Eastern Kentucky University Honors Staff with President's Excellence Awards

Published on May 23, 2024

By Evan Bentley

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) recently celebrated exceptional faculty and staff members at the annual President’s Excellence Awards on April 24. Five EKU employees were honored for excellence with a $3,000 cash award, and finalists each received a $1,000 cash reward. These awards recognize employees who go above and beyond in their work to make EKU excellent. EKU also honored those who have achieved 25 and 30 years of service with the university.

“EKU strives to be excellent in all that we do, and we are only able to do this because of our incredibly talented faculty and staff,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “I value this opportunity to celebrate our truly outstanding team members. Congratulations to the award winners and finalists on this well-deserved recognition.”

The 2024 recipients were Carrie Foster, Allison McCann, Dr. Bryan Makinen, Jasmine Nettles and Dr. Matt Schumacher.

Foster, assistant director of fund administration, earned the Engagement and Hospitality Award. She said, “I always try to make everyone I encounter feel valued, which makes receiving the President’s Excellence Award for Engagement and Hospitality so meaningful.” Foster consistently provides a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Allison McCann, Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness, was recognized with the Excellence in Community and Belonging Award. McCann strives to create a sense of belonging within the EKU community in all aspects of her work, from training student employees to leading staff members in group fitness classes. McCann stated, “Receiving this award is such an uplifting affirmation to me that the work my team and I do is making an impact. I love serving this community and this recognition is an honor.”

Makinen, chief campus operations officer, was honored with the Excellence in Leadership award. Highlighting the collaborative efforts of his team, he said, “This is an amazing honor which showcases the exceptionally talented and amazing teams I serve every day along with our peers throughout campus.  I remain humbled by serving subject matter experts who place service-above-self and who give their all to our community.”  

Makinen’s leadership and commitment to excellence have been a large part of driving success across the Campus Beautiful.

Nettles, Associate Director of Residential Curriculum and Living Learning Communities and former Residence Hall Coordinator (RHC) for Martin Hall, was honored with the Emerging Leader Award. After serving as a residence advisor (RA) while at Ferris State University, Nettles made a career out of serving students and has shown her commitment and dedication in her four years on EKU’s staff. She said, “I'm so grateful to have been nominated for the first-ever Emerging Leader Award. I sincerely appreciate being recognized for the hard work and sacrifices that I've made to get to this point. This is a major accomplishment for me and my career, and I look forward to continuing to do good work for EKU.” 

Schumacher, executive director of enrollment systems, received the Excellence in Innovation Award. Looking back on his time at EKU as a student since 1997, and an employee since 2005, he said, “Being nominated for this award fills me with immense pride and gratitude. It’s a true honor to be part of the EKU family, collaborating with such an exceptional group of individuals.”

With almost three decades of dedication to EKU, Schumacher’s innovative thinking and bold action plays a crucial role in providing a seamless transition for students into the university. The majority of his experience has been supporting student success and persistence, curating a sense of pride and perseverance in the EKU community.

Employees honored for their 25-year milestone include:

  • Dr. Dana Bush

  • Jeanette Crabtree

  • Dr. Christopher Daniel

  • Dr. Brooke Hillard

  • Todd King

  • Delia Reed

  • Shirley Rivard

  • Dr. Tim Ross

  • Dr. Garett Yoder

Liese Rhodus was honored for the 30-year milestone.

The President’s Excellence Awards not only celebrate each of the recipient’s achievements but also highlight EKU’s collective dedication to innovation, leadership, engagement and belonging across the campus community. Through the contributions of employees such as Foster, McCann, Makinen, Nettles and Schumacher, as well as the award finalists, EKU continues to uphold a reputation as the Employer of Choice, where excellence and dedication are valued and celebrated.