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Awards presented to top faculty, staff for 2018-19

May 24, 2019

Carthage closed the 2018-19 academic year by presenting two annual awards to distinguished employees at a faculty/staff luncheon May 23 in the Todd Wehr Center:

  • Kim Instenes, an assistant professor of theatre and costume designer, won the Distinguished Teaching Award.
  • Jane Anderson Spencer ’80, assistant director for major gifts in the Office of Institutional Advancement, received the Distinguished Staff Award.

Jane Anderson Spencer ’80, left, and Professor Kim Instenes received the Distinguished Staff Aw...Jane Anderson Spencer ’80, left, and Professor Kim Instenes received the Distinguished Staff Award and Distinguished Teaching Award, respectively, for 2018-19.The Board of Trustees created the faculty award in 1967 to formally recognize superior teaching. A confidential committee selects the yearly recipient.

Nominators praised Prof. Instenes, who joined the faculty in 2009, for her creativity, work ethic, and supportive mentorship. One alumna called her “the second mother I always needed and the friend to lean on when becoming an adult was too hard.”

Prof. Instenes mentored Latora Lezotte ’20, who last month won a national costume design award through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The faculty member has also earned individual accolades for costumes in Carthage productions like “Ghost Bike,” “Lysistrata,” and “Into the Woods.”

“When I see a student really understand a concept, that look fuels my teacher’s heart and makes me remember the importance of what I am doing,” Prof. Instenes said in her acceptance remarks.

The Staff Council selected Mrs. Spencer for the staff award, which recognizes exceptional performance in service, teamwork, attitude, and reliability. Colleagues pointed to the patience, sincerity, and institutional knowledge she’s displayed in various roles at the College since 1986.

“As for attitude, have you ever seen her without a smile?” one nominator wrote. “… She embodies what’s best among the staff.”

Born in Carthage, Illinois, Mrs. Spencer is part of a family with deep ties to the College. Her father, the late Alan Anderson ’50, devoted 40 years and served as president in 1986-87, while her mother, Irma (Niekamp) Anderson ’48, is one of the “Legacy Ladies” who have attended every groundbreaking ceremony on the Kenosha campus.

In addition, she met her husband, Jack Spencer ’71, at Carthage. Their son Erick ’19 now joins them as alumni.

“Throughout my career, I have tried to honor one of Mother Teresa’s famous quotes: ‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier,’” Mrs. Spencer said at the luncheon. “… Knowing that I was able to offer even a sliver of help and happiness along the way brings me much purpose and meaning.”

Congratulations to the 2019 recipients!

Past Recipients