2011 Exceptional Effort Awards

Carol Brach

Carol Brach is the glue that holds the Department of Journalism together. But that has been more the case than ever in the past year and a half as the department has dealt with the declining health and subsequent death of our chair, Shearlean Duke.


Carol is dedicated to the faculty and, especially, the students, but her nomination is more fitting this year than ever because of the difficult circumstances she has worked under.

Through it all, she has maintained her composure and positive attitude, and that has rubbed off on everyone around her. It comes to this: if Carol be so magnanimous and dedicated at this time, how can the rest of us not be? In short, without her the Department of Journalism would not have been able to function at such a high level during such a difficult time.

Sue Hoidal

In her role as assistant to the dean of the Colleges of Science and Technology, Sue is continually called upon to be in contact with other departments, divisions and offices throughout the campus, obtaining information, problem solving and most importantly, creating solutions. Her phone does not stop ringing throughout the day, as the goto person that so many on campus look to for answers and assistance.


Sue is gracious, helpful and respectful of everyone she speaks with. She has regular interaction with the department managers in the college, and she sets the bar high in her example of service to the college - but more importantly, she does everything she can to help those around her attain that same level of excellence.

Sue has recently been instrumental in facilitating the transition to Millenium with the other department managers. She loves the new system and is very positive and engaging in her encouragement to others to begin to use it and become comfortable with it. Sue also actively persues personal interaction through her service as the current president of the PSO and also on the President's Council.

In a day and age when everything seems to be done through electronic communication, Sue seeks out opportunities to meet with and interact with others in the campus community and make a personal connection.

Lloyd Hungate

Lloyd Hungate, Facilities Management's academic maintenance supervisor, was assigned the project lead on the recent Old Main flood repairs. He exceptionally stands out for his thoroughness, his always-friendly and helpful approach, his constant smil, and his desire to go above and beyond the call of duty during his leadership and supervision of the recent Old Main repairs after a frozen sprinkler pipe decided it was time to take Western and Facilities Management down yet another emergency rabbit trail.


Lloyd worked with many occupants who all noticed the job would get done because someone actually cared for each person's concerns and needs. Lloyd coordinated many unique solutions, difficult scheduling, many different skilled trades and other involved campus departments accomplishing the work considerably ahead of schedule and estimate.

Lloyd worried and willed the Old Main repairs to completion, tapping his creative and personal interaction skills and often working many extra hours and impacting his personal life. Old Main, campus and Facilities Management are fortunate to have Lloyd's exceptional attitude, skills and expertise on our side.

Pam Smith

While she has worked at the Office of University Communications, Pam Smith's strong organizational skills and tireless efforts have greatly increased the effectiveness of the office in getting out the many messages and stories that showcase the excellence at Western.


Pam's work is always exceptional. The very busy office deals with offices throughout campus, as well as with the media, students, parents and members of the community, sometimes in stressful, fast-moving situations. Pam represents Western to all these groups with a high degree of courtesy and professionalism, and it is evident in all her interactions that she cares deeply about Western, its students and its mission.

Pam also has ably assisted with University Communications' enhanced partnership with Print and Copy Services, making certain that projects affecting both offices are begun and advanced in an effective fashion. In addition, she also regularly volunteers to help with university commencements and helps with the Employee Arts & Crafts Show.

Pam is an outstanding and exceptional employee at Western. Her performance of her job duties is always done with great professionalism; her interaction with students, faculty, staff and the greater community always is superb; she tackles all new projects with a great deal of creativity and initiative and the result of her efforts are outstanding achievements by the entire staff of the Office of University Communications, as well as many others. She makes a difference, every day, in the lives of our students and campus community members.

Emily Gibson

Dr. Emily Gibson works tirelessly to meet the health care needs of the students of WWU. She is on call every night for student's urgent needs, and she sees patients in clinic during the day, many times overbooking her schedule so that every student gets seen as quickly as possible and receives quality medical care.


She is an exceptional practitioner and shares her knowledge willingly with her co-workers. In addition to providing direct patient care and managing many parents concerns on a daily basis, she answers many emails from students, staff and faculty. She also serves on several committees, including the Suicide Prevention Team, keeping our students safe and in school so they can be successful.

Dr. Gibson's expertise in mental as well as physical health issues, and her coordination of services with the consulting psychiatric providers and the Counseling Center, helps many students complete their academic coursework successfully. Her personal interest and consistent problem-solving approach works wonders with all the people involved. Dr. Gibson is exceptionally supportive and accomodating of the needs of the health center staff members and has fostered a true team spirit in a high pressure work setting.

She interacts with all of the staff at the Student Health center, and is always available to discuss any issues or problems and works hard to solve problems. She makes very hard decsions about staffing, schedule changes, policies and budget, all while trying to balance the needs of the students and the health center with the budget restrictions. And she does this all with a smile and sense of humor.

With budget cuts and resulting staff changes, Dr. Gibson has increased her own clinical role. She has found innovative ways to use specific staff expertise and creative scheduling to continue to meet the expanding mental and physical health care and education needs of our students. She is on call at all hours to meet student and university emergencies. Dr. Gibson's work is an outstanding effort toward fulfilling the mission of fostering our students' life-long learning and success in an ever changing world.

Dr. Gibson is highly respected in the medical community, and Western Washington University is extremely fortunate to have her on staff.

