College Honors Exceptional Service

CMC staffers John Meany, director of forensics and The Claremont Colleges Debate Union, and Terri Van Eaton, administrative assistant for the Lowe Institute of Political Economy, are recipients of the 2007 Claremont McKenna College Exceptional Service Award. Voted on by faculty, staff, and students, the annual award honors leadership, commitment, teamwork, and excellence.

Georgette DeVeres, associate vice president for admission and financial aid and 2007 chair of the Exceptional Service Awards Committee, says 21 qualified candidates were received by the College’s April 14 deadline. DeVeres announced the winners during the annual Spring Staff Luncheon on May 3, with President Pamela Gann noting the importance of the nomination process.

In comments from nominating students and colleagues, Meany was described as “king of the 80-hour work week,” and a dedicated leader who attends every weekend debate tournament while running classes during the week. “John molded The Debate Union into one of the largest college debating societies,” one student observed, with CCDU members attending more than 130 tournaments in the past three years. “He also fundraises to make sure that every trip is free to students.”

Last month’s national debate championships in Colorado marked the 15th consecutive year that members of the Debate Union have placed among the nation’s top 10, including top-five finishes for the past six years. Wrote another nominating student: “When you ask John about why he runs CCDU, he says that he wants to empower students with academic skills, opportunities to travel, and experiences that help them grow. He is the model for the leader I want to become.”

Van Eaton, described by a colleague as “efficient, reliable and congenial,” and someone with whom students, faculty, staff, and guests of the College enjoy working, was noted by several for her perpetual posting of “touching and humorous” quotes, pictures, and cartoons on her office door. While the postings serve to cheer people, one student says she was struck by Van Eaton’s secondary motivation in decorating her office entrance. Van Eaton, she said, shared that if “a tiger can live harmoniously with a litter of piglets, then why cannot humans of all races, religions, and nationalities peacefully co-exist as well?”

Another commented on Van Eaton’s beyond-the-call-of-duty efforts, including keeping snacks stocked for student workers, and in another example, wiping down their computers during a particularly bad cold and flu season. “She does her job well, but she also helps everyone else do their jobs better,” one student observed.

The Exceptional Service Awards, which carry a $1,000 cash prize, are open to all exempt and non-exempt staff (except Senior Staff) who have been with the College at least one year. The awards recognize the vital contributions that staff members make to the education of students and the quality of the CMC community. Awards are presented at the annual Spring Staff Luncheon, and honorees also are recognized at the College’s opening convocation in August.

This year’s Committee members included: Georgette DeVeres, chair; Polly Baker, administrative assistant, Reed Institute for Applied Statistics; Heather Beck ’09; P. Edward Haley, the W.M. Keck Foundation Chair of International Strategic Studies; Jeff Huang, vice president for student affairs; Kasey Schneider ’07; Marsha Tudor, assistant director, facilities and campus services; and Chris Wiedey, director of foundation and corporate relations.