34 BLUFFTON FACULTY, STAFF HONORED FOR SERVICE
Bluffton University honored 34 faculty and staff members for their years of service at the university’s annual recognition dinner on Jan. 22. The honorees have been at Bluffton for five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years.
The longest-serving staff member recognized at the dinner was Dr. Sally Weaver Sommer, vice president and dean of academic affairs, who began her 25-year Bluffton career as a faculty member in economics before moving into administration. Honored for 20 years of service were Dr. Randy Keeler, associate professor of religion; Sara Kisseberth, web communication manager; Dr. Adam Schattschneider, professor of music; Jacqui Slinger, director of academic development and disability services; and Tom Truman, university bookstore manager.
Weaver Sommer, a 1974 Bluffton alumna, returned as a faculty member in economics, reaching the rank of professor. She then served as registrar, associate academic dean and—three times—as interim academic dean before her appointment to her current position in 2007. "That wide range of experience, combined with her upbringing in the community within a faculty family, and her own time as a Bluffton student and graduate, provide Sally a deep understanding of Bluffton’s context and unique educational mission," university President Dr. James Harder said.
Also a Bluffton graduate, in 1980, Keeler came back in 1991 as campus pastor and a part-time instructor in youth ministry. Since then, "he has fully fleshed out the role of youth minister in a manner that has rendered remarkable service to both Bluffton University and the Mennonite Church," said Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history. On campus, he became a faculty member in the history and religion department in 2003 and department chair last year, all the while mentoring "generations of Bluffton students as an informal advisor, trusted counselor and pastor," Bush added.
Kisseberth, a 1986 alumna, also returned to her alma mater in 1991 as an assistant
in what was then named the communications office. Her subsequent roles have included alumni magazine editor, advertising manager, graphic designer, yearbook advisor, writer, photographer and production manager. She assumed management of the Bluffton website in 1998 and became the alumni social media voice for the university in 2009. "But Sara’s most generous gift to Bluffton is her connection with the students who work for her," noted Robin Bowlus, public relations director, describing her as a mentor, teacher, mom and friend to them.
Director of the Bluffton Artist Series and the university’s Jazz Ensemble, Schattschneider was cited for his musical and educational versatility and ability by Dr. Lucia Unrau, also a professor of music and music department chair. "In a world where musicians specialize on a single instrument, Adam is fluent in three: flute, clarinet and saxophone," she pointed out, calling his command of each "evident in the popular CD recordings he has made and from his numerous performances" on and off campus. "Adam is a master teacher on all three instruments and is deeply committed to the growth and excellence of his students."
Slinger is "hardworking and caring, and always ready to ‘go the extra mile’" to help students meet their goals, Weaver Sommer said. The most striking example, she noted, may have been Slinger’s "unwavering support" of the baseball players who survived the March 2007 bus accident. "Jacqui’s natural ability to work with, and deep concern for, student-athletes has had a lasting impact on the institution," she said. As disability services director, Slinger has also studied the nature of disabilities and the university’s responsibilities in working with disabled students, whom she has served "with expertise and concern," the dean added.
Initially hired as assistant bookstore manager in April 1992, Truman began his tenure as manager later that same year. "There has been significant change in the college bookstore industry during those 20 years, and Tom has worked to provide continuity and stability," said Mark Bourassa, director of Marbeck Center, where the bookstore is housed.
Other faculty and staff recognized at the Jan. 22 dinner were:
For 15 years of service, Debra Schroeder, data processing coordinator/database administrator, admissions office; Dr. Daniel Berger, professor of chemistry; Dr. Stephen Harnish, professor of mathematics; Dr. Gerald Mast, professor of communication; Dr. Angela Montel, professor of biology; Dr. Lamar Nisly, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of English; Dr. Lynda Nyce, professor of sociology; Dr. Gayle Trollinger, professor of education; and Del Gratz, assistant registrar.
For 10 years, Jill Burkholder, administrative assistant, buildings and grounds; Rebecca Cox, administrative assistant, adult and graduate education; Jayne Benroth, advancement services manager; Dr. James Harder, president; Dr. Karen Klassen Harder, professor of business and economics; Mary Jean Johnson, Musselman Library director; Vicki Kirkendall, gift specialist, development office; and Dr. George Metz, professor of education.
For five years, Mark Bias, custodian, Marbeck Center; Mustaq Ahmed, director, buildings and grounds; Dana Staley, custodial staff associate; Raymond Karcher, technology coordinator/specialist; Heather Bruder, assistant professor of sport management and head softball coach; Dr. Sarah Cecire, professor of education; Stephen "Tig" Intagliata, campus pastor; Tyler Schlosser, head athletic trainer; Dr. Alex Sider, assistant professor of religion; Sally Siferd, administrative assistant to the president; and Julia Szabo, director of alumni relations and annual giving.
Bluffton public relations, 1/23/12