Fall 2012 Recipients
- Andre Altans
- Pat Amundsen
- Beth Bondy
- Amy Brooke
- Brodie Cates
- Melany Cheeseman
- Brandi Clark
- Steve Debates
- Irene Decker
- Diane Donnelly
- Emily Edwards
- Keri Hayes
- EJ Hook
- Jim Kehoe
- Joan Macdonald
- Kathy Meier
- Shannon Moreaux
- Deborah Nash
- Kathy Osen
- Dan Picard
- Jason Platt
- Tony Purpura
- Susan Raph
- Alberta Rivera
- Jason Rosen
- Julie Rummel
- Melissa Schaak
- Heidi Sherick
- Heidi Sherick
- Tracy Simonson
- Jay Van Voast
- Karen Vosen
Financial Aid, MSU-Bozeman
Andre is a kind, considerate and caring man who shows great concern for me and many
other students that I have spoken to. He genuinely cares and does all that is within
his parameters to ensure student success. He connects with students on a personal
level that goes far beyond the norm of an institution that has so many people committed
to the success of its students (in this respect MSU itself deserves the Pure Gold
Award). He shares his own life stories in a way that makes me respect him and feel
that my problems are not always as big as I make them out to be, but if they are,
he fixes them! In choosing a person from MSU that I would like to emulate, it is definitely
Andre Altans: I would truly be blessed if I can grow to be a person like him who is
altruistically dedicated to helping others. No matter how busy he is, he always has
time for his students. He is retiring soon and will truly be missed by all of the
students he has helped. MSU is losing a great, great person. I wish him the very best
of happiness as he retires and begins a new phase in his life. So long Andre. Be blessed!
Nominated by Steven Morgan; Received award on September 19, 2012
Pat has been a loyal and faithful member of the MSU-Billings community for over 25
years serving the science and the history departments through a myriad of changes
and the quirky personalities of dozens upon dozens of faculty. She has done so always
with incredibly good cheer and grace. Even under the most demanding and trying of
circumstances she maintains an unfailingly positive and can-do attitude. She is often
one of the first faces a freshman student, confused about advising, or a schedule
conflict, or credit requirements, will encounter.
Through her calm and professional demeanor she always is able to provide accurate and reliable information to students, other staff, and sometimes overly cranky and demanding faculty. She does so always with aplomb and a smile on her face. Indeed, in all of her personal dealings with students, colleagues, other staff members, administrators and faculty she has NEVER been anything but positive and professional. The world genuinely would be more humane and less contentious if there were more Pat Amundsens in it.
In the nearly 20 years I've been associated with her, I have never heard her utter a disparaging word about anyone, nor have I ever heard anything from others about Pat other than accolades and praise for her great attitude for her work and assistance on behalf of our university. For these reasons (and probably a thousand more), she really is pure gold and a true gem within the Montana University system. Pat is one of the reasons it is a pleasure for all of us to come to work each day here at MSU-Billings.
Nominated by Keith Edgerton; Received award on September 26, 2012
Residence Life/University Food Service, MSU-Bozeman
It is my sincere pleasure to nominate Beth Bondy for the MSU Pure Gold Award.
If you visit the Strand Union Building (SUB) for food during the work week, you may have had the pleasure of being served food by Beth. Or if, like me, you have a sweet tooth, you have perhaps seen Beth cheerfully serve fresh fudge from behind the counter of the Sweet Shop in the lower level of the SUB. Regardless of where you find Beth, you will undoubtedly notice her big smile and sunny demeanor.
Dan Yerigan, the general manager of the SUB food service, confirmed to me that Beth is indeed a genuinely warm person and that Beth infuses her work and workplace with her positive attitude.
I am further inspired by Beth upon finding out that she is the mother of a special needs child. I sincerely believe that recognizing Beth's positive spirit through a Pure Gold award will give others on campus a chance to learn from her. For me, personally, Beth provides a constant reminder that it is always possible to improve our own attitude toward work and life in the face of challenges and adversity.
I respectfully urge the committee to acknowledge Beth's commitment to her work and MSU by selecting her for the MSU Pure Gold award.
Nominated by Omar Shehryar; Received award on October 17, 2012
University Police, MSU-Bozeman
Amy Brooke is an officer with University Police. But her involvement in our MSU community
goes well beyond just that. I am currently living in Family Graduate Housing and am
a community assistant of the area. My interactions with Amy are regular. Amy thrives
at developing relationships with people, interacting with children around her and
helping people. "Protect and serve" is definitely her motto, and the eagerness with
which she does her job and interacts with people is inspiring.
Amy brings back the notion that police officers are here for the people and not just to scare the people. Extremely outgoing, caring and with a keen ear, Amy is Pure Gold for Montana State University. Thank you for recognizing her as such.
Nominated by Anne Blackwell; Received award on August 29, 2012
Brodie Cates is the recording engineer at KGLT. He lends his golden touch to record
public service announcements, interviews, music performances and underwriter messages
to give them continuity, consistency, and life. He adds music and sound to backgrounds
while editing out "hems and haws," "coughs and wheezes," and produces the sound that
people think of when they think KGLT. A degree in radio/TV, a minor in journalism,
two years at MSU and years in front of the microphone, coupled with a deep appreciation
of music and the music of history, philosophy, nature and an open mind, make Brodie
a most congenial man to work with. Brodie is a jewel on every level. He has the solidity
of a rock and makes the station shine.
