Fall 2021 Pure Gold Recipients
Due to the passing of a co-worker, I have been working in two offices to make sure the Business Administration Department and students are still receiving assistance. Cheri Johannes, Heather Eggum, Merry Ann Peters, Jaki Penninger, Karen Mikelson, Tiffiny Schlabs, Lacey Reede-Hahne and Janice Ouldhouse in the MSUB Registrar's Office have gone above and beyond helping me with the various tasks
They have all done it with sensitivity and patience while I navigate these tasks with little experience. They have taken time from their days to call and check in with me and have shown the true meaning of Pure Gold. Their compassion towards our students and myself has sincerely kept me going through hard times.
Nominated by Morgan Prevost; Award recieved December 1, 2021.
Tom Dell is an associate professor at MSU Billings in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Services. He returned to his alma mater to complete an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1986 and then entered the vocational rehabilitation counseling field and has served individuals with disabilities for over 20 years.
He developed and provided mobile vocational evaluation and testing services with Montana Vocational Rehabilitation. He became the first Certified Vocational Evaluator in the state of Montana, and to meet the needs of vocational evaluation services not only in Billings, he traveled to the VR offices in Eastern Montana, Great Falls and Bozeman.
Tom was the former co-owner of Yellowstone Rehabilitation Associates and as a business partner and colleague in the field of rehabilitation, Tom gave his whole heart to our profession and to every one of the clients he served in the field. He touched so many lives and made a difference.
Because of Tom's desire to return to higher ed and to fulfill his love of teaching, he obtained his doctorate degree in Education from MSU Bozeman while teaching courses in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Services. With his knowledge in the field, not only in rehabilitation, he saw a growing need in the mental health field for licensed addiction counselors. He worked with the state Licensing Bureau for Counselors and developed the curriculum and program of study for an Associate Degree in Rehabilitation and Related Services paving the way to meet the demand in the Billings community for Lacs. A colleague in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Services notes that "Tom quietly puts students first and goes above and beyond to help. He has a strong work ethic with the ability to bring his 20 years of work experiences in the field of rehabilitation to the classroom with passion and a great sense of humor."
Tom is a great family man with a wonderful wife, two successful adult children and the joy of a grandson. For these and many other reasons Tom is Pure Gold!
Nominated by Juanita Hooper; Award received November 17, 2021.
Rick Hainsworth in Facilities truly is PURE GOLD! He displays the Bobcat spirit of helping others with a smile and a positive attitude and is a pleasure to work with. He completes his work in a timely and professional manner, making sure that the job is finished before moving to the next task. He is prompt, communicative, and does a great job!
He recently assisted me with a project in my office, and he checked in with me the day before he was scheduled to start to arrange a time that was convenient for me. While he worked on the project, he was respectful of my space and cleaned up any mess the project generated. He communicated with me his expected timeline and returned the next day to complete the work. He even came back later that afternoon to make sure I was happy with the outcome and to ask if he could do anything else.
I'm so appreciative of everything the Facilities Department does to keep us running smoothly. Rick is fun to talk to, friendly, and professional!
Nominated by Sally Moyce; Award received November 10, 2021.
Rob Higgs has put in so much time and effort amid these difficult times to make sure we have Bobcat athletic teams, that we all love, to root for. Without Rob's effort and guidance, we would not have anything resembling a season for any sport. All the requirements that needed to be met for the safety of our student athletes and staff were accomplished with a great deal of effort on Rob's part.
We all love our Bobcat athletic teams, and in these times, we need something to bring us together instead of pushing us apart. Athletics is one way to do that. A lot of people have had a hand in making that happen, but Rob has had as big a part as anyone and does not get the recognition that he deserves. He has inspired those around him to meet the challenges that we all have faced due to the pandemic.
Nominated by Justin Halvorson; Award received November 3, 2021.
I would like to recognize Kay Lawhonfor her consistent support of myprogram of researchto better understand and provide nursing care for Montana's Veterans.
