John Neese, HSU’s athletic director, has been named as the Hardin-Simmons University Staff Member of the Year.
Dr. Janelle O’Connell, professor of physical therapy and head of the Department of Physical Therapy has been named as Faculty Member of the Year.
Members of the HSU faculty and staff select who among them should receive the honors. Both awards are announced during the faculty and staff appreciation dinner, Stars of the Purple and Gold, May 10, 2013, at the Abilene Civic Center.
The appreciation dinner is sponsored and hosted by the HSU Alumni Association to honor faculty and staff for their service to the university. Service pins for longevity are awarded in five-year increments beginning with the employee’s first five years of service. Receiving the pin for the most years of service -- 45 years, was professor of chemistry, Dr. Richard Garner.
The nominees for the Faculty and Staff Members of the Year must show loyalty and service to the university. They must exude competence and dedication in their responsibilities. They must also be friendly, have good rapport with their HSU constituents, and have a willingness to work productively with everyone. Finally, nominees must have high Christian ideals.
Dr. Janelle O’Connell
O’Connell holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University in physical education with a concentration in athletic training, a Master of Arts degree in exercise physiology from Kent State University and her Ph.D. in health promotion and disease prevention from the University of Toledo. She received her MPT and transitional DPT from Hardin-Simmons University.
O’Connell serves as a journal reviewer for Physical Therapy and as an accreditation site reviewer for the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and the Southern Accreditation of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Her research has focused on health behavior, spirituality, and adherence to physical therapy/exercise programs, trust, health promotion and disease prevention.
She is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association. In 2001, she received the Arete Award given by the Abilene Education Council for “civic and moral excellence.” In 2009, she received the William R. Gould Memorial Outstanding Physical Therapy Faculty Member Award from the Texas Physical Therapy Association
O’Connell is actively involved in the HSU PT Ministries program that she co-founded with Dr. Dennis O’Connell in 2000. She also coordinates numerous continuing education workshops for physical therapists, occupational therapists and athletic trainers. O’Connell holds an adjunct teaching appointment with Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.
Neese is the longest-running athletic director in the history of the HSU. Since his arrival in May of 1997, Hardin-Simmons has won dozens of American Southwest Conference championships. Neese is responsible for overseeing the sixteen men’s and women’s teams, which involves over 400 student-athletes on the campus.
Academic excellence has been a priority for Neese, as the student-athletes have had a combined grade point average of a 3.0 or higher for the last 15 semesters.
Several new facilities have been added to the HSU landscape under Neese’s direction. The Lou Morton Ellis Softball Field and John Crowe Fieldhouse, a new soccer game field and a soccer practice field, with a soccer /track fieldhouse have all been added since 2001. In 2008 he oversaw the return of track and field to the HSU campus after a four decade absence.
On the national scene, Neese serves as the national chair of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Committee, where he is responsible overseeing the ranking and evaluating teams as well as championship selection. He has also served as the chairman of the Division III National Football Committee.
Locally, Neese has served on the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau Board and as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He has also served on Civic Abilene, a committee that works on promoting the Abilene Civic Center and is a member of the nominating committee for the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame.
Neese graduated from Hardin-Simmons in 1987 with a degree in public communication and spent eight years in the broadcast industry. He received his Master of Education degree in counseling and human development from HSU in May 2002.
Former Faculty and Staff Recognition
Recognition is also given to two people selected as the Former Faculty Member of the Year and the Former Staff Member of the Year. They are selected by the HSU Fellowship, an active group of retired faculty and staff members who meet on campus several times per year.
Dr. Taylor Rankin, professor emeritus and former department head of biology, was recognized as the Former Faculty Member of the Year, and the Former Staff Member of the Year went to David Stovall, former director of IT customer service and training.
Rankin joined the faculty at HSU in 1969 as an assistant professor and department head. He served as department head in biology for 27 years and taught courses in botany, ecology, and plant taxonomy.
He has served on numerous committees at HSU, was faculty sponsor of Beta Beta Beta, and helped design and operates the campus greenhouse, which now bears his name.
He served two terms as vice president and two terms as president of the HSU faculty. He has provided music for HSU’s Western Heritage Day from the event's inception and continues to be a member of Catclaw Creek Band and The Big Country Autoharp and Dulcimer Club. For many years Rankin also served on the Board of the Abilene Zoological society.
Rankin retired in 2003 with 34 years of service to the university. His teaching career adds up to a total of 43 years.
David Stovall joined the HSU staff as manager of the Data Processing Center, as it was called then. He retired 30 years later, all the while overseeing the rapid advancement in technology at the university.