Brodie's job requires odd hours for downloading national and local programming or conducting interviews. He is amenable to it always. Montana Medicine Show is recorded on Sundays. Funded by Greater Montana Foundation and Humanities Montana, Brodie records the programs produced by KGLT music director Jim Kehoe and narrated by Montana historian Derek Strahn, editing and smoothing out the rough edges as the actual recording takes place, to create programs that go out to other stations in Montana for broadcast as well as KGLT. He is the production director of "Chrysti the Wordsmith," broadcast nationally. Brodie teaches production in the KGLT apprentice class and provides support and an open door to the on-air DJs.
At Fund Drive, Brodie produces intricate, enjoyable promos for fund raising and works with announcers who have creative ideas to make new Fund Drive and show promos. Listeners request that KGLT resurrect the "golden oldies" every year. Brodie invites announcers, community members and students to record public service announcements for their organizations' and groups' upcoming events. KGLT streams on the internet and has translators in Helena, Livingston, Mammoth Hot Springs and the MSU campus. Thank you, Brodie, for giving KGLT just the right flavor!
Nominated by Ellen King-Rodgers; Received award on November 21, 2012
Agricultural Education, MSU-Bozeman
Melany is an invaluable asset to our division. Her title is administrative assistant,
but she goes far beyond her duties in our division. She is an event planner, student
services adviser, accountant and friend to all she meets! Melany keeps the division
organized, focused and on track while having a smile on her face! Even though she
has been in this division for less than two years, she has created a Facebook page
to communicate with students and alumni, re-designed our division website to be more
organized, is developing our first departmental newsletter, implemented an AGED update,
improved our graduate recruitment and relations, and compiled a program review.
Melany is always taking the initiative to make our division, college and university better and has inspired many creative ideas on how to communicate our goals at all levels. She understands the importance of people and takes the time to talk, encourage, and motivate them to make a difference. Mel avails herself to students, finding information, answering questions and helping them navigate the sometimes confusing paperwork requirements for everything from scholarship acceptance to course scheduling overrides to degree plan submission.
She gives those who initially visit the Division of Agricultural Education a great first impression of our program. Through her willingness to go the extra mile, she not only lightens the load of the faculty and students, but also lightens the atmosphere and the stress level.
Nominated by Shannon Arnold, Carl Igo, and Marty Frick; Received award on November 28, 2012
College of Agriculture, MSU-Bozeman
We would like to nominate Brandi Clark for the Pure Gold Award. Brandi is the HR person
for the College of Agriculture and therefore the "go to" person for any personnel
issues that arise. Brandi knows everything we need to know about payroll issues and
hiring at every level, from faculty to student labor hires. She responds quickly to
our phone calls and emails and is consistently professional, positive, and enthusiastic.
Her attention to detail catches the errors/oversights in our paperwork and epafs before
they move further along in the process. Even though she is not a full time employee,
she makes the effort to assist with any urgent issues that arise on her days off.
As admins for the College of Ag, we truly love having her on our team. Thank you Brandi
for everything you do!
Irene Decker, Merry Paceley, Cheryl Johnson, Susan Cooper, Melany Cheeseman, Tamara Moe, Lorrie Linhart, Tammy Balzer, Cherie Gatzke, Leanne Curry, Deb Harrison, Krisi Steinmetz and Cathy Jamruszka
Nominated by Irene Decker; Received award on September 12, 2012
SUB Facilities, MSU-Bozeman
Imagine trying to plan an event in the SUB without Steve Debates. Wait, never mind.
Don't even try! If you have ever had a meeting, presentation or conference in the
SUB, you've had Steve and his phenomenal staff taking care of your facility needs.
Let's face it, we'd be lost without Steve and his vast knowledge and know-how. As
Custodial Supervisor in the SUB, Steve is a wealth of information, but more than that,
he is the go-to man for making sure events happen and chaos is kept at bay. After
many MSU Fridays and Orientation sessions, this August I had to schedule our largest
and most complex fall Orientation ever. After hours of futilely trying to figure out
how to fit all the students and parents into the SUB, I finally just gave up and realized
that I needed an expert. I tracked down Steve, who spent his time walking through
the SUB and going over all the set up options with me. Over the years, I've learned
that it's pretty darn easy for me to write down a theoretical room set up on paper,
but Steve is the one who actually knows what's up (and has no compunction about letting
me know what will really work in a room). While I might have a grand vision about
how the ballrooms should look, for example, Steve understands the laws of physics
and lets me know what will work and what won't. When you first meet with Steve, he
can come across as a bit of a gruff curmudgeon. But, once you get to know him better,
you know deep inside, he's totally a gruff curmudgeon! Just joking, Steve! I know
he really has a soft marshmallow center and enjoys giving me a hard time, and to his
credit, he always works with my crazy room changeovers (and only teases me when I
do something really dumb on my set up plans). Even if he occasionally has to rein
me in and explain what is feasible and what isn't, I know Steve will always go above
and beyond for my programs and MSU. Thanks Steve for all your hard work with Admissions
and Orientation! We really would be lost without you!
