WCC honors long-time faculty and staff members
Staff WriterMary Faulkner stood to the side as President Larry Whitworth detailed her accomplishments, both the well-known kind and the not-so-known kind. He stood in front of a room of their peers to share his appreciation for her 25 years at Washtenaw Community College. “I thought, ‘Why isn’t someone filming this?’” joked Faulkner, executive assistant to the board of trustees and the coordinator of this year’s Annual Employee Recognition Reception. “It was great. It just made me feel really good to know that he knows what I do.” That was two years ago at the 2008 Employee Recognition Reception. Since the honorees are based on five-year increments, Faulkner will keep working until she gets another chance to have one of those camera-ready moments, which will be in 2013. At that point, she will have worked for WCC for three decades. The reception is organized every year to give faculty and staff a chance to recognize their peers. The honorees for this year have worked anywhere from 10-40 years at the college, and will be held from 3-5 p.m. on April 29 in ML 101. Obviously, recognition isn’t the only reason staff and faculty members continue their careers at WCC. For many, they just wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. “It’s a tribute to the college that these people hang in there and like this place. There’s really not a lot of job openings here because we love it and we stay and stay and stay!” Faulkner said. The reception will offer finger foods and small speeches commemorating a few of the faculty and staff members who have worked here the longest. Not all those being honored will have a chance to be introduced by someone. That kind of reception just wouldn’t be feasible, as 68 faculty and staff members are to be honored. Martin Thomas, manager of campus services, is one of those staff members who won’t have a personal speaker. After 35 years at WCC, Thomas decided he didn’t want one. “To be honest with you, I kind of get recognition every day… I like what I do,” Thomas said. “I love the college. I’m engaged in trying to make it succeed more than it was.” Thomas first came to WCC in 1975 as a custodian when he was only 20 years old. If it weren’t for the reception, many might not believe that Thomas could have such a long career at WCC yet. “Some of the ladies are like, ‘Martin, you weren’t even shaving (when you were hired)!’” laughed Thomas. Thomas attributes his longevity to the attitude of the college and the positive outlook he’s had on his responsibilities. To him, his job title doesn’t mean much, and he’ll often be out and about fixing whatever problems need to be addressed. “What WCC allows you to do is become involved,” he said. “If you want to stand up for things that are right, or stand up against things that are wrong, you can do that here.” While Thomas admits that the encouragement to stand up for right and wrong has dissipated a bit since WCC’s inception, he still thinks the general feeling is there. He tries to instill the same positive attitude in new WCC employees. “I think it’s what we look for when we hire people,” he said.