Over the past 18 months, Kay has made herself available and supported the research using her vast skill set. For example, she has worked on the Psych Sim project to educate nurses to care for Veterans experiencing PTSD with suicidal ideation. In this role, she has facilitated filming of student care experienceandbehind the scenes she helps to coordinate and manage the flow of the educational intervention.ANDshe manages the "background sound" during the simulation to enhance reality for the learner.
Kay and I will be recruiting and collecting data fromveterans attendingthe Vets for Vets Stand Down events across north Central Montana. Her assistance with managing the incentive with a potential Veteran presence of over 1200 is critical (i.e., I don't know that I could manage all the steps required alone in a timely manner).
Today, especially during busy times of the year, people are often hesitant to take on "added work". Kay is always (ALWAYS) willing to lend a hand. Although this acknowledgement reflects her work with me directly, her dedication and commitment truly serve the university at large. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Nominated by Angela Jukkala; Award received October 27, 2021.
Andi teaches horsemanship classes at MSU. At a glance, you would think that is all there is to it. However, I have witnessed and experienced many moments where she goes way beyond what is expected of any instructor. She is first to help anyone who is scared, hurt or sick. She cares so much about every student that comes to her and is phenomenal at building positive lasting relationships with them.
She not only cares about the students she teaches but the community as well. She is an integral part of helping Windhorse Equine Learning with the camps and classes they hold for children of the surrounding area. She supports 4H, helps with fundraising activities and is very generous with her time that she donates to the community. Andi truly makes a difference in the lives of so many people every year.
Over the years, Andi has cared for and loved all the horses that come to MSU. She knows each quirk they have and all parts of their personalities. She is very skilled in helping pair people with horses for classes and camps.
Andi is truly one of the most kind, honest and invested instructors I have ever had. She is a true inspiration to so many.
Nominated by Danielle Brown; Award received October 20, 2021.
Marni Rolston exemplifies the spirit of the Pure Gold Award! She is the Program Manager for the Professional M.S. program in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. She began serving in this role in 2018 and has made a tremendous impact in a relatively short time frame.
Thanks to Marni's incredible responsiveness and guidance to students, enrollment has rapidly doubled in size to nearly 100 students from across the United States. Marni is the first line of contact for both prospective and current students in the program, and her positive, "can-do" disposition deserves recognition for the program's growth. Students in the program routinely comment on Marni's effectiveness and helpful attitude as one of the overall strengths of the program.
For example, 2020 graduate, Erin Monty, commented that "Marni was vital to my success of completing my master's degree. She always provided information and encouragement when I needed it in a timely and supportive way with genuine enthusiasm. The program is extremely lucky to have her." Kyla Gupta, another 2020 graduate, commented that "As a former student, I quickly learned that I could depend on Ms. Rolston's help for any issues that came up, which greatly contributed to my personal success in the program."
Beyond her excellent people skills, Marni is highly organized and keeps track of the innumerable organizational tasks required by her position. Her talents and expertise are incredible assets to our students and to Montana State University, making her very deserving of the Pure Gold Award.
Nominated by Scott Powell, Bob Peterson and Tracy Sterling; Award received on October 13, 2021.
Throughout the busiest summer the Museum of the Rockies has ever had, Dan Good has been at the literal forefront, leading the way. Dan is the front desk manager and faced incredibly challenging circumstances: record attendance, short staffing, limited and closed exhibit spaces and a higher-than-normal amount of upset visitors. Through it all, he's led his front desk, store and planetarium staff with excellent customer service and earned an incredible amount of trust, respect and admiration among staff, visitors and volunteers.
The outstanding professional skill, leadership and ceaseless efforts of Dan resulted in major contributions to the effectiveness and success of the institution during the summer of 2021. Dan's extraordinary efforts reflect highly upon himself, the Museum of the Rockies and Montana State University. He is Pure Gold.
Nominated by Dillon Warn; Award received October 6, 2021.