Nominated by Jennifer Dunn; Received award on September 12, 2012
Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology, MSU-Bozeman
Irene has worked as an administrative assistant in the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology
Department for over a decade. She is the first person students, faculty and others
meet on entering our department's office in the Plant Biosciences Building. Her cheerful
"Hello, how can I help you?" is usually followed by immediate results, whatever the
question. Whether it is a student looking for a classroom, a citizen looking for professional
assistance or a professor needing help, Irene usually finds the answer.
Irene helps professors with Powerpoint presentations, classroom materials, publishing needs and complex Xeroxing dilemmas. Our faculty depends on her ITC skills and willingness to help. She sometimes goes to extraordinary measures to solve a problem. Recently she learned new tasks in a graphics program specifically to help a graduate student. If she doesn't know the answer, she will make calls until she finds someone who does. Irene is truly dedicated to keeping the department functioning and goes "above and beyond the call of duty" to keep things running smoothly. In a few words, she is an employee who cares.
Irene also keeps up the departmental website and puts together the departmental newsletter "Plant Science Says" which has grown from a short circular to an exhaustive monthly record of departmental activities. She has the "pulse" of the department and personally gathers information from a variety of sources and people. The newsletter includes information on professional meetings attended by professors and students, profiles of new faculty and staff, information on classes, new grants, publications, awards, seminars and birthdays. She is a real professional when it comes to publishing. One might wonder how she somehow manages to keep faculty contributing articles on a monthly basis-- although she has been called "a force of nature."
Our department would like to thank Irene for all her efforts and for being such a resource for Montana State University!
Nominated by Cathy Cripps; Received award on October 10, 2012
University Studies, MSU-Bozeman
We hear the word "excellence" frequently in academia. It's something we push our students
to achieve and expect of ourselves. In the case of Diane Donnelly, however, she not
only strives for excellence--she embodies it. As a member of the academic advising
team, I have had the pleasure of learning from and working alongside Diane, who dedicates
herself fully to the success of MSU's students through her role as advising director.
Her perseverance, equanimity and commitment combine to make Diane an individual who
has offered unmatched service to the university and its students. For this reason,
she is deserving of a Pure Gold award.
Fundamental to Diane's advising philosophy is student success. At the heart of our advising efforts is consideration of the student's best interests. Furthermore, she is undeterred by challenges and instills in her advising team the know-how and drive necessary to assist students. I don't think it is hyperbole to write that Diane's positive impact on the MSU community is immeasurable. The environment she establishes in the advising office is warm and familial. I have never worked in a more positive and supportive academic setting--I attribute much of this to Diane's spirit and commitment to achieving advising excellence. Although Diane is a seasoned adviser, she approaches each student appointment with excitement. As an adviser-in-training, I observed her approach each student interaction with full engagement and willingness to help.
What is perhaps most impressive about Diane is her expertise. I will never forget the day I participated in the new adviser training and listened as Diane effortlessly offered course descriptions for all of the 100-, 200- and even some 300-level courses on campus! It was IMPRESSIVE! The day Diane retires is the day MSU loses a tremendous leader and committed educator and adviser. It is for her great past and continued contribution that I nominate Diane Donnelly for an award. She is excellence personified.
Nominated by Kathleen de Onis; Received award on August 29, 2012
University Studies, MSU-Bozeman
Emily Edwards brings tremendous enthusiasm and expertise to her roles as academic
adviser and First-Year Seminar director in University College at MSU. I have had the
pleasure of working with Emily this summer as both a colleague and supervisee and
can think of no finer individual worthy of recognition.
As I was learning the ropes of my new academic advising position, I shadowed Emily and was impressed by her commitment to students and knowledge of MSU courses. She is hard working, boasts a positive demeanor, and has a wonderful sense of humor. When meeting with students, Emily practices mindful listening and never acts rushed. She is fully present with every single student who visits her for advising advice.
In addition to her advising responsibilities, Emily is a dynamic director of the First-Year Seminar, which serves hundreds of MSU first-year students each year. Thanks in large part to her leadership, students in the course read four outstanding texts centering on social justice and ethical issues. Students learn to think analytically and explore the process of crafting original arguments both persuasively and ethically. Of the courses I have taught during my experience as an educator, this seminar offers the most worthwhile curriculum for students. The past and present seminar themes of sustainability and the general election reveal how Emily encourages and expects students to engage with issues affecting their well-being and that of their communities. As such, through this seminar, students learn to become contributing, thinking members of the university and Bozeman community.
As a member of the University Studies adjunct faculty and advising staff, I have never worked with a nicer group of individuals. Among the members of this remarkable team, Emily distinguishes herself as a natural and inspirational leader. I urge you to consider her for MSU's Pure Gold award. Certainly her exemplary qualities and contributions merit recognition.
Nominated by Kathleen de Onis; Received award on September 5, 2012
Agricultural Economics and Economics, MSU-Bozeman
We nominate Keri Hayes (publications assistant, Department of Agricultural Economics
and Economics) for the Pure Gold award because she is dedicated to MSU's outreach
mission and has completed many projects that make her truly deserving.
Keri has exceptional Web page design skills. She developed an interactive site (http://www.montana.edu/dyingwithoutawill) that shows how a deceased person's property is distributed when a Montanan dies without a will. Such a site does not exist from any other organization, nation-wide.
