Morningside has presented its 2020 Thomas S. Thompson Staff Excellence Awards. 

Sioux City, Iowa – Morningside College has presented its 2020 Thomas S. Thompson Staff Excellence Awards to Katy Burford, head athletic trainer; Nick Buth, computer and communication technology specialist and assistant sports information director; Mike Freeman, director of development; Steph Peters, admissions director; Karmen Ten Napel, dean of students and Title IX coordinator; and Stacy Weiland, custodial manager. Tasha Goodvin, marketing admissions coordinator, was named staff employee of the year.

Katy BurfordKaty BurfordKaty Burford is the head athletic trainer at Morningside, playing a key role in keeping nearly 700 student-athletes healthy. She also assists with managing the insurance associated with athletics and works closely with Student Health to ensure students with injuries are getting the care they need while minimizing classroom absences. As a result of COVID-19, many of the daily operations associated with Katy’s job required adjustments, including helping monitor student-athletes for symptoms and directing them to Student Health if they became symptomatic. Though the health of her athletes is important, Katy is equally as dedicated to doing her part to encouraging athletes to be successful in the classroom, with Vice President for Student Life & Enrollment Terri Curry noting, “When Student Life needs assistance contacting an athlete, Katy is often our first call because of the connections she is able to build.”

Nick ButhNick ButhNick Buth is a computer and communication technology specialist and an assistant sports information director at Morningside. Nick is the go-to guy for troubleshooting and resolving technology issues of all kinds throughout campus and can usually be spotted taking photos or assisting with game management at Morningside athletic events. By nature of what he does, Nick is often called upon for emergency or last-minute projects. When COVID-19 hit, Nick was crucial in thinking about and adapting technology to better support both academics and athletics. Nick also regularly steps up to do small extras that make a big difference, with his nominator noting, “Nick’s work ethic and commitment to helping Morningside succeed have been crucial to helping the College navigate the pandemic. He is a truly valuable and talented member of this campus community.” 

Mike FreemanMike FreemanMike Freeman serves as director of development in the Morningside College Advancement Office. Mike has been part of the team at Morningside for more than six years and has worked diligently to build strong connections with alumni and help advance the work of his team. Though one of the only members of the Advancement team who is not also an alum, Mike speaks about Morningside with great passion and enthusiasm. One project of note Mike has been part of is the successful growth of the Siouxland Business Gifts Campaign. In their nomination letters, Vice President Kari Winklepleck and other teammates wrote, “Mike has taken ownership of this particular campaign and developed it into a reliable and sustainable source of dollars for the Annual Scholarship Fund.” Mike’s colleagues also commented that he is often the voice of reason, carefully listening to others and adding to discussions, and possesses qualities such as professionalism, reliability, mission-mindedness, and more, summing it all up by saying, “He’s one of [Morningside’s] best and should be recognized for his many contributions.”

Steph PetersSteph PetersSteph Peters is admissions director at Morningside and a long-time employee and alumnae who is passionate and driven in her work. Steph and her team have experienced significant changes in their day-to-day as a result of the pandemic, but she did not let it stop her team. Steph was quick to implement a number of new processes and strategies to ensure the safety of both students and employees while also thinking about the future. Her tenaciousness and energy have helped Morningside welcome one of their largest-ever freshman classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to being an excellent leader and visionary for the college, her nominator noted that Steph is also selfless, lending a hand and providing encouragement regularly in her day-to-day, writing, “Steph puts people above all else, and I believe it is that kind of servant leadership that has made her so successful with her team, in connecting with students and families, and in earning so much respect within our campus community.”

Karmen Ten NapelKarmen Ten NapelKarmen Ten Napel is the dean of students and Title IX coordinator at Morningside. As Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs Terri Curry wrote in her nomination, “Karmen is a humble, consummate professional who believes in hard work and whose service to Morningside is nothing short of amazing.” Karmen has overhauled Title IX and student disciplinary policies and procedures to bring the work into compliance. She has helped shape top-notch Title IX and residence life teams who are confident and capable due to her superior support. Additionally, Karmen has brought compassion and fairness to her position, offering superior listening skills, and asking thoughtful questions to understand difficult situations. “When it comes to the ability to listen and be selfless, few individuals equal Karmen,” Terri Curry noted. “Though her role has many daily challenges, Karmen continues to see the positive side of life. Her faith in humanity and support of our students is nothing short of amazing.” 

Stacy WeilandStacy WeilandStacy Weiland is the custodial manager at Morningside College. In his nomination letter, Vice President Ron Jorgensen and Physical Plant Director Tim Paul noted that Stacy is not only passionate about his job but treats others with respect and compassion. Stacy had additional pressure in his role this past year due to the pandemic. Stacy demonstrated outstanding problem-solving abilities, excellent time management, reliability, and perseverance while navigating the many new challenges that COVID-19 presented in cleaning and maintaining campus facilities. Of Stacy, Jorgensen and Paul wrote, “Stacy is reliable and can be counted on. If he says he will do something, he will. When he is asked to find a solution or overcome challenges, he perseveres. When he says he will handle it, you can count on him.”

Tasha GoodvinTasha GoodvinTasha Goodvin, a Morningside alumna, first began her employment at Morningside in 2016 as an admissions counselor. About 18 months ago, she took a new position to serve as a liaison between the marketing and admissions team. In the role, she has flourished. Tasha has elevated Morningside’s social media efforts to new levels, spearheaded the task of reimagining every single piece of the admissions communication flow, assisted with the development of a new website, aided with the creation of a new virtual tour, served as a back-up to admissions during busy times, and took on the task of managing the marketing department’s intern program. In Tasha’s nomination, Vice President for External Relations Erin Edlund and admissions director Steph Peters noted, “Much of Tasha’s work is behind the scenes, but Tasha is a quiet force who is delivering consistently excellent work that is making a big difference for Morningside. She is flourishing, and the Thompson Award provides a way to shine a light on her efforts.”

Award recipients each receive a $4,000 bonus and the employee of the year receives $5,000. 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 College from 1969 to 1978.