Compassionate, kind, and patient, Ryan exudes a warm and welcoming persona and is invested in every student, parent, and faculty member he speaks with. Ryan goes the extra mile to assist students and deliver efficient and prompt service even if it means staying after hours to ensure students are taken care of.
Intentional and conscientious in all his interactions, Ryan is a fantastic colleague who genuinely cares about people. With his relational and caring personality, excellent sense of humor and coffee-making skills, he is an integral staff member of the Registrar’s Office, cultivating a work-culture for which we are all thankful.
Nominated by Jessica Thiele; Award received September 29, 2021.
Debbie McCray is the Program Coordinator for the undergraduate program in the College of Nursing. She receives and processes all applications for our traditional and accelerated nursing programs, which is an astounding amount of work. She is in constant contact with the hopeful nursing students, answering questions about their applications and the requirements for application. She also works closely with the Registrar's Office and Admissions. She is irreplaceable to our college.
Debbie has worked for the College of Nursing for 20 years and is the office and student "go to" for most of our questions. Debbie truly loves to work with the students and is always patient and kind to them. The students are what keeps her going sometimes!
Debbie is honestly Pure Gold to students, applicants, nursing and several offices on campus.
Nominated by Toni Rule; Award received on Spetember 22, 2021.
It is an honor to nominate Jeff Bondy for the Pure Gold award. In his role as the Director of Housing, Jeff has always excelled and gone "above and beyond" to serve our students in our residence halls and student apartments.
However, starting on March 13, 2020, Jeff stepped up to the plate in an extraordinary way. He mobilized and inspired his staff to pack up students' belongings and mail much needed textbooks and computers to students near and far, as we transitioned to online instruction necessitated by the pandemic.
Then came the fall of 2020. Still with no vaccine, Jeff led his staff to implement every safety measure imaginable to ensure the safety of our students and staff in our residence halls. He secured quarantine and isolation space for our students and arranged to have meals delivered to them during the 10-day quarantine period. This was a Herculean effort by Jeff and his team.
I am not sure that Jeff ever slept between March 2020 and May 2021. But history will judge this son of Fort Peck Montana, as a person who served our university community and the students entrusted to him, with honor and devotion. Thank you, Jeff.
Nominated by Ilse-Mari Lee; Award received on September 15, 2021.
Erika Matsuda has been the Membership and Events Manager at Montana PBS for 6 years. Her tireless work consistently goes above and beyond in serving our members and helps provide the people of Montana with public television. Erika is instrumental in the continued success of Montana PBS and has an immediate impact on the quality of public media in our great state. The growth of sustaining donations to Montana PBS can be attributed directly to Erika’s care. Her contributions have also been vital in collaborating with other organizations for joint events.
Nominated by Markie DeRudder; Award received on September 8, 2021.
Gini Mohr is a truly exceptional friend, colleague, and mentor to so many. She generously gives of her time and expertise regardless of how full her Outlook calendar may be on a given day. Also, she goes to great lengths to consider everyone’s input before making a decision and is always willing to lend a helping hand to her teammates.
Gini’s selfless nature and contributions to the campus have been exemplified through her involvement in helping draft, edit and finalize countless nominations for colleagues—many of which have gone on to receive department and campus recognition. She would far prefer shining the recognition on others than herself making her that much more deserving of Pure Gold.
With tremendous poise, intentionality, and conviction, Gini has positively influenced 1000+ pre-service teachers in their time at MSU both while observing in the schools and in the considerable behind-the-scenes work she has invested into our department’s signature projects and assessments. Despite the high number of students she has worked with, Gini has an inherent ability to personalize each interaction helping to ensure each pre-service teacher feels heard and valued.
Gini is a consummate professional who always keeps the best interests of our pre-service teachers at mind and in heart. As one of her colleagues remarked, “In thinking about what makes Gini Pure Gold, her eagerness to improve our systems because of her dedication to what is best for our students stands out. That and the fact that she laughs whenever I say something intended to be funny.” Our department, college and campus are that much better because of Gini Mohr.
Nominated by Joe Hicks; Award received September 1, 2021