North Central News

New endowed faculty chairs named and outstanding staff honored at Opening Meeting

Jacob Imm

Aug 30, 2022

Appreciation for ongoing, exemplary work and optimism for the future were the themes of this year's faculty and staff Opening Meeting, held August 15 at Wentz Concert Hall. Three North Central College faculty members were honored with endowed chairs and a number of faculty and staff members received awards for distinguished service during the traditional event to commemorate the beginning of the academic year.

Interim President Donna Carroll opened the proceedings with a State of the College address, expected to be her first and final such address as she helps North Central College search for their next long-term president. Carroll talked about her admiration for the College even from her previous post as president of Dominican University, noting the dedication and pride she has already noted from faculty and staff since her appointment on August 1. She gave an accounting of the College's finances and enrollment as well as laid out some of her priorities for the coming year, including finishing the Brilliant Future capital campaign, developing the College's growing success in health science and engineering programming, and expanding North Central's outstanding reputation further throughout the nation. Carroll spoke with humility and humor, expressing her desire to make herself part of the Cardinal family while she presides over an exciting period of transition. "I love being on campus, so if you have any events coming up, please invite me," she said. "And even if you don't, you might see me there."

Interim President Donna Carroll presenting her State of the College address.

Interim President Donna Carroll

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Abiodun Gòkè-Paríolá then presented endowed chairs to a group of North Central's most accomplished and well-respected faculty. Karl Kelley, professor of psychology, was named the Harold & Eva White Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts; Matthew Pons, professor of mathematics, was named the Marie & Bernice Gantzert Professor in the Liberal Arts & Sciences; and Donnavieve Smith, associate professor of marketing, was named the Grantman Professor in Business & Economics. In addition to the chair announcements, Marco Martinez, associate professor of mathematics and actuarial science, was named the Dr. R. Devadoss Pandian Endowed Fellow in the Arts & Sciences, while Amy Buxbaum, associate professor of communication, received the Distinguished Service by Faculty Award, and Smith received the Dr. Marti Bogart Award for Distinguished Collaboration.

Provost Abiodun Goke-Pariola and Professor Donnavieve Smith.

Professor Donnavieve Smith in joyous surprise as Provost Goke-Pariola presents her honorary chair.

Maryellen Skerik, vice president for finance, opened the recognition portion of the meeting by presenting awards for excellent work to members of the North Central staff. They included the Distinguished Performance by an Administrative Staff Member Award for Sharon Merrill, assistant vice president for human resources; the Distinguished Performance by a Support Staff Member Award for Stella Bielawski, administrative assistant to the dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship; the Distinguished Service to Students Award for Mindy Diaz, director of academic success and support programs; the Innovation in Administrative Function Award for Katie McNeela, director of enrollment marketing; and the award for Outstanding Team, given to the Office of Financial Aid.

Interim President Donna Carroll with the staff award winners.

Staff service award winners (left to right) Katie McNeela, Stella Bielawski, Mindy Diaz and Sharon Merrill with Interim President Carroll, center.