CNM Community Honors Its Own at Convocation

September 3, 2015 -- The CNM community came together on Friday to honor its own during Convocation, when several faculty and staff members were recognized for outstanding contributions to the college during the event program, which included inspiring talks about CNM’s values.
September 03, 2015

CNM Vice President of Academic Affairs Sydney Gunthorpe announced the recipients of the 2015 Faculty Awards, saying that "all of these faculty members are truly exceptional teachers who are greatly admired by their students and their peers."

The recipients included: Ann Brooks, part-time faculty member from the School of Business & Information Technology (BIT); Saul Carrasco, full-time faculty member from the School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety (HWPS); Joe Damour, part-time faculty member from the School of Communication, Humanities & Social Sciences (CHSS); Penny Mortier, part-time faculty member from the School of Adult & General Education (SAGE); Paula Nellessen, part-time faculty member from the School of Math, Science & Engineering (MSE); Victoria Denise Ojeda, full-time faculty member from the School of Applied Technologies (AT); Kalynn Pirkl, full-time faculty member from BIT; Asako Stone, full-time faculty member from CHSS; Matthew Thomas, part-time faculty member from HWPS; Andrew Tibble, full-time faculty member from SAGE; and Shawn Wright, full-time faculty member from MSE.Angelicasmall2.jpg

From these faculty members who were named by their schools as Distinguished Faculty, two CNM Distinguished Faculty Award Winners were selected. The 2015 CNM Part-time Distinguished Faculty Award winner was Paula Nellessen and the 2015 CNM Full-time Distinguished Faculty Award winner was Kalynn Pirkl.

Also at Convocation, four staff members were presented with the 2015 PNM Employee Awards. In 2011, PNM provided CNM with a donation that helps CNM reward its most outstanding staff members for embodying CNM's mission and values.

This year's PNM Employee Award recipients were Tamra Mason, dean of HWPS; Loretta Montoya, comptroller of Fiscal Operations in the Business Office; Doug Atler, academic advisor in Academic Advisement & Career Development; and Rickie Brooks, maintenance II in Facilities.

During Convocation, attendees watched a video of fellow employees who talked about why the recipients deserved the awards.

Gunthorpe talked about Mason. "Tamra, you've done an amazing job building a great team of people in HWPS and hiring some new amazing faculty members who have just done an outstanding job in building programs and refining programs. Your work ethic is amazing. I wish you took more time off and I wish you weren't here so late at night. But Tamra you accomplish an amazing amount of things."


Eugene Padilla, associate vice president of Student Services, said this about Montoya. "When I think about the number of years that you and I have worked together, it's amazing. You're caring, you're courageous, you're connected. And when I think about those values of CNM, I think about our meetings when we have been sitting around talking about how tuition really impacts the student. How soon we can get financial aid checks out. For you, behind the numbers is a student. Because they're not just numbers to you." Jennifer Cornish, executive director of Multi-Campus Operations, noted this about Atler. "I met you about 15 years ago or so, maybe a little less. And you were a student employee in Academic Advisement where I was working, and at the front desk, you were able to sort of hone your skills at welcoming students into the CNM community. And later I was able to have the honor to really hire you to be the career center manager at the Montoya Campus. And what I don't know at the time was that you had to take a bus from where you lived in the South Valley to the Montoya campus every day. It took you two hours each way. And you never failed. You always arrived on time."

Ernesto Rodriguez, maintenance II in Facilities, said this about Brooks. "I appreciate everything that you do for us, and all the knowledge that you give us and the smile that you carry every day. I don't know how you do it, but I'm glad that you do it and I appreciate it boss."

Randy Mascorella, executive director of Special Olympics New Mexico, opened Convocation by delivering the keynote address on the topic of "Values Driven Leadership."

That was followed by select faculty, staff and students giving talks on CNM's new values. Former CNM student Angelica Ruiz-Olivas talked about the value of "Be Exceptional." Faculty member Jim Niforatos talked about "Be Inspiring." Faculty member David Beach talked about "Be Connected." Faculty member Susan Johnson talked about "Be Caring." Internal auditor Allen Leatherwood talked about "Be Ethical." Former CNM student Mikaylah Smith talked about "Be Courageous."

CNM President Katharine Winograd was the final speaker of the evening. She spoke passionately about the importance of each of CNM's new values – Be Caring, Be Ethical, Be Inspiring, Be Connected, Be Exceptional and Be Courageous – and how they will lead CNM into the future.

"If we live our values every single day and if we continue to build on the magnificent things we do and the incredible opportunities that we have made for our students, we will only get better," President Winograd said. "This college is an amazing place, and it is amazing because of you. I thank you for that."