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Ohio University President Roderick McDavis with the three 2014 Outstanding Administrator Award winners, Martha Bishop, Joan Butcher, and Judith M. Piercy and Chair of Administrative Senate Joshua J. Bodnar.

Photographer: Jonathan Adams


Heather Cumbo was honored at the annual Administrative Service Award ceremony for her 40 years of service at Ohio University on Monday, March 10, 2014.

Photographer: Jonathan Adams


Administrators along with their family members attend the annual Ohio University 2014 Outstanding Administrator Awards on March 10, 2014.

Photographer: Jonathan Adams

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Administrators share their gratitude during service awards

Administrators from offices and campuses throughout Ohio University gathered to celebrate milestones – both their own and each other’s – and honor three recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Administrator Award during the Administrative Service Awards March 10.

The annual ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of administrative employees who have served anywhere from 10 to 40 years at Ohio University. Recent retirees were also honored during the event, which took place in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

Among those recognized for their time at OHIO was Heather Cumbo. Cumbo has been an OHIO administrator for 40 years, serving in both the Financial Aid office and in the Office of Information Technology. Cumbo reflected on her years at OHIO as rewarding because she said she knew her work was helping students.

“You don’t work somewhere for 40 years without liking your job,” Cumbo laughed. “You have to think about what you’re doing and why and just keep trying to do your best.”

Following remarks by Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding, employees received gifts commemorating their length of employment at the University. Golding told the audience that the total years of service by all who were honored in 2014 came to 1,660 years at OHIO.

Gwen Whitehead, a budget manager at Ohio University Lancaster, celebrated 25 years of service this year. She said she’s maintained the same role over that time, but the duties have changed as the Lancaster Campus has grown and changed.

“It’s been wonderful to watch people’s lives transform in front of you. People come in that are sometimes in the middle of their lives, sometimes they’re 18 or 19, but by the time they leave, they’ve really matured,” Whitehead said.

2014 Outstanding Administrators

Following the years of service recognition, President Roderick J. McDavis introduced each of the three recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Administrator Award: Martha Bishop, Joan Butcher and Judy Piercy.

Though each administrator holds a different role at the University, their remarks to the audience of about 250 people carried the same theme: thankfulness for the support of others.

Nominators commended Martha Bishop, a laboratory coordinator for the department of Environmental and Plant Biology, on setting high standards for herself and going the extra mile in her work overseeing the operations of labs and classrooms. She mentors students, both undergraduate and graduate, and goes beyond the scope of her role to ensure she is a good steward to the environment, they wrote.

Bishop thanked her supervisor, Connie Pollard (herself an Outstanding Administrator Award recipient), and said she feels the recognition is an honor.

“To me, this award reflects not only my efforts, but the efforts of many others I work with,” Bishop said.
Bishop told the crowd she came to Ohio University to study and understand the natural ecosystems in Ohio and was thankful her position allowed her to educate and inspire others to sustain natural areas.

Joan Butcher, who serves as the director of Programming at WOUB Center for Public Media, reflected on her work with students during her acceptance speech. Butcher supervises the traffic department, hosts a monthly radio show and addresses viewer questions and concerns. She also serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Council for Disability Accessibility Planning.

Herself a former non-traditional student, Butcher said she appreciated seeing the University from a student’s point of view during the 10 years she chipped away at obtaining her bachelor’s degree. She took one class at a time, and after receiving it in 2005, went on to pursue and obtain a master’s degree in 2008.

She was first struck by the importance of the relationship between students and WOUB during her first interview. Butcher said during her tour, she saw students working side by side with professionals, managing the operations of the station.

“I remember thinking, ‘You actually let students handle this expensive equipment?’ I knew of no other PBS station that incorporated students into their facility,” she said.

It made quite an impression, Butcher said, and she is thankful to work in an environment where student development is such an important mission.

The third and final recipient of the Outstanding Administrator Award, Judy Piercy serves as interim University ombudsperson and has worn many hats during her time at Ohio University. Piercy served in residential housing in the Division of Student Affairs before becoming the ombusperson. Nominators called Piercy one of the best and brightest among University employees, applauding her initiatives to go above and beyond for students and colleagues.

Piercy shared her gratitude to work in a place that fosters a positive, rewarding student experience.

“Ohio University is an amazing higher education institution,” said Piercy. “I have spent 25 years here as of July 1. I love the beauty of the campus and the Appalachian area; I love our students who have kept me young at heart through their energy, their fresh perspective and the fact that they keep challenging us over and over.”

Piercy encouraged attendees to embrace opportunities and challenges and seek support in their University colleagues. She perhaps summed up the spirit of the award when she commented it was as much a reflection of the work of others as it was of her own successes.

“I thought ‘oh I’m being recognized for my hard work.’ And then I quickly said, ‘get over yourself, Judy! This really is not about your accomplishments, this is about all the people that provided opportunities for me to succeed.’” she said. “There are opportunities left and right at this campus if you want them. There are opportunities given and opportunities taken. And we have to reach for them.”