He is currently on the board of the Boys and Girls Club where he has been a member for 13 and served as president for almost three years. He teaches 5th grade boys in the Big A Club at First Baptist Church, where he is a member of the sanctuary choir, and has served as deacon, Sunday school teacher, and on several committees of the church.
Retiring members of the faculty and staff are also recognized during the ceremony.
Margaret Forrester, special assistant for financial affairs, with 46 years of service to HSU.
Dr. Gary Stanlake, professor of biology, with 35 years of service at HSU.
Dr. Teresia Taylor, department head of foreign languages and senior professor of Spanish, with 23 years of service. She also earned two degrees from HSU.
Dr. Doug Thomas, department head and professor of psychology, with 19 years of service at HSU.
The tradition of the Service Pins began 44 years ago under the presidency of Elwin Skiles. Since 1967, 1,826 pins have been presented to employees representing 20,850 years of service.
Faculty and staff receiving anniversary pins for longevity:
Celebrating 45 years
Dr. Richard Garner, senior professor of chemistry
Celebrating 35 years
Dr. Gary Stanlake, professor of biology
Dr. Larry Wolz '73 '74, department head, music history and literature; professor of music history
Celebrating 30 years
Frank Loza, chief of police
Charlene Strickland, department head and associate professor of communication
Celebrating 25 years
Dr. Larry Fink '82, professor of English
Jean Self, accounts payable
Bobbie Van Huss, periodicals assistant
Larry Wheeler, department head and associate professor of theatre and technology director of Van Ellis Theatre
Celebrating 20 years
Dr. Randall Maurer, professor of psychology and family ministry; director of Family Ministry Program
Dr. Susan Pigott '86, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
Dr. Laura Pogue '87/'91, dean of General Education Studies, associate professor of English
Dr. Pam Williford, dean of the Irvin School of Education, Irvin Professor of Education, and professor of education
Celebrating 15 years
Richard Benham, maintenance technician
Dr. Lynnette Chambers, professor of music, director of graduate music program
Dr. Lanny Hall, president
Dr. Carol Ford Hill, department head, professor of speech-language pathology
Dr. John Hill, professor of economics
Jeannie Huffman, post office assistant
Russell Jones, maintenance technician
Christopher Kelly, network administrator
Leianne McMillan '97, special events program coordinator
Michael Monhollon, dean, Kelley College of Business; professor of business law
Dr. Coleman Patterson, professor of management and leadership; director of Leadership Studies
Wayne Roy, senior development officer
Dr. Robert Sellers, professor of theology; Connally Professor of Missions
Dr. Dan Stiver, professor of theology; Cook-Derrick Professor
Kathy Williams, post office manager
Jodi Zachry '08, administrative assistant to the dean, Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics
Celebrating 10 years
Dr. Thomas Brisco, provost and chief academic officer; professor of Old Testament and archaeology
Teresa Ellis, theological librarian; associate professor
Dan Heger '85, head soccer coach
Loretta Landrum, police dispatch
Russell Leavenworth '98, development officer
Anita Lyle, administrative assistant to the dean, Cynthia Ann Parker College
Dr. Kenneth Lyle, professor of New Testament and Greek; MDIV graduate program director
Kim O'Dell, secretary for athletics
Dr. Joanne Roberts, head of the department of sociology; professor of sociology
Sandy Self, professor of political science and Legal Studies
Dr. Richard Traylor, associate professor of history
Celebrating 5 years
Dr. Jon Ashby, visiting professor, speech-language pathology
Lori Blake, director of institutional research
Craig Carse, head men's basketball coach
Troy Cartwright, director of technology support services
Andrea Cheek '88, instructor of nursing
Whitney Cloud '08, administrative assistant to the chaplain
Dr. John N. Davis, assistant professor of management
Amy Davison, assistant to the dean of Grad Studies
Dr. Lindsay Edwards, assistant professor of fitness and sport sciences
Awilda Hayes, instructor of nursing
Megan Lee '08, human resources/accounting assistant
Dr. Melissa Madeson, assistant professor of fitness and sport sciences
Rachael McCormick '07/'10, residence hall director, Behrens
Jodie McGaughey, instructor of accounting
Dr. Peter Neubert, visiting instructor of music
Dr. Jennifer Plantier, associate professor of business and marketing; MBA program director
Bonnie Powell, coordinator of undergraduate admissions
Edgar Reed, instructor of fitness and sport sciences, manager of the HSU Fitness Center
Dr. Melody Rich, associate professor of voice
Dr. Sue Robinson '02, assistant professor of counseling and human development
Dr. Dee Romines, associate professor of music education, director of HSU Chorale
Dr. Steven Rosscoe, Assistant professor of geology
Rodney Smith, head of track, cross-country coach
Donna Snook '12, administrative assistant to the dean of Irvin School of Education
Steven Taylor, maintenance technician