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Blue Ridge Community College announces 2020 Employee Awards

Staff Reports

At Blue Ridge Community College, employees play a significant role in their students’ lives — as teachers, advisors, and mentors. Our faculty and staff assist students in finding purpose and direction in the educational process, setting them on a path to meet their career and life goals.

Pictured above from left: Carol Ann Lydon, Hamid Najafi, Wanda Gant, and Lynde Mickey
Pictured above from left: Carol Ann Lydon, Hamid Najafi, Wanda Gant, and Lynde Mickey

Each year Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation honors several outstanding employees for their service to the community, the College, and its students. The 2020 award recipients were announced last week by members of Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation Board of Directors.

The award winners are as follows:

Dr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award: Wanda Gant was awarded the Dr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award for her constant work helping multiple students daily with countless speeches, essays and other writing assignments. She teaches workshops on good study habits, test preparation, test anxiety and other valuable skills that many of our students need help developing.Student use of the Student Success Center is higher than it has ever been, having almost doubled over the past several years. Her workplace has come alive through her leadership, and it is now one of the most inviting and engaging spots on campus, complete with her sense of humor and positive attitude.

From left are: Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura Leatherwood and Wanda Gant
From left are: Blue Ridge President Dr. Laura Leatherwood and Wanda Gant

Dr. Molly A. Parkhill Staff Person of the Year Award: Carol Ann Lydon was awarded the Dr. Molly A. Parkhill Staff Person of the Year Award. Lydon was chosen because of her performance in 2019 that went above and beyond on a number of campus-wide projects and initiatives. Because of her volunteer work as an observer on a SACSCOC visiting team, Blue Ridge was recently reaffirmed by SACSCOC with no findings and absolutely zero recommendations. She’s also spearheaded the planning for the College’s 50th Anniversary luncheon event, which brought more than 350 community members to campus for a remarkable celebration. She also leads our very active Sustainability Committee, our Bee Campus initiative, and organizes Adopt-A-Highway trash pickup events. All of this is in addition to her regular work duties.

From left are: Lynde Mickey and past Blue Ridge President Dr. David W. Sink Jr.
From left are: Lynde Mickey and past Blue Ridge President Dr. David W. Sink Jr.

Carol Ann Lydon also received the Blue Ridge Wellness Award.
Dr. David W. Sink Jr. Community Service Award: Nursing faculty Lynde Mickey was chosen as the winner of the Dr. David W. Sink Jr. Community Service Award. Mickey is a volunteer at countless community organizations, including: the Junior Welfare Club of Hendersonville; Blue Ridge Humane Society; Hendersonville Cotillion Club, Hendersonville Women’s Club; Pardee Hospital Foundation and Henderson County Future Leaders Program. At Blue Ridge, she supports the fundraising of the Nursing Club, serves as Chair of the Faculty Senate, and was recently co-chair of the Educational Foundation Employee Fund Drive. Always positive and smiling, Mickey is a wonderful example of a community servant.

From left are: Carol Ann Lydon and past Blue Ridge President Dr. Molly A. Parkhill
From left are: Carol Ann Lydon and past Blue Ridge President Dr. Molly A. Parkhill

Dr. Eliza B. Graue Extra Mile Award: Student Success Center Adjunct Developmental Math Instructor Hamid Najafi is the winner of the Dr. Eliza B. Graue Extra Mile Award. He was chosen for his close work with students. Najafi often spends numerous hours tutoring students in math, engineering, chemistry and sometimes even office administration courses. He encourages each student to reach farther than they think they can, and always wants to know his students’ goals in life. He relates the usefulness of the content they are studying by explaining how the knowledge they obtain now will help them in the future.Najafi encourages each student to reach farther than they think they can, and always wants to know his students’ goals in life.

About Blue Ridge Community College: Blue Ridge Community College is a two-year, post-secondary institution that elevates the educational experience to prepare students for 21st century success in the workplace or at four-year colleges and universities. Providing real-life, affordable, and accessible education, the College offers more than 100 degrees, diplomas, and certificates; convenient online courses; and fast-tracked job training.

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