2023 Thomas S. Thompson Award Winners, Employee of the Year, and Service Award Honorees Announced
Sioux City, Iowa – Morningside University presented its 2023 Thomas S. Thompson Staff Excellence Awards to Stacie Hays, associate vice president for careers, life, and success; Tom Maxon, men’s and women’s head soccer coach; Jodie Nieman, housekeeper; and Angie Zuehl, administrative coordinator for the Walker Science Center. Zuehl was also named the 2023 Employee of the Year. Additionally, a number of faculty and staff were honored for their years of service to Morningside.
“Every single member of our staff plays a key role in delivering top-tier service to our student body and the broader campus community. Those who were recognized this year embody this commitment, demonstrating the tight-knit community spirit that is at the heart of our institution. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to each one of them for their outstanding service to Morningside,” expressed Dr. Albert Mosley, president of Morningside University.
Stacie Hays has worked at Morningside since 2005, most recently serving as the associate vice president for careers, life, and success. Hays has been pivotal in Morningside achieving a 99 percent job and graduate school placement rate for more than a decade due to her outstanding work in building relationships with regional employers and developing programming that prepares for students for life after Morningside. Additionally, Hays recently upstarted a peer mentoring program to support retention efforts that helped contribute to a five percent increase in retention over the last year.
Tom Maxon has served as head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Morningside since 1999. He was honored for regularly going the extra mile to ensure students have a rich and meaningful Morningside experience, as well as leading the soccer teams to gain regular conference and national honors both on and off the field. Further, his abilities as a recruiter have helped significantly grow international student enrollment at Morningside while also enhancing the overall experience for international students attending Morningside.
Jodie Nieman has been employed as a housekeeper as part of the facilities team since 2009. Nominators describe her as an unsung hero behind Morningside’s well-kept campus who is known for her relentless dedication to making sure the campus gleams with an unblemished shine, meticulously attending to every detail of her job. Nieman is also beloved by students, regularly sharing a smile or thoughtful exchange as she goes about her work to help make Morningside more welcoming for students.
Angie Zuehl has been an employee at Morningside since 2016. Named both a 2023 Thomas S. Thompson Award winner and the Employee of the Year, Zuehl is noted for her bright personality and positive attitude. Nominators shared that Zuehl has a multifaceted role that she manages adeptly, handling a variety of administrative duties, greeting visitors, and assisting students in a variety of ways. She is described as skilled at managing difficult situations and resolving conflict, and is well known for her willingness and ability to pick up extra tasks when needed. Zuehl has also demonstrated significant personal courage in the last year as she faces serious medical challenges, with nominators underscoring that those circumstances have not diminished her work ethic or spirit.
All Thomas S. Thompson Award recipients receive a cash bonus. Recipients are selected annually based on their demonstration of outstanding dedication, service, and commitment to Morningside and its students. The Thompson Staff Awards are funded by an endowment established in memory of Thomas S. Thompson who served as president of Morningside from 1969 to 1978.
In addition to the staff awards, a number of faculty and staff were also recognized for their years of service to Morningside University. Dr. Albert Mosley celebrated the number of individuals who achieved these milestones, noting, “Long-term employees are the backbone of any institution. They represent continuity, dedication, and a wealth of experience that forms the foundation for our success. As they grow and evolve with our institution, they weave their legacies into the fabric of our community, strengthening our collective identity. Sustainability and growth are fueled by these stalwart individuals who embody our core values and mission.”
Individuals honored for five years of service included Dr. Brandon Boesch, assistant professor of philosophy; Dr. Elizabeth Coody, assistant professor of religious studies; Dr. Erin Edlund, chief of staff and vice president for university engagement; AdamHilker, assistant baseball coach; Dr. Annie Kinwa-Muzinga, professor of applied agricultural and food studies; Dr. Erik Mahon, assistant professor of music; Melissa Nelson, internship/externship coordinator for the Regina Roth Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Department; Dr. Ryan Person, director of choral activities and assistant professor of music; Brooke Pruner, head softball coach; Steven Ricke, assistant director of admissions; Diane Shanafelt, assistant professor of education; and Dan Witten, assistant professor of applied agricultural and food studies.
Employees honored for ten years of service include Nick Buth, sports information director; Randi Hudson, associate director of student financial planning; Dr. Jessica LaPaglia, associate professor of psychology; Dr. Brian McFarland, associate vice president of academic affairs; Bobbi Meister, personal counselor; Kari Varner, associate professor of nursing; and Alex Watters, alumni engagement director.
Two individuals were honored for 15 years of service to Morningside. They were Renee Bock, registrar’s office associate, and Carla Gregg, director of applications in information technology.
The three employees honored for 20 years of service included Shar Georgesen, professor of nursing; Twyla Rosenbaum, professor of accounting; and Dave Slaven, associate professor of physics. Finally, two employees were honored for 25 years of service. Eric Canning is an associate professor of mathematics, and Amy Williams-Malenosky is the senior associate director of admissions.