Keri's expertise is further demonstrated by her organizational skills for conferences. The Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics hosts an annual Agricultural Outlook Conference each fall. Keri assistance has been critical: arranging conference facilities, food, making travel arrangements for over 20 speakers, organizing participant materials, uploading speaker's presentations to the Web and registering participants. Every task assigned to Keri was done promptly, accurately and professionally.
Keri also used skills to organize workshops in eight locations around the state entitled "Risk and Financial Management Education for Socially-Disadvantaged and Limited-Resource Farmers." Because of the small town locations, many of these arrangements required the use of non-traditional catering and personal arrangements. Nonetheless, every workshop was expertly organized, and problem-free.
All of us value Keri's astonishing work ethic, organizational skills and friendly demeanor with clientele by phone and in person. We know we can count on her to make our materials to be distributed to Montana citizens look professional and attractive.
We encourage the selection committee to honor Keri's continued dedication and commitment to MSU with the Pure Gold award.
Nominated by Marsha Goetting; Received award on September 5, 2012
EJ has been the manager of Environmental Services since January 2011, and is responsible
for management of staff and operations in three distinct sections of Facilities Services:
Grounds & Mechanic Shop, Custodial Services, and Refuse Collection.
The Office of Activities and Engagement (OAE) works with EJ on the annual Rockin' the "M" restoration project. Our office recruits up to 100 students who hike up to the "M" on Baldy Mountain to paint it and make it sparkle the weekend before Homecoming. This event would not happen without EJ. His organization and participation before, during and after is integral to the success of this program. EJ is the definition of "great attitude." He arrived early, organized the supplies at the "M" trailhead and made sure every last student hiked up with a brush or paint can. His enthusiasm for this project is truly contagious! After the students were finished and eating lunch, he gave a dynamic talk about the history of the "M." He got the students invested and excited about being part of this historic landmark and a long-standing MSU tradition.
Not only do we speak highly of him in the OAE, but here is what his co-worker, Kerry Evans said: "His dedication, passion and enthusiasm for his job is contagious! EJ is a true asset not only to Facilities, but to the entire MSU community."
We think you are awesome EJ and we thank you for everything you do to help us all out and with such a can-do attitude!
Nominated by Mandy St. Aubyn; Received award on October 10, 2012
Jim has been at KGLT since 1982, as an MSU student who took the Apprentice Class and
now as Music and Program Director. A musician himself with an MSU degree in Media
and Theatre Arts, his dedication and love of music, as well as being a people person,
Jim "gets" our unique open format alternative live public radio station, its importance
on campus and outreach to community.
Jim is the perfect person to run the Apprentice Class, offered 3 times yearly. Eighty to 100 volunteer announcers are on the schedule, each having taken the nine-week course that includes working on air live with a mentor. Jim takes great care to make the learning experience positive, teaching the apprentice how to structure a show, choose their music, learn FCC regulations, resulting in a confident and knowledgeable DJ who can run a three-hour program. At least 50 percent of KGLT announcers are MSU students. The balance is community members, many of whom attended MSU, MSU faculty and staff.
Jim fills KGLT with music. His relationships with music companies, artists and promoters keep KGLT up to date and receiving music at no cost. The vinyl collection is hand-picked and in constant use with 65,000 cds all managed by Jim.
KGLT's live DJs play their choice of music and Jim works with staff to carefully place programming in the 168 hour per week schedule. Along with the national programs that come to KGLT with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, KGLT has local programming created right here in the studio. Montana Medicine Show is Jim's creation, funded by grants, played on other stations in Montana as well as KGLT. He produces it, with Montana historian Derek Strahn narrating and writing little known facts of Montana history.
KGLT has a growing listener base, due in great measure to Jim's dedication. Students learn public speaking; learn about music and community service. KGLT is heard and supported in Bozeman, Livingston, Helena, Mammoth Hot Springs and streams at www.kglt.net.
Nominated by Ellen King-Rodgers; Received award on September 26, 2012
Ecology Department, MSU-Bozeman
The entire staff and faculty of the ecology department would like to nominate Joan
Macdonald for recognition as "Pure Gold." Due to the large number of students serviced
by our department, as well as our research activities, there is a constant flow of
money into the department from base budgets to grants that go right back out the door
in a mind-boggling number of expenditures ranging from minor purchases at local stores,
to routine orders for teaching and office supplies, to large and complicated contracts
- many for research expenditures in distant, and logistically difficult, international
locations. The ability to efficiently and effectively manage this flow of money is
fundamental to the success of the department, individual faculty, and our students
and we could not be more fortunate to have Joan as our department accountant.
She has a can-do attitude and smile for everyone who approaches her desk with a question, task or problem. Her knowledge of the myriad of guidelines, rules, regulations and procedures for managing money in a complex and large organization like MSU is extensive, and on the rare occasion she doesn't know the answer, she always knows the right person to call to find out. It's also not uncommon to find Joan working after business hours when the demands for her skills and services simply outpace what can be accomplished during the normal work day.
When things are running smoothly, they do so because exceptional people are doing their job day in and day out. Joan is an outstanding professional who contributes immeasurably to the success of each one of us and our department, and we would like to thank her for all she does for our staff, faculty and students.
