Southwestern’s 2020 Mundy Awards

On January 29, 2020, Dale Knobel, Southwestern University’s interim president, presented the 2020 Mundy Awards for Exemplary Service. Created in 2002 to commemorate the leadership of Southwestern alumnus and former trustee Joe S.  Mundy, the awards recognize faculty and staff members who have been nominated and have demonstrated exemplary service to the University. The names of the honorees will be added to the plaque of all previous winners on display in SU’s Bishops Lounge, and they will be invited to sit on the stage at this year’s graduation convocation, where they will again be recognized. The following are this year’s recipients:

2020 Mundy Awards & Staff Service Recognition April Hampton Perez ’89

As the senior director of development, April Hampton Perez is one of the most dedicated members of our University Relations team. A 1989 graduate of Southwestern, Hampton Perez is an exceptional fundraiser who has served in a variety of volunteer and leadership roles with organizations including CASE, the Charitable Gift Planners of Austin, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Leander ISD, and the Capital Area Boy Scouts Council. 

Beloved by donors, friends, and colleagues for her energy, humor, and professionalism, Hampton Perez serves as a mentor and guide to her coworkers and student employees. One colleague shares, “We are a better team because of April. She brings joy to this challenging work and inspires us all to dig deeper and push further—all in the name of SU!” Another member of her team says that Hampton Perez “is a role model for us all. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Joe S. Mundy Award.”

2020 Mundy Awards & Staff Service Recognition

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a professor and Lillian Nelson Pratt Chair of biology. A population geneticist who conducts ecological and evolutionary research on amphibians, Pierce is the author of the textbooks Genetics: A Conceptual Approach, Genetics Essentials: Concepts and Connections, and Transmission and Population Genetics, which have been adopted by more than 300 colleges and universities and translated into five foreign languages.

Pierce has been a vital part of the multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation of the Fondren–Jones Science Center since before phase 1 of the project broke ground in April 2014 until the completion of phase 2 this past fall. While collaborating with fellow faculty, administrators, architects, and Facilities Management staff, Pierce was always willing to help in any way he could, even in the midst of teaching classes. Those who worked with Pierce during the Science Center project express their genuine gratitude for his generous guidance and support.

2020 Mundy Awards & Staff Service Recognition

Dinah Ritchie

As strategic marketing manager, Ritchie has helped to elevate Southwestern in multiple ways. Her analytical approach has helped generate engagement on the University website, across social media, and during campus events. However, what truly differentiates her is her passion for SU: Ritchie has successfully helped raise brand awareness for Southwestern not just in Texas but also in the larger higher-education market.

An extraordinarily hard worker, Ritchie collaborates with many different members of the SU community. She is always excited to trumpet the achievements of students, faculty, and staff, and she is a mentor and role model to her interns. When Tim Cobb, Southwestern’s former chief marketing officer and vice president of integrated communications, departed last summer, Ritchie took on a leadership role as interim director of integrated communications while serving on the search committee for the current chief marketing and communications officer and vice president of integrated communications, Scarlett Moss ’86. Despite her many responsibilities, Ritchie manages her many responsibilities effectively while maintaining a positive attitude—all while attributing her many achievements to the “team effort” of the MarCom office.

2020 Mundy Awards & Staff Service Recognition

Brenda Thompson

Thompson joined Southwestern University in 2008 as assistant controller. During her tenure, she has quickly moved up to her current position as assistant vice president for finance and administration and controller. Thompson has made numerous changes in the Business Office to successfully modernize processes, demonstrating extraordinary commitment to her job and providing support to everyone she works with.  

Collaborative is a word that describes Thompson well: she works effectively with other offices and departments across campus and with our peer institutions. She sets high expectations for herself and for her staff, but her colleagues appreciate her willingness to develop ideas together and her team spirit.

Thompson is known as a great coworker and a wonderful friend. She always has time to lend an ear or a hand, and as one colleague says, “It is amazing to see her juggle everything she has going on and always have a welcoming smile!

Congratulations to our wonderfully dedicated 2020 Mundy Award winners!

2020 Staff Service Awards

Staff recognized for milestone years of service

Following the Mundy Awards presentation, Elma Benavides, associate vice president for human resources, recognized Southwestern staff members for their years of service. The following staff were recognized and presented a pin for their service and dedication to Southwestern:

25 years of service: Christine Bowman

20 years of service: Elma Benavides, Anna Castillo, Maria Kruger, Ben Nava, Tish Owen, Debbie Pauley, Annette Witherspoon, and Dominga Zarate

15 years of service: David Dellsperger, Melaine Hoag, Barbara Jean, and Jean Whewell

10 years of service: Jason Bonick, Dana Luna, Amanda Parr, Grace Pyka, Shorty Schwartz, and Genoveva Venegas

5 years of service: Bob Baldwin, Connie Hicks, and Joe Ribar