Celebrating Southwestern University’s Exemplary Faculty and Staff
March 02, 2022
March 02, 2022
Southwestern’s 2020 Mundy Awards
On February 22, 2022, President Laura Skandera Trombley presented the 2021 and 2022 Mundy Awards for Exemplary Service (due to the pandemic, a ceremony was not held in 2021). 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:
2021 Mundy Award Recipients
Megan Frisque is the associate vice president of alumni and parent relations. Megan first joined Southwestern back in 2005, serving for three years as associate director of alumni and parent relations, and in 2012, we were lucky enough to lure her back. In her 10-plus years of service, Megan has found new and innovative ways to help alumni and families engage with the University and connect with students.
Megan’s role has expanded significantly over the years due to her exceptional leadership skills. She currently leads our Alumni and Parent Relations, Center for Career & Professional Development, Stewardship, and University Events teams.
Whether overseeing a mailing to 12,000 alumni or planning 90 events for Homecoming weekend, Megan approaches every task with a can-do attitude. She is the first to raise her hand and has volunteered to serve on a variety of committees. Her positivity and enthusiasm are contagious and much appreciated by her staff and colleagues.
George has been with Southwestern for over 20 years. He currently serves as a programmer/analyst in the Administrative Computing department. He is a dedicated employee who is respected not only by his teammates in IT, but also by the colleagues he supports across campus.
George is always trying to make things better, even when they’re working just fine. To George, “fine” is simply not good enough. He has set up access control policies and standards, developed a more streamlined package tracking system for the campus post office, and created specific processes to assist the Southwestern University Police Department with its record-keeping and reporting, among many other ambitious projects.
George is known for being knowledgeable, dependable, and accurate in his work, and his drive to make sure the end product of every project is top-notch is unmatched. When he’s not testing and documenting processes, George is busy making his colleagues laugh with his Photoshopped vacation photos.
Professor of Kinesiology Dr. Scott McLean has been with Southwestern since 2001. As the long-time chair, Scott has guided the department through an era of record growth while managing multiple faculty transitions. His patience and leadership have earned him the trust and confidence of the faculty, and the admiration and respect of his students.
Scott is always willing to lend his expertise in support of the University by serving on various committees. Most recently, he has provided exceptional leadership to the Health and Safety Committee, which is responsible for establishing our COVID-19 protocols and policies. Scott has worked tirelessly to interpret the ever-changing science of the virus and help lead the University through one of our most challenging periods.
A beloved figure on campus known for taking the time to truly get to know his students, Scott represents the very best of Southwestern.
Kristen Paxson has been advancing Southwestern’s marketing and communications efforts since joining the University in 2015. As marketing operations manager, Kristen leads a variety of projects and works closely with the Admissions team to produce best-in-class marketing campaigns that convey the value of the Southwestern Experience to prospective students.
Kristen’s outstanding organizational and leadership skills were especially instrumental in the early days of the pandemic, when she played an integral role in the University’s efforts to prepare for a safe return to campus by helping educate students, faculty, staff, and parents on COVID-19 protocols. This included managing a series of 12 emails, providing logistical support and strategy for 20 informational videos, and leading the production of more than 50 posters and signs that were installed throughout campus.
Kristen’s selfless service and impeccable work ethic have made her a valued partner to her colleagues and an invaluable resource to the University.
2022 Mundy Award Recipients
Jefferson Ellinger ’13
Jefferson Ellinger ’13 is a technical support specialist in the Information Technology department. Jefferson began working for IT as a student technical consultant during his first year at Southwestern. After graduating in three years with a double major in computer science and music, he began working at the InfoDesk in the Smith Library Center. In 2017, he returned to the IT department, where he has been providing exceptional service ever since while supporting the technological needs of students, faculty, and staff.
Jefferson goes out of his way to support our students. He helps train the student workers in IT and is an advisor for Southwestern’s Computer Science Club. He also has volunteered many hours of his time to host student gaming events.