Nominated by Bob Garrott; Received award on November 14, 2012
Disabilities, MSU-Great Falls
I want to nominate Kathy Meier for Pure Gold because she helps students with special
needs. She does the best to keep disabled students happy and also help with their
needs. I feel extremely happy with all she did for me when I was a student in Great
Falls. I don't know how to thank her other than to say, "I appreciate immensely all
she did for me, going beyond her duties to make sure I was safe with all my needs
on campus." Thank you Kathy, from all disabled students you have helped. You are the
most caritative (helpful) instructor I have ever had.
Nominated by Jaime Henriquez; Received award on December 5, 2012
Animal & Range Sciences, MSU-Bozeman
Dr. Moreaux's strength as an educator lies in his ability to efficiently and effectively
disseminate complex information in an exciting and engaging way. By the end of his
course, you realize that he has not only enabled you to achieve success in the classroom
in terms of the pertinent course materials, but that you have achieved even more in
your education and growth as a student than you would have previously thought possible.
Dr. Moreaux has gone above and beyond during his tenure at MSU. He helped to develop the Equine Science option in the Department of Animal and Range Science. Since then, he has spearheaded its success and nurtured the discipline to become one of the highest student credit hour programs in the College of Agriculture.
Perhaps most impressive is Dr. Moreaux's dedication to all of his students. We come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and he takes the time to get to know each of as individuals to help ensure we are learning to the fullest potential. He takes his teaching responsibilities seriously and his dedication to his students is inspiring to all of us who are fortunate enough to have him in our classrooms.
Nominated by Mindy Brown; Received award on November 14, 2012
Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, MSU-Bozeman
It is my honor to nominate Deborah Nash for the Pure Gold award. Deborah has been
a part of MMEC and MSU since 2000. During that time she has been the detail oriented,
driving force for coordinating the center's training events, messaging, communications,
and relationships at the local, state and national levels. From Libby to Broadus,
Plentywood to Darby, and everywhere in between, she develops our training collateral,
communicates dates and times with clients, as well as staff, organizes meeting spaces,
and catering and makes sure our clients receive the highest quality services. Deborah
also is responsible for developing the center's communication messaging for the director
and staff as we interact with clients, partners and stakeholders across the country.
These duties entail writing quarterly success stories for our national partner, the
National Institute of Standards and Technology, which detail the success of Montana
manufacturers, managing and delivering seven newsletters annually, two paper copies
and five electronic copies, and responding to requests from multiple stakeholders.
Deborah also produces the largest training conference in Montana for manufacturers and their peers and allies. This biennial event, Compete Smart, was held this past week in Missoula with more than 250 participants who enjoyed local plant tours, national speakers on topics relevant to manufacturing, 26 breakout sessions, a 100 feet long wall of Montana manufactured products, and outstanding networking opportunities to build awareness and camaraderie in the industry across the state. This event requires incredible coordination of resources located around the state, and the hours required are herculean. To quote one attendee, Fred Miller of the Montana Safety and Health Bureau, "Deborah: Wow! Thanks for the opportunity to attend the 2012 Compete Smart conference - it was impressive! My only regret is that I have to wait two years to attend the next event!"
Nominated by Bryant Higgs; Received award on November 21, 2012
Transitioning from a department head position to an acting dean position is a challenging
task. Making this transition while also facing the task of filling several vacant
positions increases the challenge. When one can do this with the support of an outstanding
staff member such as Kathy Osen, these challenges become manageable.
I have worked with Kathy for many years and knew that we would work well together. What I did not know was how critical her support would be to my success as an acting dean and to the success of the College of Engineering. Kathy has been extraordinary in her devotion to her job and to MSU. She is proactive in identifying problems and crafting potential solutions to these problems before they become overwhelming. She's got my back and on many occasions has provided critical support to an acting dean as I manage the demands of a very busy schedule.
All that being said, what inspires me most about Kathy is her unwavering positive attitude. It is very difficult to catch her without a smile on her face or without enthusiasm in her voice. Thank you, Kathy Osen, for all you do for the university, the College of Engineering and most of all for your support of its acting dean.
Nominated by Brett Gunnink; Received award on December 5, 2012
Positive, solution oriented and great with people of all ages, we nominate Dan Picard
for the MSU Pure Gold Award. Dan received his education at MSU, has worked 17 years
for MSU Extension in several counties as an agriculture and 4-H Extension agent. He
works closely with producers, is on the advisory board of the Western Triangle Agriculture
Research Center, and also has a farm.
Dan is a valued resource in the Golden Triangle and willingly shares his knowledge with neighboring counties. Due to several agriculture agent vacancies in the region, Dan responds to calls in a 150 mile radius. Dan willingly assists agents in neighboring counties, as he fills the gaps during these vacancies. He responds to requests while serving on search committees, mentoring new ag agents and completing his regular work load.
He is well respected by his peer agents and throughout MSU Extension. His clientele hold him in high regard as Dan makes many field, yard/garden visits, identifies issues and suggests solutions. He works regularly with MSU specialists. MSU Beef Specialist Rachel Endecott said, "Dan is one of the most responsive county agents in the state. He works very hard to provide answers to his clientele, and I enjoy hearing from him. Extension Horticulture Specialist Toby Day agrees, "He asks very thoughtful questions and always works to improve his knowledge about how to best carry out his Extension work in his community." Dan facilitates seminars and takes the lead on critical issues in the region.
