At the college Spring Convocation eight employees were individually recognized for outstanding service to the campus community.

The energy sculpture is shown in the foreground with the clocktower building in the background.

Thanks to the generosity of community donors and the San Juan College Foundation, San Juan College faculty and staff were recognized for outstanding achievements at the Spring 2023 Convocation in January.

President's Mission Awards

The President’s Mission Awards, presented by San Juan College President Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, are designed to call attention to a full-time faculty member, adjunct faculty member, and a member of the professional and support staff who goes beyond what is expected in service to the College’s mission. The recognition is given in the form of an engraved plaque and a check in the amount of $300.

Troy Brown was presented with the faculty award. Brown is an assistant professor and the coordinator for the Fire Science program. He is enthusiastic and his style of leadership has enabled the program to rise from the lowest to the highest achievable rank in the industry. Brown’s knowledge and experience in the field is “second to none.” Students regularly state they feel inspired and challenged after completing one of Brown’s courses. His dedication to students and San Juan College is on display every day.

Perry Woolsey was awarded the adjunct faculty award as an instructor in the Industrial Process Operator program. Students trust him, respect him and want to perform for him. Woolsey is known for recognizing the uniqueness of each student. He will work with a student, no matter how long it takes, to help them achieve success. In addition to teaching at the School of Energy, Woolsey teaches dual credit at Aztec High School. Since he started teaching dual credit, the class sizes have quadrupled and the profile of the program has soared.

Frank Cole, senior director of Purchasing, was given the professional staff award. Cole ensures compliance with the New Mexico state laws and federal mandates. He never fails in his duties to the College and stays professionally current. Much of Cole’s work is reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees. Without his role, few budget managers or college leaders would be able to maneuver through the myriad of complex requirements that can be an administrative obstacle course of legal barbs as they initiate construction projects, IT acquisitions, contracted services, supplies, furniture, field courses, equipment and more.

Juanita Pacheco, senior accounting technician, was presented with the support staff award. Pacheco is known for her big heart and compassionate nature. She makes employees feel welcome with her approachable demeanor. Pacheco is a determined problem solver who will keep working on a problem until a solution is found. She is service-minded, detail-oriented, and demonstrates exceptional organizational skills.

Annabelle Friddle Outstanding Educator Award

Travis Wade, assistant professor of English in the School of Humanities, was honored with the San Juan College Foundation Annabelle Friddle Outstanding Educator Award. Wade has been with San Juan College for more than 7 years. He has helped his students develop a passion for the English language. Students have said that he brings out the best in them and helps them learn to communicate openly and confidently. They also say that Wade goes above and beyond to make English literature relatable and understandable by applying it to daily life. His guidance is offered without hesitation, and his compassion is displayed in his teaching. The Annabelle Friddle Outstanding Educator Award is nominated by students and chosen by a panel of students. The honoree receives a $2,500 cash award from the San Juan College Foundation, which was made possible by the generosity of the late Annabelle Friddle. San Juan College students are fortunate to have Travis Wade in their lives.

Jane & Stuart Wilson Professional Staff Award

The San Juan College Foundation Jane and Stuart Wilson Professional Staff Award was presented to Linda Schwinghammer, director of the Testing Center. Schwinghammer is described by one of her colleagues as the “best-kept secret at San Juan College.” She quietly goes about her work, never looking for recognition. She has anchored the Testing Center for more than a decade, and it stands for a model of excellence, providing secure proctored testing to SJC students and the community. Schwinghammer also played an integral role in the development of the Caring Campus Initiative, and she has served as the Professional Staff Association chair. The award carries a $500 stipend.

Jane & Stuart Wilson Adjunct Faculty Award

James Martin, this year’s Jane and Stuart Wilson Adjunct Faculty award recipient, is passionate about teaching others. Martin’s native language is American Sign Language. He is always willing to teach anyone who wants to learn. His vast knowledge and experience make him an excellent advocate for the language and culture surrounding it. In his classes, he tries to involve every student and encourages hands-on learning. According to his students, he makes learning another language fun. The award carries a $500 stipend.

The Golden Sun Award

Bill Hatch, professor of Fine Arts, was honored by last year’s Golden Sun Award recipient, Kathy Hurd. The award is passed from one SJC colleague to another. Hurd recounted that one of his students said Professor Hatch instills confidence in his students and makes them feel like Picasso. Another one of his students said she still paints today after taking his class 10 years ago. Being a frontline person in registration, Hurd has watched as a devoted group of students made sure they were among the first in line when registration started to grab a coveted spot in class. There is a reason why this professor is still sought after — he is a master at his craft. Professor Hatch also has a passion for collecting acorns. Hatch has given hundreds of acorns to SJC and even planted trees around campus. As a result, in 2020, San Juan College was recognized as a Tree Campus USA on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation. The Golden Sun Award carries a $300 stipend made possible by internal and external supporters of the San Juan College Foundation. Sincere thanks are extended to the donors and the San Juan College Foundation for the opportunity to recognize excellence at San Juan College.