In his spare time, Jefferson is an accomplished musician. He is an active member of two different bands and can play a variety of string and keyboard instruments.
Grace Pyka ’05
As director of parent relations, Grace Pyka ’05 supports the families of current students. Grace consistently goes above and beyond to ensure parents feel a part of the Southwestern community and see value in their students’ education and experience.
Grace has been a member of the Alumni and Parent Relations team since 2005. Her service has been impressive throughout her time here, but her efforts have been particularly impactful these past two years as she has worked to educate and communicate with parents throughout the pandemic. Her patience, attention to detail, and ability to facilitate difficult conversations helped both our students and their families trust the University’s policies and protocols and feel confident about the health and safety of our campus.
From enhancing the mentoring program to managing the Southwestern University Parents Facebook group, Grace consistently finds new, meaningful ways to engage our students, families, and alumni. She tackles every task with poise and, of course, grace.
Dr. Kendall Richards is associate dean of the faculty and a professor of mathematics. Since joining the Southwestern faculty in 1991, Kendall has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his students, his colleagues, and the mission of the University.
In addition to serving on a number of committees, Kendall has been instrumental in guiding the University through the accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC. He has provided invaluable support to our accreditation liaison and been part of the writing team for the last two submissions. He also has attended the SACSCOC conference the last four years and has truly become an expert on the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation.
Kendall is passionate about teaching and has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the classroom. He would say he’s a teacher at heart, which only makes him a better administrator.
Martín Gonzalez and Maha Zewail-Foote
Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Martín Gonzalez and Professor of Chemistry Dr. Maha Zewail-Foote have worked tirelessly to protect the Southwestern community throughout the pandemic.
Martín and Maha have worked alongside Dr. Scott McLean and the other members of the Health and Safety Committee to analyze data; develop appropriate safety policies and protocols in response to the data; benchmark these policies and protocols against those of other organizations; and serve as a patient and thoughtful sounding board for constituents. They have put in countless hours to keep us all safe on top of their regular teaching and research responsibilities. Their remarkable leadership has provided a sense of stability and calm during a time of extreme uncertainty.
Above all else, Martín and Maha are caring and concerned members of the campus community. They exemplify the spirit of this award, and we are all fortunate to have them as colleagues.
Congratulations to our wonderfully dedicated 2021 and 2022 Mundy Award winners!
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.
2021 Years of Service
35 years of service: Randy Damron
25 years of service: Pat Murray, Donald Repa
20 years of service: Alexandra Anderson, Jose Arreola, Michael DeLance, George Godward, Phil Lindinger, Nadia Mahannah, Roy Salazar, Michael Sedwick, David Williamson
15 years of service: Karen Fruge and Paula Sutton
10 years of service: Mary Fields, Maria Munoz de Garcia, Becky Rodriguez
5 years of service: Roger Castillo, Stephen Downey, Lee Dsouza, Paul Ford, Stacy Leeber, Rachel McNally, Felix Oskam, Kristen Paxson, Dinah Ritchie, Paul Secord, Jennifer Smull, Laura Sewell, Loretta Waclawczyk, Melissa Williamson
2022 Years of Service
35 years of service: Debi Flummer
30 years of service: Laura Gatlin, Jaime Woody
25 years of service: Julie Cowley
20 years of service: Kent Huntsman, Susan Lamb, Christine Vasquez
15 years of service: Mary Blank, Rosa Garcia, Bill Lane, Maria Tijerina, Michael Torres
10 years of service: Herschel Biffle, Kenneth Nofsinger, Melynda Stiles
5 years of service: James Seals, Benjamin Cofer, Richard Dabbs, Seth Daulton, James Garcia, Georgina German, Julie Hudson, Lauren Light, Nicholas Mask, Levi Montgomery, Randall Shiller, Shelley Story, Ruth Teggeman, Natasha Williams, Sean Smith