We are fortunate to have Dan's wisdom, reliability, and positive attitude at work for MSU Extension. Dan Picard fully represents the Montana State University and the MSU Extension mission of outreach education and is most deserving of being recognized as Pure Gold.
Nominated by Wendy Wedum; Received award on October 31, 2012
Family & Graduate Housing, MSU-Bozeman
I'm honored to have this opportunity to nominate Jason Platt for MSU Pure Gold.
Jason has been a part of the Family and Graduate Housing team for the past five years, most recently, as an administrative associate in our front office. Jason has always been a loyal employee, dedicated to the mission and goals of FGH and MSU.
Recently, due to position vacancy, Jason was put into the position of managing the front office operations of Family and Graduate Housing. As well, due to an extended leave of another colleague, Jason has had those duties put upon him as well. He has handled this situation not only with success, but with a very positive attitude.
As well, Jason has worked to select and train an outstanding student staff for our front office. He's also worked to streamline office procedures and find solutions that help our office function even more efficiently.
Jason's hard work and dedication do not go without notice. He is highly committed to the success of Family and Graduate Housing, Auxiliary Services, and Montana State University. He's a true team player, and for all the reasons mentioned above and more, he deserves recognition for being Pure Gold.
Nominated by Chancey Ringer; Received award on December 5, 2012
School of Film and Photography, MSU-Bozeman
The entire faculty of the School of Film and Photography would like to nominate Tony
Purpura for recognition as "Pure Gold." Tony is the technology coordinator in the
School of Film and Photography, which means he is responsible for every camera, lens,
microphone, computer, tripod and light used by our students and faculty. The sheer
volume of equipment going in and out of our school makes our facility one of the largest
film and photography "rental" houses in the West. Tony supervises a staff of 30 students
and two colleagues. Together they make sure we have the tools we need to teach our
classes and that students have the gear they need to produce their work. Tony's job
requires a level of skill, dedication and knowledge well beyond the job description.
Without his tireless efforts the day-to-day activities of student film projects, course
work, and teaching would come to a screeching halt! As a faculty, we want to take
this time to shine a spotlight on the work he does and to recognize how valuable he
is to our students, faculty, and staff.
Nominated by the faculty of the School of Film and Photography; Received award on October 3, 2012
College of Nursing, Great Falls Campus, MSU-Bozeman
It is our pleasure to nominate Susan Raph, of The College of Nursing, for the Pure
Gold Award. Sue Raph is Bobcat to the core, and blue and gold literally runs through
her veins. Also an MSU alumna, she currently serves as the campus director of the
college's Great Falls campus. She recently generously agreed to also take on interim
campus director duties of the Missoula campus. Despite that she carries out her duties
200 miles from the main Bozeman campus, she is an unwavering ambassador for MSU and
More importantly, it is a pleasure and a blessing to work on the Great Falls Campus, where Sue Raph has created an environment that one reads about in textbooks. She is a calm presence and a gentle soul. Sue's true gift is her ability to bring people together in pursuit of a common goal. Her mantra is "We work and play well together." Toward that end, a main priority of her leadership is to develop our department into a truly cohesive group of people whose collective strengths are greater than any individual strength. She successfully finds a way to value the contributions of everyone while giving them autonomy. She is a visionary leader who inspires us to think and work creatively.
Sue epitomizes leadership. Sue has the innate ability to identify local needs, whether they are on our campus or in the community. She is able to engage the faculty, staff, and students to collectively problem solve, mobilize resources, and put plans into action. She also has a clear vision for our campus and consistently makes decisions that position us for ongoing success in the future. The consummate professional, her ability to forge strong partnerships positively impacts our campus, our community, and our university.
Sue Raph genuinely cares about her colleagues, the students, and the mission of both the college and the university. On a daily basis, we witness her going the extra mile on our behalf and know without a doubt that she is a deserving recipient.
Nominated by Elizabeth Witt; Received award on November 7, 2012
Alumni Foundation, MSU-Bozeman
Since I came to MSU nearly two years ago, there is one person who continually comes
through when I need help in multiple aspects of my position. And not only does Alberta
Rivera come through for me, she does it with compassion and conviction for the betterment
of MSU. I work for the Alumni Foundation and am liaison to one of the college's on
campus. It can be a challenge to wear a lot of hats, so I ask a lot of questions.
Thanks to Alberta's extensive institutional knowledge, she has proven to be an invaluable
resource to myself and others. I won't say how many years she has been here because
my Grandma used to say, "Age is nothing but a number and mine is unlisted," but it
has been multiple decades. Alberta genuinely cares about those she works with at the
Alumni Foundation, those on campus and our wonderful alumni and friends who support
the university. Additionally, she commutes from 50 miles away, daily. I am constantly
amazed by how many alumni not only know Alberta but have wonderful things to say about
her. Alberta has been instrumental to my time at MSU and I want to thank her with
a Pure Gold nomination!
