Three Brookdale employees were honored on May 1 for their outstanding achievements both in and out of the classroom during the 30th Annual Barringer Awards dinner in Belmar.
Biology Professor James Crowder, history Professor Jess Le Vine and college accounting specialist Helen Vota joined a long line of prestigious Brookdalians to receive the award, which is considered the Brookdale Alumni Association’s highest honor.
The evening began with talks by Alumni Association President Lauren Watson and Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy, who thanked the honorees for their selfless dedication to Brookdale students and members of the college community.
On an evening named in recognition of Dr. Bob Barringer, Brookdale’s third president and a long-time champion of academic success and student achievement, Dr. Murphy said she couldn’t think of three more fitting honorees.
“Tonight’s award winners epitomize Dr. Barringer’s legacy and the long tradition of excellence we share at Brookdale,” she said. “They have truly earned this honor.”
Each honoree was presented by one of the Brookdale colleagues who nominated them for the award.
Crowder was introduced by Science and Health Science Dean Jayne Edman, who spoke of the professor’s unique skills, his penchant for innovation and his unmatched belief in the transformative power of education.
Crowder commented on the long line of Brookdale faculty who have received a Barringer since 1986, saying he was shocked to find himself among them.
“I’m speechless, which is not usually like me,” he said. “I can’t even begin to describe how honored and humbled and gratified I am to even be part of that group, including my fellow honorees tonight. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you.”
Le Vine was introduced by long-time colleague Dr. Laura Neitzel, who needed pages of notes to keep track of all his accomplishments since joining the college in 1991. Whether he was leading study abroad courses in Italy, creating new courses on Native American history or leading a grant-funded project to create a lasting testament to local Vietnam veterans, Neitzel said Le Vine could always be found teaching.
Accepting the award, Le Vine said his achievements are largely due to his siblings, parents and grandparents, who valued education and dedication above all else.
“In my family, learning is everything,” said Le Vine. “It’s the beginning of everything.”
Finally, Helen Vota was introduced by Writing Center learning assistant Mary Ann Kerwin, who described Vota’s voracious passion for both her job and the countless charitable causes she supports as a co-founder of Brookdale’s Employee Volunteer Connection.
As president of the college’s Professional Staff Association, Kerwin said Vota has also provided invaluable leadership and support to her colleagues during one of the most difficult times in college history. It’s no wonder, Kerwin said, that Vota is only the second professional staff member in college history to receive the Barringer Award.
“This is not a goal that I ever thought I could possibly attain,” Vota said. “I will cherish this award forever, long after I leave Brookdale. It will remind me of the wonderful people I met here who have so enriched my life. Thank you all.”
Full bios of all the honorees are available here.
Check out more photos of the 2015 Barringer Awards dinner here.
Learn more about the Brookdale Alumni Association – and the unique benefits available to members – by visiting their website.