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President’s Update: Who Are These Amazing Award Recipients?

Carin Smith, President, presides over the Membership Meeting at Conference

Okay, I’ll admit it; one of the greatest things about being IACAC President is the fact that at each year’s annual spring conference the President gets to award amazing members for their contributions to our organization, in particular, and the college counseling profession in general. The President’s job is to solicit suggestions from the IACAC Executive Board and Standing Committee Chairs of individuals who, in our opinion, have gone above and beyond in their contributions: contributions of time, of talent, of number crunching, of editing, of organizing, contributions of bringing new ideas to fruition, of stepping outside the box and digging in to get a job done, of arguing a point, demanding the best of others and of themselves. Yes, often these contributions happen “after hours,” in addition to the demands of our “paying” jobs and sometimes at the expense of our families and friends, and the hours our heads should be spending on our pillows.

IACAC annually presents three awards at our spring conference, two of which are the responsibility of the president: the James A. Alexander Newcomer Award (inaugurated in 1987 to recognize significant contributions of members with fewer than five years’ involvement with IACAC), and the Molly K. Arnold President’s Service Recognition Award (inaugurated in 1999 to recognize members with more than five years’ service who have provided strong and consistent leadership to IACAC). These awards are presented at the Thursday luncheon, and usually include hugs and applause and, this year, a somewhat scandalous “word” being uttered by one of the recipients, but like weddings and graduations and house closings, the event comes and goes in a matter of minutes and then typically, that’s it. Certainly, our award winners become part of IACAC history and are listed on our website and in our directory, but the fleeting moment allotted for accolades is far too brief. More importantly, the opportunity for the president to talk about these individuals’ contributions is WAY too short. And, I realize, far too many of our members are not able to attend the conference and don’t get to witness this ceremony in person.

So…………………I’d like to spend my “space” – in this, my last President’s Update telling you just a little bit about each of these individuals and encouraging everyone reading this article to try and get to know these individuals – I believe they will play a key role in shaping the future of both IACAC and our profession.

***One quick disclaimer: comments about each individual are based solely on my interactions and knowledge of the award recipient and are not meant at all to be a comprehensive history of their IACAC involvement.

James A. Alexander Newcomer Award Recipients for 2011

2011 James A. Alexander Newcomer Recipients and President Carin Smith

Megan O’Rourke, Butler University

Megan made a very fateful phone call to me last summer asking for an opportunity to get more involved, “I am passionate about this organization and I have time to contribute.” After literally discussing every IACAC Standing Committee and Megan’s specific talents, we settled on the new, and yet unproven, Media Communications Committee. Megan, along with her fellow committee chairs quickly became all things “media” related for IACAC; Megan’s specific contribution has been to spearhead, organize, edit, create, and work through, our new online newsletter. I’m not sure she really knew what she was getting into, but we should all be grateful she made that phone call and took on this adventure!

Eric Ruiz, University of St. Francis

Eric was kind enough at the 2010 conference to walk me through (in public and with great patience) posting status updates to the conference Facebook and to my own personal Facebook. Now if you know me, just imagine this conversation between a relatively newer admissions counselor who is also tech-savvy, and the opinionated, “been around quite a few years,” president-elect, new to Facebook me?! This was but a glimpse of Eric’s ability to listen carefully and give direction with a stunning sense of ease and humor. Eric has recently signed on as a new chair for the National College Fair committee.

Sam Stover, Beloit College

Sam approached me at the 2010 conference social (of all places!!), to pick my brain about how he might get more involved with IACAC. As we worked through his interests and talents we came upon two possibilities: mentorship and Government Relations Committee. I was thinking one or the other, and Sam took them both on. Sam’s initial concern about his ability to be seen as a viable IACACer – given that he works for an out-of-state institution and lives in Wisconsin – was quickly overlooked when we discovered that Sam spends every bit as much time in Illinois as he does “at home.” He travelled with the GRC to the Day on the Hill in Springfield and presented the report about this event to the Executive Board in March.

Molly K. Arnold President’s Service Recognition Award Recipients for 2011

2011 Molly K. Arnold President’s Service Recognition Award Recipients and President Carin Smith

Judy Hendricks, The Ohio State University

Judy has served on a number of IACAC Committees during her tenure in admissions, the one she served on the longest and speaks the most passionately about is Admission Practices. I selfishly asked her to be part of the ICE/Calendar committee because I knew she would work tirelessly on the phone to nail down fair dates we needed and hadn’t received. Her most recent contribution to IACAC has been to be the final proofreader and editor for all the articles appearing in the online newsletters – she is a master at this task. However, her greatest contribution to IACAC these last couple of years has been the sage advice, sound reasoning, and problem-solving suggestions she has offered (free!) to me as we logged countless hours driving to and from college fairs together. No one can tell you to “just get over yourself” any better than Judy Hendricks.

Julie Marlatt, University of St. Francis

Julie’s talents and rising star reputation came to my attention via Molly Arnold (yep, the same Molly Arnold for whom this award is named). For those of you who were fortunate enough to spend any professional or personal time with Molly, you know that she was a pretty quick and accurate judge of a person’s ability. I was blessed to know Molly well enough that when she pointed someone out, I paid attention. At last year’s conference, I wanted desperately to make social media a front-and-center piece of what we were doing. I knew nothing more about Facebook and Twitter than the fact that my children, and many of the younger IACACers were all about this means of communication. I couldn’t talk the talk, nor walk the walk, but when I contacted Julie about spearheading this project, she graciously agreed – with only one prerequisite, I had to set up a Facebook of my own within the next 72 hours. Seriously?! I did and look where she and her Media Communications Committee has taken us!!

Bart Sinks, Marion High School

I would venture to guess that many, many IACAC members have no idea where Marion, IL is located on a map, nor do they have much of a sense for how many miles Marion is from the Chicago area – that would be 330 miles – one way!! My rough calculations would indicate that Bart Sinks logged over 9,000 miles travelling to Executive Board meetings and Finance Committee meetings in his two years serving as IACAC treasurer. He presided over four Finance committee meetings during his tenure and in each instance he was the only male in the room!! He carefully monitored our overall financial picture during some of the toughest economic times we have faced in a long time. He did this with humility, good humor and a “southern” charm that will be deeply missed.

Patrick Walsh, Illinois State University

Patrick tends to be a man – I thought – of few words. What I discovered during Patrick’s tenure as a delegate to the NACAC Assembly, and this year as our Chief Delegate, is that Patrick simply chooses his words carefully, is judicious with the timing of speaking those words, and when he talks, people listen. He can command the attention of a crowd (and has done this both when steering our own delegates and on the assembly floor at the NACAC Convention), he patiently considers the opinions of others, and works tirelessly to understand complicated assembly issues. Thankfully, Patrick will be remaining on the board as he moves into the role of IACAC Treasurer.  My only complaint with Patrick is that he’s a diehard Cardinals fan!!

Congratulations to each of these individuals one more time. Your good work has not gone unnoticed!

Carin Smith
Lawrence University
IACAC President

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