CAFNR may be only one college at MU, but it often looms large in university-wide awards. Two of four recipients of the 2011 Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award were CAFNR staff members. The awards recognize individual staff contributions to the University.
This year’s winning staff members were Donna Thomas in the administrative/professional category and Gordon Ellison in the crafts/maintenance category.
The awards are given to four support staff members whom “best reflect honor upon the University and the community through a combination of job performance, job-related personal qualities, relationship with their associates, and the ability to relate their work to the missions and values of the University.”
Thomas is an administrative associate of the Field Operations Staff for the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station. She has worked at CAFNR 12 of the 13 years she has worked for the University.
Ellison is a senior research Technician in CAFNR’s Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering. Ellison is a machinist/fabricator who builds and designs a variety of projects for students.
Thomas has worked at South Farm since 2000. Thomas’s father was an entomologist for the University for 40 years and did research at all of the farms.
“It’s been an honor to follow in his footsteps,” said Thomas. “When I first started and folks started to find out that I was Dr. Munson’s daughter that was how I was known. Now my dad is known as Donna Thomas’ father. I find that ironic but take great pleasure in working with all the folks my dad worked with for so many years.”
Thomas is on CAFNR Staff Council and chairs the staff enrichment committee. She is also liaison for all the farms and centers. She is in charge of payroll, accounting, maintenance, repairs, and the budget for all the farms and centers.
“I like working for CAFNR because of the variety of things I do,” said Ellison. “I get to be involved in some totally amazing projects.”
Ellison has built everything from microscope slides and electromagnets for CAFNR students, to warming tables for medical students, to a water contamination detector for the US Army.
“My job is very interesting because I never know what I’m getting myself involved in,” said Ellison.
“We were pretty proud to have two CAFNR staff members out of the four outstanding staff recipients,” said Thomas.
CAFNR staff Randall Smoot, superintendent of Greenley Research Center, was a finalist for the Administrative/Professional category and Jake Fisher, superintendent of the Delta Center, was recognized for 50 years of service.