations in 1997. As director of alumni relations,
he provides leadership for two of the college's annual events,
Homecoming and Family Weekend. He also serves as advisor to
the Acacia Fraternity and works closely with the Student Alumni
Association, whose membership doubled during the past academic
He is a member of
the Abu-Bekr Shrine Chanters and a volunteer member of the
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee assigned
to the local Army Reserve units. He attended Morningside and
is a 1971 graduate of Briar Cliff University. He holds a master's
degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
been at Morningside since 1988, when she started as an
accounting assistant in accounts payable. Six years later,
she also assumed duties as director of human resources. In
1996, she became a financial planning counselor and was promoted
in 1997 to assistant director of Financial Planning. She was
appointed to her current position as director of Student Financial
Planning in 1998. As director, she meets personally with the
majority of prospective students and their parents and oversees
a $17.1 million financial aid budget. She works closely with
departments across the campus to improve enrollment management
and customer service.
Gagnon is a member
of the Iowa Student Loan Advisory Council, the Iowa Association
of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA), the Midwest
Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
She has served on the Community Outreach and Professional
Development and Training Committees for the IASFAA. She is
a 1997 graduate of Morningside College.
began working as director of the college's bookstore
in 2001. In addition, he assumed duties as the athletics fundraiser
in 2003. He served on numerous college committees, among which
were the Homecoming committee, the international student committee,
and the men's basketball 20-year reunion committee. He volunteered
as radio broadcast assistant for the 2003 football season.
Additionally, he assisted at alumni events held in Sioux City,
Omaha, and Des Moines and hosted an alumni event in San Antonio.
Hansen is an active
member of Morningside Lutheran Church of Sioux City and has
served as coordinator of the Morningside Days Celebration
Carnival and Parade for the past 23 years. He was a volunteer
for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
(NAIA) Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament
held last spring and also helped out at the South Sioux City
Cross Country Invitational. He is a 1972 graduate of Morningside
has been at the college for 24 years, beginning
the college in 1980 as administrator for a special project
in data coordination. In 1985 she became administrative coordinator
to the vice president for Business Affairs, and, in 1998,
assumed additional responsibilities as payroll/administrator
coordinator. She accepted her current position as Academic
Affairs coordinator in 1999. During the past academic year,
she served on three self-study committees as the college prepared
for its periodic accreditation review by the Higher Learning
Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges
and Schools. She also serves on the Main Users Group (MUG)
and is the Web editor for the Academics and Academic Affairs
Web sites. She is the lead organizer for the college's annual
spring commencement exercises and related events.
many hours in support of East High School 's choir and band
programs. Isaacson is a 1980 graduate of Morningside College.
joined the college in 1995 as executive secretary
to the vice president for Enrollment and Student Services.
Her title was changed to administrative assistant to
the vice president for Admissions in 1999 and currently is
coordinator to the vice president of Student Services. She
serves as the sexual harassment officer for the campus and
oversees the Alumni Referral Program, through which alumni
referred 144 prospective students who enrolled for the fall
2004 semester. She works closely with many student groups
on campus and serves as one of the Web editors for the Student
Services Web pages. She recently completed a two-year term
as representative on the Administrative-Staff Council and
currently serves as administrative representative to the Finance
and Facilities Committee.
She volunteers for
United Way of Siouxland and Meals on Wheels and is an active
member of the Siouxland Y. She is a 1999 graduate of Morningside
began duties as the college's registrar in 1998. During the
past academic year, she served as an ex-officio member of
two faculty committees, Academic Standards and Curriculum
Policies. She worked closely with faculty to plan for the
implementation of and transition to the new curriculum for
the fall 2004 semester. She is responsible for the content
of the college catalog, which needed to encompass these changes.
She also worked with 19 athletic teams to determine athletic
eligibility of students.
She is an active
member of Calvary United Methodist Church of Le Mars, Iowa,
and a board member for the Westmar Alumni and Friends Association.
She has been a regular donor at the Siouxland Blood Bank for
over 20 years and has donated over 12 gallons.