The seventh annual award, patterned after FSU's Distinguished Teacher Award, recognizes those employees not directly involved in teaching. Criteria for selection are a positive attitude and enthusiasm for Ferris; excellence in performance of duties; interest in students or demonstrated cooperation with other staff; and participation as a member of the University community and public service to others.
When Patty Fraser started at Ferris in August of 1980, she was asked if she could help out in the Payroll Office for one month. She became the assistant supervisor of the Payroll Office in 1985 and supervisor in 1988. Fraser credits her "dedicated, knowledgeable and helpful" staff as the reason for her office's success.
She has been involved in numerous committees and projects at Ferris throughout the years including the University Retention Committee and the Total Quality Management group for Accounting/Payroll. She has also served on the administrative team for Clerical/Technical labor negotiations. Her community involvement through St. Paul's Campus Parish includes 20 years of service projects. She has been involved in the Christmas "Giving Tree" project and has served as St. Paul's landscape gardener and designer since 1984.
Grounds supervisor Will Gasper's friendly smile and warm wave greet everyone he meets as he tends the campus grounds. His enthusiasm, dedication and "can-do" attitude have provided students and employees with landscaping to enjoy year round.
Gasper contributes to the community through God's Helping Hands and his work with the youth ministry at his church. He was a charter member of Ferris State's "We Care" program and also is involved in the "First Impressions" program.
Bruce Hammond has been employed at Ferris for five years as a machine lab technician within the College of Technology. He maintains various machines for the Welding, Machine Tool, Design, Drafting, and Graphic Arts faculty. He also works on special projects and assists faculty, students and staff wherever and whenever needed. College of Technology faculty say that Hammond is always pleasant, dedicated and hardworking.
Hammond enjoys coaching Big Rapids youth baseball, hockey and soccer teams. He has been a judge for the Big Rapids Public Schools' Industrial Art Fair and has served on the Advisory Board for the Newaygo County Career Center. Hammond also assists the Machine Trades instructors at the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center.
Carole Kamp has been employed at FSU for 12 years and holds the position of Director of Conferences and Programs. Her responsibilities include the planning, implementation and coordination of many continuing education conferences, workshops and seminars.
She has performed this function in an exemplary manner, ensuring that the thousands of people who come to campus for these programs leave with a positive impression of the University. She recently received the "Hometown Hero Award" from the Mecosta County Convention and Visitors Bureau for her contributions to local tourism.
Kamp is involved with Ferris Professional Women, Martin Luther King Commission, United Way, We Care, First Impressions and a number of professional organizations.
An "unsung hero," Fonda Kuzee, office supervisor for Physical Plant, is known for her proficiency, efficiency, sunny disposition and dedication to her job. She has volunteered her time to several committees, organizations and her church for the benefit of others.
The Physical Plant staff appreciates Fonda's contributions and showed their support through several nominations and letters of support.
Jon Shaffer has been employed at Ferris for two years. As Director of Residential Programs and Services and Associate Director of Housing, Shaffer oversees the University residence halls, including the residents' safety. He has faced many significant challenges since beginning his employment, including staffing changes, student behavioral issues, and most recently, the Brophy Hall fire. Shaffer has addressed each of those issues in a superb manner.
Shaffer is a cabinet member for the Mecosta/Osceola United Way campaign. He regularly volunteers for church and school activities, and is a volunteer coach for youth soccer and hockey. He also is very active in several professional organizations. In spite of all these activities and responsibilities, he makes time to assist and counsel individual students to help them make the most of their college experience.
Chris Vodry's work ethic shows through all aspects of her life. A Secretary Level III in the College of Business, she believes everyone should do their best every day and continually strive to improve their skills and abilities. Vodry is devoted to more than her job. Her dedication to staff and students is evident from the numerous Certificates of Appreciation she has received from offices on campus and local organizations.
Vodry serves on several campus committees working to improve communication and policies. Her involvement in community activities and volunteer work testifies to her commitment to enrich and improve lives.
Al Williams, senior graphic designer for University Advancement and Marketing, helps promote Ferris by designing marketing brochures and publications that are distributed across the country. In many cases, a student's first contact with Ferris is through a brochure that Williams has designed. The University community benefits from his artistic talents through campus signage, Ferris Renaissance and the Michigan Art Walk. He also enjoys teaching part-time in the Visual Communications program.
Williams donates his time and talent to the Relay for Life in Big Rapids and does wall murals in the children's wing of his church in Rockford. With his busy life and schedule, he still finds time to teach watercolor and cartooning as an instructor in the Rockford Creative Arts Center.
Distinguished Staff Award recipients each receive a one-time bonus of $500, individual plaques, and recognition at a Board of Trustees dinner and meeting. The names of all DSA winners are engraved on a plaque permanently displayed on campus.