University Announces 2018 Staff, Faculty Awards

Aug. 23, 2018

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129,

University Announces 2018 Staff, Faculty Awards


CANYON, Texas—Four West Texas A&M employees were honored with some of the University’s highest awards at Wednesday’s annual Faculty/Staff Convocation.

Dr. Walter Wendler, University president, and Max Seymour, Staff Council president, presented the three coveted staff Mark Hinerawards—the Clarence E. Thompson Staff Excellence Award and two Staff Excellence Awards—and Dr. Wade Shaffer, provost and vice president for academic affairs and Freddie Davis, president of Faculty Senate, presented the Magister Optimus Award for faculty.

The Clarence E. Thompson Staff Excellence Award, the University’s highest staff honor, was presented to Mark Hiner, assistant vice president for business and finance.

Hiner joined the WTAMU staff in 1999 as director of Personnel Services and held that position until 2010 when he was named assistant vice president for business and finance. He has given more than 19 years of service to the University and has been known to willingly step in as the interim director of human resources when needed and as the interim vice president for business and finance. Hiner, a WTAMU alumnus, always has the University’s best interests at heart.

“Mark is everything you want in an employee—determined, willing, not afraid to go against the grain, knowledgeable—all while able to keep the fun and enjoyment in what we do,” Randy Rikel, vice president for business and finance, said. “If you give Mark a project, consider it completed professionally, well thought out and precise. It is an honor to call Mark a great co-worker, teammate and friend.”Johnny Story

Hiner was instrumental in the development of the University’s new housing incentive that saves students more than $3,000 by offering up to a year of free housing for those who elect to live on campus during the last two years of their college careers. It was one of his biggest projects this past year, and one nomination letter read, “He understands the implicit needs of our students and wants the best for them.”

Staff Excellence Awards went to Johnny Story, broadcast engineer, and Joe Bill Sherrod, development officer.

Story, a WTAMU alumnus, started working at the University in 2006 as a student worker for KWTS in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities. After graduating, he joined athletics in 2009 as a multimedia developer. Three years later he moved to the Department of Communication as a broadcast engineer.

“Johnny Story, in many ways, is the glue that holds together the instructional and outreach efforts of media communication,” Dr. Trudy Hanson, head of the Department of Communication, said. “The passion he bringsJoe Bill Sherrod to all of his work is evident in the finished product. He brings to all that he does a high standard of excellence and his strong work ethic. The Department of Communication is so fortunate to have a staff member like Johnny.”

Sherrod has been with the University for almost nine years. He joined the staff in 2009 as a development officer and was promoted to senior development officer in 2011. He was later promoted to director of development in 2015 and again in 2017 to development officer IV. Sherrod is dedicated to his work and recently stepped in as interim vice president for institutional advancement, where he served for more than six months. His tenure as the interim vice president earned him high praise for a job well done.

“Joe Bill is a dedicated servant of West Texas A&M University,” Wendler said. “He works tirelessly to benefit students, the faculty that teach them and the programs that help guide their aspirations. On top of all that, he is a gentleman. He treats all donors with dignity and respect and is one of the finest co-workers I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.”

The Magister Optimus Award for faculty, which translates to “best teacher,” was presented to Dr. Amy Von Lintel, assocDr. Amy Von Linteliate professor of art history and Doris Alexander Endowed Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts. The award recognizes outstanding faculty members who excel in every aspect of their work, and Von Lintel definitely epitomizes the Magister Optimus criteria. She joined the Sybil B. College of Fine Arts and Humanities in 2010 and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in art history. She serves as director of the gender studies certificate program at WTAMU and has led study abroad courses to London, Athens and Edinburgh. She is active in cultural programs and is known to include site visits to museums and galleries into her courses. She is a scholar, curator and author. Her book, Georgia O’Keeffe: Watercolors received a silver medal in the fine arts category of the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards and was named a “Top Pick” among the Southwest Books of the Year.

Hiner, Story, Sherrod and Von Lintel will join the three 2018 Faculty Excellence Award winners—Dr. Bonney MacDonald, University Instructional Excellence Award, Dr. Arn Womble, University Intellectual Contribution Award, and Dr. Jason Yarbrough, University Professional Service Award—and Samantha Green, Staff Employee of the Year, as honorees at the annual Gallery of Excellence reception in November at Cornette Library.


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