Staff Members Awarded for Representing Student Affairs’ Core Values

Division honors employees for going 'above and beyond' job duties

OXFORD, Miss. – Five staff members in the University of Mississippi‘s Division of Student Affairs have been honored for excellence in serving students during the 2018-19 academic year. 

The Core Values awards were established in 2015 to recognize employees who have shown characteristics of the division’s core values: Students First, Everyone Speaks, Embrace Differences and Lead with Learning. Each recipient received a trophy and monetary award at the end-of-the-year celebration in May.

“All of these colleagues demonstrated their unwavering dedication to our students’ well-being, sense of worth and connection to this institution,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Whether it was celebrating students in the residence hall or working behind the scenes of a major campus event, each staff member brought the Student Affairs Core Values to life.”

This year’s honorees are:

  • Students First: Cindy May, associate director of financial aid, was honored for going above and beyond, as she spends countless hours on committees awarding scholarships and helping students navigate the college experience. Earlier this spring, May was named this year’s staff recipient of the universitywide Frist Student Service Award.
  • Embrace Differences: Jenn Bradley, community coordinator in the Department of Student Housing, was recognized for working to carve out a niche for herself as a fierce student advocate, challenging her students to be more inclusive, her staff to be more supportive and her peers and leadership to think critically about how to support all students. 
  • Everyone Speaks: Michael Brown, assistant director for residential learning, was honored for cultivating opportunities for all student voices to be heard through his multidimensional approach to serving and hearing students, being careful to take the positive, the negative and the in-between feedback and weighing it all before making decisions that affect students.
  • Lead with Learning: University Police Chief Ray Hawkins, for his purposeful and highly effective collaboration, coordination and leadership across campus and among myriad law enforcement agencies. He has provided clear, safety-focused direction to the campus community.
  • Outstanding Graduate Assistant in Student Affairs: Megan Johnson, graduate community director, held a regular event called “Milk with Meg,” where she sits in her building with milk and chocolate syrup and talks about anything and everything with her residents. She used this time to get to know the residents of Brown Hall and make personal connections that led to a stronger, more inclusive and positive community of female students. 

“Core Values Award recipients have made a significant impression in their respected area and across the university, as demonstrated by following the university Creed and the division core values,” said Merrill Magruder, assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs. “Because these awards are based on nominations from peers and colleagues, the recipients learn how much their work impacted someone else from within the Division of Student Affairs.”

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