Derek Jones

Officer Derek Jones is a fairly recent addition to Western's Police Department, but his service and dedication to the university are unparalleled. Derek is one of Western's most proactive officers, constantly seeking opportunities to interact with the public and effect positive change at Western.


Derek volunteered last year to be one of two WWU Police representatives on the Bellingham Police SWAT team. The extra time and effort Derek puts into participating as a SWAT officer is something it is hoped the university will never have to call upon. However, if needed, Derek's knowledge of Western and his training as a SWAT officer will surely be invaluable to the entire campus community.

Derek has also worked to improve things around the office. He reorganized and now maintains two bulletin boards with officer safety information, important events, training announcements and much more.

Derek is also captaining a team for the 2011 Whatcom County Emergency Responders Fitness Challenge. He cares deeply for everyone he works with. To him, his co-workers are all part of his extended family. There is nothing he wouldn't do for them.

Though Derek is young, it's clear to those who know him that he is gifted in many ways. Derek will, no doubt, go far in law enforcement. He is the kind of officer Western needs, and the kind of person we all should hope to be. His courage, strength, passion, and humility are what make him a real-life hero.

Dina Murphy

Financial Aid Manager Dina Murphy epitomizes the best of Western through her dedication to students, the care with which she stewards scholarship dollars in accordance with donor wishes, her collaboration with academic and Student Affairs departments to select scholarship recipients, and her leadership in designing and implementing software that will result in more effective delivery of scholarship funding to students.


Dina works well beyond 40 hours per week to ensure that Western students receive not only their scholarship funds, but their federal, state and institutional financial aid. From mid-summer to late fall, the lights are on in the Scholarship Center well into the evenings because Dina will be in her office completing tasks associated with administration of a multitude of scholarship programs and finalizing the financial aid of Western students.

Dina serves as the liaison with the College Success Foundation to help ensure that high-achieving, at-risk students receive the funding they need to access higher education at Western and stay in school and graduate. She also provides guidance and support to the state Washboard scholarship program hosted by the State of Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, has led College Goal Sunday financial aid outreach efforts, and routinely gives financial aid presentations at area high schools.

Through Dina's leadership, software to support private donor scholarship processing has been fully implemented within the Scholarship Center. Most recently, Dina collaborated with Administrative Computing and other departments to design and implement institutional scholarship processing software that will provide departments with information needed to award scholarships and expedite delivery of funds to students, while at the same time providing transparency of information to staff members who need to know where scholarships are at in the process to perform their respective roles.

Despite the demands placed on delivering $7.5 million annually in scholarship dollars and resolving the aidrelated concerns of students and parents, Dina maintains a positive, can-do attitude and a good sense of humor, especially when everyone needs it during the most demanding of times.

Western and Western students are fortunate to have Dina as a part of the Western experience.

Casey Hayden

Casey serves as the adviser for AS Productions, which is comprised of six student programming offices including Pop Music, Films, Underground Coffeehouse, Viking Union Gallery, Civil Controversy, and Special Events.


During the summer of 2010, Casey went from co-advising the club system to taking on full responsibility for management of the AS club system (which includes more than 200 clubs) and advisement of these clubs and the AS Activities Council. He was eager and excited to take on these responsibilities, even though it meant an increased workload.

Casey consistently provides high quality advisement to students and provides them the resources and support necessary to help them achieve their goals. He does an excellent job of working with students on both the process of planning and organizing their clubs or events, as well as the intended outcome or product of their efforts. He is adept at working with students on a wide variety of topics and interests, and always keeps a focus on student learning and development at the forefront of his work.

Casey has developed very positive and effective working relationships with colleagues, student employees and student club leaders and members. Student employees have said that Casey is supportive and helps them achieve their outcomes, provides constructive feedback in a way that's respectful and encouraging, encourages them to challenge themselves as leaders, helps guide them to conclusions rather than telling them what to do, and is supportive of their development as students, employees, and people.

Casey is never hesitant to get his hands dirty and get excited about creative ways of reaching students. Casey's creativity in these areas has shown co-workers and students alike that every idea may lead to the perfect opportunity.

Diane Knutson

Everything Diane does, she takes to a new level compared to how it was done before and constantly challenges herself to do even better. All around she is an excellent performer.


Diane uses common courtesies in every interaction. She is poised and pleasant, and remains poised even when there are tensions.

The Department of Environmental Studies has been undergoing a major revision in its curriculum for nearly the past two years. This required the pulling together of a vast amount of information, and now requires preparation of the new curriculum and the hundreds of forms that requires. Diane has been point on all of the detail work in this long, laborious and sometimes contentious process.

Diane is an incredibly hard worker, an extremely efficient worker, and an unbelieveably compassionate and pleasant friend. Yet she would never put herself in the limelight, she would shy from it. The Department of Environmental Studies has depended totally on her for a million wonderful things that have made the department's ambitious work possible. She is the sort who goes far beyond the call of duty or job definition.

Throughout she has performed with the utmost professionalism. Her performance in her role defines excellence. She has worked with faculty and staff wonderfully well, both the few under her supervision, and the many "above" her. The department has moved to a new era in its history, making some major curricular changes required by the times. Were Diane not around to manage the details of this, it would not happen.

Along with this task she was also appointed the Secretary of the HCC, and her performance in this arena are also excellent.

Page Updated 11.27.2013