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Classified Senate anniversary celebrates rich history and accomplishments [PHOTOS]

President McDavis thanks classified employees for their contributions


More than 250 Ohio University current and former classified employees gathered in the Grover Center Atrium on June 3 to celebrate Classified Senate's 25th anniversary by highlighting a few of its many outstanding accomplishments.

The historical celebration featured speeches by President Roderick J. McDavis and 2013-14 Classified Senate Chair Bonnie Behm-Geddes, as well as a rededication of the Canada Red Cherry Tree in Emeriti Park that was planted in fall 2000 in honor of the organization's 10th anniversary. A new 25th anniversary plaque was placed at the base of the Canada Red Cherry Tree opposite the 10th anniversary plaque.

Other top administrators in attendance included Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding, first lady Deborah McDavis and Patton College of Education Associate Dean of Outreach and Regional Programs Ann Paulins.

During his address, McDavis highlighted some of Classified Senate's major accomplishments during the past 25 years. He credited the organization with contributing to the University's adoption of new policies for sick leave donation, spousal education benefits and personal days.

Classified Senate has also raised enough money to annually award five $1,000 student scholarships to classified employees returning to school and Appalachian, multicultural, non-traditional and regional campus students. There is also an academic scholarship annually presented to outstanding students. Since 1996, Classified Senate has awarded 65 total scholarships to needy students.

"We know that the first contact and interactions many potential students and their parents have with Ohio University are with you and your colleagues," President McDavis said. "Certainly, our recent enrollment gains reflect your hospitality."

McDavis also thanked Classified Senate for its input on key University decisions.

"It is through your involvement that Ohio University holds a place of prominence and a distinguished legacy in the realm of higher education," McDavis said. "Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of classified employees and for the care that you pour into our community. We could not be who we are and who we want to be without you."

During her talk, Behm-Geddes thanked Senate's 25th Anniversary Committee for helping her pull off the event in fine fashion.

"I was very pleased with the turnout," Behm-Geddes said. "I thank the committee for the many hours of hard work that it took to pull this event off."

After the speeches, attendees were treated to a buffet-style lunch, free ice cream cones and a chance to win numerous door prizes, which included season tickets for OHIO football and basketball and the Southern Ohio Copperheads games. Other valuable door prizes included a free overnight stay and breakfast at the Ohio University Inn, a one-year WellWorks membership and one day off from work with pay.

Former Classified Senate member Joni Tate said the event was a great time for everyone and also facilitated some key networking opportunities between classified employees.

"It was great to get together with fellow colleagues and reminisce, as well as rekindle friendships," Tate said. "So many staff voiced their opinion that we need more of these networking' opportunities. Many of the younger classified staff were educated through informal table conversations regarding policies, procedures and opportunities that were carried on by older classified staff members. All-in-all it was a beautiful function."

Here is what a few of the 11 former Classified Senate chairs in attendance had to say about the celebration:

"It's wonderful to see the people you worked with years ago and talk to them. Classified Senate has become as important as any of the other employee senates on campus," said Wanda Sheridan (1997-98).

"This 25th anniversary celebration is important because it shows that we have been contributing not just as employees, but also in the broader perspective of the University in policy and ideas. Classified Senate has helped us contribute across the University and become more visible. I also hope it helps us attract more members," said Jeff Fulk (2012-13).

"This event helps us realize all the hard work we have done over the past 25 years, and it was good for everyone to come together for the fellowship," said Traci Winchell (2011-12).

"It's very nice Classified Senate did something like this. During my year as chair, we started selling the coverlet to fund scholarships. I'm really proud of that. Overall, the event went very well. It was nice that they recognized the Classified Senate members for the work that they have done," said Carolyn Blackford (1994-95).

"This celebration gives people notice that we are still out there and trying to do things for them," said Mike Yeager (2004-2005).

"This event was fantastic. You can tell the senators did a lot of hard work and there was a lot of planning involved. It was a terrific day, and I appreciated President McDavis and some of the University's other executive staff members showing up to support us," said Marlene Swartz (2008-09).

To find out more about Classified Senate, visit www.ohio.edu/csen/.

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Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis addresses the crowd during the June 3 Classified Senate 25th Anniversary Celebration in the Grover Center Atrium. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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President Roderick J. McDavis (second from left) poses in Emeriti Park with the 11 Classified Senate past chairs who attended the 25th Anniversary Celebration on June 3, 2014. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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The 25th Anniversary Celebration plaque in Emeriti Park. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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The crowd enjoys the food and the conversation during the Classified Senate 25th Anniversary Celebration on June 3, 2014. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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Classified employees wait to receive their free ice cream cone from the Larry's Dawg House ice cream truck during the Classified Senate 25th Anniversary Celebration on June 3, 2014. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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The new Classified Senate 25th Anniversary plaque sits in front of the Canada Red Cherry Tree in Emeriti Park. Photo by Ben Siegel. 

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President Roderick J. McDavis and his wife, Deborah, chat with classified employees during the 25th Anniversary Celebration on June 3, 2014 in Grover Center Atrium. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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President Roderick J. McDavis (far left) poses with 2013-14 Classified Senate members in Emeriti Park on June 3, 2014. Photo by Ben Siegel.

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Every registered attendee to the Classified Senate 25th Anniversary Celebration received a free Bobcat Kitten. Photo by Ben Siegel.