Prof. Wayne Thompson, Chris Grugel honored with Distinguished Teacher, Staff Member Awards
Professor Wayne Thompson was named the 2014 Distinguished Teacher of the Year, and Chris Grugel was named the 2014 Distinguished Staff Member of the Year at the inaugural Spring Gathering for Carthage faculty and staff on Thursday, March 20.
The awards were presented by Jeff Hamar, Chairman of the Carthage Board of Trustees, during a special luncheon held on the first day of Spring. This event will be held annually to celebrate the work of faculty and staff, and to honor two members of the Carthage community who exemplify the College’s mission.
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Prof. Wayne Thompson is an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice. He joined the Carthage faculty in 1998.
Those who nominated Prof. Thompson for the Distinguished Teaching Award described him as someone who goes to great lengths to provide his students with wonderful opportunities to learn, both in and out of the classroom.
“Students repeatedly name this professor as their most important mentor,” said Mr. Hamar in presenting the award. “For many years, this professor has involved students in research projects serving the local community. They have provided services to church congregations, schools, detention centers, and correctional facilities.”
Wrote one student in nominating him: “Professor Wayne Thompson represents what it is to be a liberal arts professor. Dr. Thompson remembers where we are from, what we are doing in our classes, and our interests in post-graduate education. He has helped many students get in to top graduate programs and find jobs.”
Prof. Thompson’s wife, Gladys Hollant, and daughters Lea and Noelle were present at Thursday’s gathering to see him accept the award.
“It is a great honor to be recognized for my teaching,” Prof. Thompson said. “I am a better teacher because of what I have learned from a lot of the people sitting in this room.” He went on to thank his students, “because they are the engines that lead the train.”
“What we do here at Carthage is very ennobling,” he said. “It is humbling to be able to contribute to fulfilling the mission of the College. To my mind, that means serving others instead of focusing on ourselves. … At Carthage, we have something really special and precious. This place is a blessing to our students, faculty, staff, families, and the broader community. … If I could break this award into hundreds of pieces, I would give a piece to each of the giants on whose shoulders we now stand, the mentors and teachers who sustained us, our students, faculty, and staff, who make Carthage the anchor it is for each and every one of us.”
The Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award has been awarded by the Carthage Board of Trustees since 1967. See a list of past winners.
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New this year, the Distinguished Staff Member of the Year Award recognizes an employee who consistently has excelled in his or her position; has made outstanding contributions to the Carthage community; has prompted teamwork and collaboration across the College and departments; and demonstrates humility and integrity while always considering the best interests of students.
This year’s winner, Chris Grugel, is Instructional Services Supervisor at Carthage. He joined the Carthage staff in 1998, and has held a variety of positions over the past 16 years. He is known across campus for providing excellent service to students, faculty, and fellow staff members.
“He always has something positive to say about his colleagues, about Carthage, and about life,” Mr. Hamar said in presenting the award. “He has an almost magical quality of being wherever he is needed, when he is needed, and knowing whatever needs to be done.”
Faculty specifically ask for him to speak to their classes as a guest presenter, and he instructs students and faculty in how to access and use information resources. Well-respected in the profession, he is often asked to present at professional meetings throughout the state and region.
“He also teaches rock climbing, and he is as likely to help students in the TARC as he is in Hedberg Library or in the classroom,” Mr. Hamar said.
In accepting the award, Mr. Grugel thanked his wife, Ruth, the Staff Council, administration, and his colleagues.
“There are so many quality, service-oriented people here at Carthage that I feel like this award could be passed around daily,” he said. “I am fortunate in my job that I get to teach students about research in the classroom, assist faculty with understanding our institutional technologies, and also work with really good office department staff. And at the end of some days, I get to teach rock climbing and listen to rock music. … It makes it easy to come into work.”
“I am very fortunate in that I work with some of the smartest, brightest people anywhere, and those are the people in Library and Information Services,” he continued. “There are many times during the day where they make me look good by giving me the equivalent of that ‘Easy Button,’ so I accept this award on their behalf.”