Nominated by Darin Paine; Received award on October 3, 2012
This is a nomination of Jason Rosen as Pure Gold! Jason is an amazing programmer in
ITC who maintains the multifaceted program used to collect data from the Math Learning
Center as well as keep records for our self-paced, mastery learning program. Jason
is one of the most compassionate, dedicated and easy going people I have ever worked
with... and he's brilliant! Jason epitomizes the meaning of servant. He has a positive
attitude with a "we can do that" point of view. No matter what question I ask him,
he comes up with options for how to accomplish the task.
Unfortunately I have inadvertently created problems for Jason, but even when problems are human caused Jason is gracious and never places blame. Jason takes his job above and beyond obligation. When he's not responsible for "fixing" things, he's still helpful in debugging the problem and making contacts with people who can help.
Jason is very quick to respond to the inevitable crises that occur, and even then he is pleasant, professional and a calming influence. Jason realizes he speaks a unique language (computer), but he translates very well! His service, dedication and positive attitude make him a streak of Pure Gold on this campus.
Nominated by Sandy Bowers; Received award on November 28, 2012
Financial, MSU-Great Falls
On behalf of the student veterans at Great Falls College, MSU, we would like to recognize
Julie Rummel as "Pure Gold." Julie works in the financial aid office at GFC as a financial
aid specialist and veteran's coordinator. In this role, she serves as the certifying
official for veteran education benefits. Over the past eight years, Julie has managed
this task with a deep knowledge of ever changing regulations and provides timely and
accurate service to a growing population of veteran students on our campus. This,
however, is not the reason for this nomination. Our gratitude for Julie is because
she goes over and above her job duties to make our veteran students feel appreciated
Over the years, Julie has steadily improved the service to veterans on campus by developing various materials and tools to better explain the opportunities for vets on campus. She was instrumental in the development of our veteran's welcome room, has been actively involved in veteran's events in the community, and has been invited to serve on panels and state wide discussion groups with our U.S. senators regarding VA education benefits. She leads a committee to truly celebrate Veteran's Day on our campus each year. Surrounding the observance, our veteran students, faculty and staff are honored with a hospitality room providing lunch and snacks, the campus is decorated beautifully, and there are opportunities for those on campus to express their gratitude to our vets and active military.
Julie is respected on campus and in much broader circles for her knowledge and commitment to this special group of students. We know that the veteran students at GFC appreciate Julie's caring attitude. As one student grabbed a bowl of chili the other day from the hospitality room, he stopped to say thank you to Julie. Julie turned it around by saying, "No, this is all about thanking and honoring YOU." The student replied, "I do feel honored. This is one of the best days of my life."
Nominated by Mary Kay Bonilla; Received award on November 28, 2012
Counseling and Psychological Services, MSU-Bozeman
Melissa Schaak is deserving of the Pure Gold nomination for several reasons. Not only
is she a model MSU employee, but she is one of the most enthusiastic Bobcat supporters
that I have ever known. Melissa is the office manager for Counseling and Psychological
Services. This position involves a great deal of responsibility including organizing
appointments in a very busy office, providing positive customer service and managing
a large statistical database. Melissa's attitude in approaching this demanding position
is particularly notable. She is consistently calm, courteous and professional to all
students, parents, faculty and staff. Her sensitivity to student needs is touching.
When students come to CPS in crisis, they are often overwhelmed and emotionally distraught.
Melissa is amazingly intuitive and astute in her ability to determine how to best
help clients. She always makes them her top priority, and while helping them get the
assistance they need, she conveys a sense of warmth, compassion and genuine concern
to them. Furthermore, in the absence of colleagues, Melissa graciously steps in and
adds to her already extensive workload - all with a positive attitude.
When Melissa interviewed for her current position, she said that she attended MSU as an undergraduate and loved MSU so much that the thought of returning as an employee was a strong aspiration for her. Melissa is an avid Bobcat fan and frequently makes this known to everyone in the office and beyond. It is not uncommon for Melissa to return from the Bookstore with more Bobcat paraphernalia - hence the Bobcat sunglasses in the picture!!!
Melissa truly epitomizes Pure Gold in every way! She is the kind of employee you want representing MSU - inside and outside of the office.
Nominated by Cheryl Blank; Received award on November 7, 2012
College of Engineering, MSU-Bozeman
Members of the Assistant/Associate Deans council nominate Heidi Sherick for a Pure
As assistant dean in the College of Engineering, Heidi Sherick lives and breathes student success. Heidi is leaving MSU soon to finish her Ph.D., and her position will be filled, but Heidi is irreplaceable. Heidi spends more hours than seems physically possible helping students, gives sage advice about success in the classroom and in life, cheerfully volunteers for every student-centered event, maintains a laser-like focus on recruiting and retaining students from under-represented groups, uses her strong voice to champion the quietest students, and serves on countless -- and usually thankless -- ad hoc task forces to improve students' MSU experiences. Heidi has been here a long time, but she thoughtfully questions how and why "we've always done it that way," always respecting the people and history that brought us here while moving us forward to new successes.
In addition to Heidi's professional contributions, she is just plain fun to be with -- hilarious, self-effacing, incisive, keenly intelligent. We look forward to even routine meetings if Heidi will be there. She brings infectious joy, enthusiasm, and commitment to work each day. We will miss her!
