MC's Class of 2002: Prepared to take on the unexpected

Dr. Gerald Gibson, president of the College, presented outstanding administrator and staff awards during commencement. Candidates were nominated by their peers for outstanding individual performance; a committee made recommendations to Gibson.

Receiving the Nancy B. Hunter Outstanding Staff Award was Richard Henderson of Maryville, HVAC specialist in the physical plant department.

Gibson described him as a valued employee and a person who played an integral role in the day-to-day operations of the campus - "especially when places get a little too warm or a little too cool for the inhabitants' comfort."

Quoting from one nomination form, Gibson said of Henderson: "'He loves this place and all the people he works with. He is a talented electrician and HVAC expert, but it is his friendly demeanor and smile that makes him a great candidate for this award.'"

Jack Abbott of Alcoa, mechanical trades manager, was recognized with the Outstanding Administrator Award.

"When you're a jack-of-all-trades on the Maryville College campus, it's hard to go home at quitting time - and stay there," Gibson said. "Expertise, talent and 14 years of experience keep your phone ringing - day, night, weekends and holidays - when problems arise.

"This year's winner of the Outstanding Administrator is just that: a jack-of-all-trades."

Cydna Savage of Maryville, was presented with the Sharon A. Murphy Crane Distinguished Service Award for her work as director of the College's student health center.

"In every organization, whether a college or business or even a home, there is always one person all the others know they can depend on," Gibson said of Savage. "This year's winner has been a part of the Maryville College family for the last five years. In those years, she has not only done a terrific job with those responsibilities listed in her job description; she has worked for the 'general good of the College' by serving on committees, organizing community-building opportunities among faculty and staff and advocating for students.

"… Maryville College is better for having this person among our ranks, and I use the word 'better' in both the comparative sense and the medical sense," Gibson continued. "She makes us feel better when she's here."


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2014 semester is 1,213.