Southwestern’s 2023 Mundy Awards

On January 24, 2023, Laura Skandera Trombley, Southwestern University’s president, presented the 2022 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 honorees’ names 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:

John Dixon

Landscape Services Technician John Dixon has been a devoted member of Facilities Management and Southwestern University for over 24 years. His unwavering dedication, attention to detail, and work ethic are second to none. John’s presence on campus has enabled the University to provide a “curb appeal” that attracts and retains students. His communication skills and demeanor are praiseworthy as he carries out his daily duties. He effectively coordinates with multiple campus constituencies as he carries out waste management tasks and grounds maintenance for the University. John consistently possesses a positive attitude, high integrity, and commitment to excellence. In addition to his full-time job with Southwestern University, John has served HEB with the same devotion for the past 19 years. His professionalism and drive are infectious. He motivates others through his actions and positivity.


Christine Bowman ’93

Dean of Enrollment Services Christine Bowman’s service as a Southwestern mentor, ambassador, and leader embodies the spirit of the Mundy award. She joined the SU administration after graduating from Southwestern in 1993. As the Dean, she is vital in helping the University accomplish its core purpose. She is a hard-working, loyal, and committed campus community member.

As a mentor, Christine assists others in navigating leadership challenges, developing supervising policies and expectations, and how to balance priorities. On a national level, she’s been an active leader in the National Association of College Admission Counseling. She also serves as the chair of the Colleges that Change Lives Board of Directors. For many years, Christine has led the Enrollment Analysis Committee, where the group discusses challenges and opportunities to improve enrollment. Through this, the committee has been able to assist with clearing student accounts, creating and implementing preferred name procedures, and strengthening parent communication.

Debika Sihi

Associate Professor of Economics and Business Debika Sihi brings passion and excellence to all she does in and outside the classroom in pursuit of Southwestern’s concern for advising and retention. She is dedicated to the University and all of its facets and has been honored as an exemplary teacher, scholar, and advisor.

She has touched so many people’s lives and made such a significant impact in many different ways at Southwestern. She is intellectually informed and mission-driven. She embodies care, and Southwestern is the grand beneficiary because she donates some extra hours in the day to improve this institution. Whether that’s in the classroom, her department, in admissions, on search committees, or as a strategic thinker and leader. Those who know Debika aspire to her positive attitude, thoughtfulness, and excellence in all she does.

Her work over the last year shepherding the QEP has been awe-inspiring. From her careful stewardship of the proposal through faculty meetings, conversations with the constituency on campus, one-on-one meetings with faculty, students, and staff, attentive listening to feedback, and stalwart support of the program, Debika has been indispensable and incredibly successful reaccreditation process. She did all this with due diligence and care, expert leadership, and her trademark goodwill, humor, and kindness.

Jennifer Leach

Director of Advising and Retention Jennifer Leach joined the Southwestern community in 2017 and combined experience and expertise that allowed her to excel. With her passion for student success and strong leadership in the face of challenges, Jennifer is an insightful expert on effective change and is instrumental in campus-wide discussions that influence and impact Southwestern’s larger culture.

In her first year on campus, she led a working group of faculty and staff to develop an advising syllabus. Designing this syllabus ignited a conversation across departments on how to advise students in proactive ways to promote student success and retention. The success of every student is at the front and center of her leadership. She goes above and beyond her job description to ensure that students get the support they need, feel connected and engaged, and have a pathway to succeed.

Jennifer also advocates for underserved and underrepresented staff members across campus by participating in support communities for queer staff and staff of color. In addition, she jointly authored a grant to provide professional development for staff that will lead to more integrated student programming relating to life design.

Jennifer Spiller

Family Nurse Practitioner & Health Services Manager Jennifer Spiller was unbelievable during the covid years, exploring options for on-site testing, setting up an alternative clinic, teaching others about contact tracing and care management, sitting on the Health and Safety committee, and seeing students, exposing her to infection all the time.

Jennifer takes care of our students no matter what the issue is. Like the best of confidants in healthcare, she takes student, faculty, and staff needs to heart and provides the best short-term care or long-term care available in her vast repertoire of skills. She provides the best practices of healthcare, including intake and counseling. When you want to see yourself through a crisis in community health and college community health, she takes great care with the attention of a top-flight professional. Like any of the best team players, Jennifer exemplifies going above and beyond the position’s job description while at the same time remaining humble.

Staff years-of-service honorees

So many Southwestern community members have demonstrated dedication to the University for at least five years. This year, we give special thanks to those who are celebrating milestone anniversaries with the school:

Five Years

Taylor Adams
Serena Bettis
JC Bunch
Greta Gritti
Carrie Hernandez
Sarah James
Jennifer Keisel
Jennifer Leach
Matt Madsen
Michael Markland
Tina Molina
Jenny Roberts
Rebecca Rother
Pooja Shrestha
Teresa Treto
Sally Volling
Patricia Witt

Ten Years

Joe Austin
Sarah Brackman
Kenneth Eboh
Megan Frisque
Ed Hillis
Donald Klepac
Bill Kriesel
Tafi LaDuque
Jennifer Martinka
Tom Ross
David Wilmot

Fifteen Years

Javier Ahumada
Stefanie Alvarez
Latoya Jenkins
Tina Long
Susan Moore
Daryl Tschoepe

Twenty Years

Alisa Gaunder
Dave Seiler

Thirty-Five Years

James Gaeta