Nominated by Chris Fastnow; Received award on October 31, 2012
Dean's office, College of Engineering, MSU-Bozeman
It is my pleasure to nominate Heidi Sherick for a pure gold award from Montana State
University. She will be leaving MSU-Bozeman at the end of October after 15 years of
dedicated service to the institution and its students. I am not sure anyone embodies
MSU's gold essence quite like Heidi Sherick. She inspires others with her natural
ability to mentor students and train future leaders. Her most compelling advice guides
students to "lift as they climb" and she is often heard saying she is trying to "set
students up for success." Sherick defines what I believe to be the "Bobcat Spirit."
I have actually seen her bleed blue and gold in an incident involving an over-exerted
cowbell at an MSU football game.
Sherick's accomplishments at MSU are many, but I believe her gold qualities are exhibited best in her exemplary service for those students underrepresented in the fields of engineering and computer science. Under Sherick's leadership, the number of women who study engineering at MSU increased to 15 percent of the total enrollment. MSU has ranked in the top ten universities in the nation graduating Native American students in engineering under Sherick's tenure as Director of the Engineering Minority Program (EMPower.) Sherick has been responsible for bringing in over $1 million dollars to the COE in federal and foundation grants to recruit, retain and graduate underrepresented students. Sherick has also provided the leadership necessary to bring cultural change to the COE to be welcoming and inviting to all aspiring engineers. As Sherick moves on and pursues her personal and professional goals, MSU will always remain a part of what makes her gold. MSU, in turn, will always shine a little brighter because Sherick shared a little of her gold essence with the institution. Thank you Heidi Sherick, for sharing your leadership, humor and gold spirit with us; MSU and I will always be grateful.
Nominated by Sheree Watson; Received award on October 31, 2012
University Business Services, MSU-Bozeman
Every day, Tracy goes above and beyond her official job duties. To hear her say "How
can I help?" is not uncommon, even if that means stepping out of her normal job duties.
When called upon for assistance, she will most often say "I will just run over" and
before we know, it she is there in person to help. We all know she is just a phone
Tracy works tirelessly to format and proof MSU's consolidated financial statements. She has learned a new software system to accomplish this and works diligently to ensure accuracy and quality of the statements. Tracy has also developed a program to account for the university's debt, which has saved us an immeasurable amount of time for our monthly account reconciliations and fiscal year-end processes. She writes reports and develops schedules that are used in the preparation of MSU's consolidated financial statements, supporting reconciliations for these financial statements, year-end processes, several federal and other external reporting requirements and numerous audit requirements. She not only tests the programs she develops and double checks the reports, but also creates instruction manuals for internal and department personnel, and has provided in-person assistance wherever and whenever needed.
Tracy is always eager to solve problems and constantly looks for better and more efficient ways to do business. She is very knowledgeable with UBS processes, deadlines and project priorities and works timely and efficiently to ensure that we have the information, data and reports we need to complete our projects and do our jobs effectively. She does this on top of managing a very active family life.
Tracy's accuracy, knowledge, positive attitude and work ethic are exemplary. She does not ask for credit, but she sure deserves it. This is why we believe Tracy Simonson is Pure Gold!
Nominated by Loreen Phillips and Lynne Hendrickson; Received award on October 24, 2012
In recent years, MSU Extension has placed an increased emphasis on using technology
to provide distance education. Jay Van Voast is an IT specialist for MSU Extension.
One of Jay's responsibilities is ensuring the AdobeConnect webinar platform is working
and ready for Extension educators. The constant array of software updates requires
Jay to not only update and reconfigure servers but also keep the hundreds of AdobeConnect
users informed of necessary updates.
The updates often come at inconvenient times. A few weeks ago (just one day prior to launching the Solid Finances series), a software update required a major reconfiguration of the servers supporting the system. With over 100 participants registered for the series, I called Jay and he simply said, "I am working on it. Don't worry." I received an email very late that evening that the system was up and running. Jay followed that up with a phone call at 8:00, informing me of the changes related to the upgrades. At noon, over 100 participants had no idea how much effort Jay had put in to make that event possible. Jay's effort is really above and beyond his job description.
Nominated by Joel Schumacher; Received award on October 17, 2012
eLearning, MSU-Great Falls
Karen Vosen is an outstanding eLearning staff professional, mostly by just being who
she is. Her dedication to people, especially students and fellow staff members, is
exceptional. Above all, her devotion to helping and encouraging others, with her supportive
and caring attitude, demonstrates true leadership.
When Karen is at her desk, there is a unique atmosphere conducive to enjoying being in college around productive, energetic individuals. The D2L education program requires that sometimes students need extra help. She understands the importance of this fundamental task, making this an area where her efforts really shine. The approach she uses naturally brings out the good in people. In other words, she is a terrific person, highly regarded and appreciated. This is a prime example of why the general learning environment on the MSU-Great Falls campus is always very positive.
The nominations which have been selected for "Pure Gold" awards have been appearing in our student email for a while now. Recently it occurred to several current college students that we have many qualified candidates right here, and one in particular was obvious to everyone. We all agree and share the same enthusiasm, so we are submitting this entry because Karen definitely deserves recognition!
Nominated by Bryan Hicks and Mary Serrato; Received award on September 19, 2012