Retirees Honored and Faculty and Staff Recognized at Annual Appreciation Luncheon

Posted on May 4th, 2017 by Danielle Staub

Averett University held its annual Faculty, Staff and Retiree Appreciation Luncheon on May 4 in the Student Center. The University honored and celebrated its retirees, the faculty and staff members of the year, those who received degrees and faculty who have been awarded tenure.

Dr. Tiffany Franks, president of Averett, thanked everyone in the room for their hard work and dedication to the University.

“That’s why I love this event so much, so I can look at all of you together and tell you how deeply, deeply grateful I am for every one of you and all that you do,” Franks said.

This year, Averett is saying goodbye to four long-time members of the Averett Family: Sandy Bash, administrative assistant, Housing and Residence Life Office, 2006- 2017; Hank Dempsey, assistant professor, Aviation, 2008-2017; Sarah Pressley, assistant professor, School of Nursing, 2015-2017; and Barbara “Bobbi” Styons, office assistant and bookkeeper, Bon Appetit, 2006-2017.

Bash came to Averett in 2006 as an assistant in the vice president of academic affairs office, and soon moved to the residence life office as an administrative assistant. Bash has always known that her mission in life was to love and nurture students. She knows how to develop them, celebrate them, and raise them because she will tell you, “all of my kids are always on my mind.” She will also tell you that students are fun and they need to be loved. She has never wavered in that philosophy. She cares deeply for her kids and many successful students are testimony to that sentiment.

Dempsey’s journey to becoming a professor in the Aviation department was a bit circuitous but one that allowed him to do all that he loves to do…teach students and be a musician. He has flown for the private sector and worked in higher education. Dempsey served in the United States Army, Third Infantry Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, Honor Guard Company, Washington, DC 4th Armored Division Band; Nurnberg, Germany. Proudly, he earned an Honorable Discharge. Dempsey has worked as a freight pilot and then a corporate pilot and then ultimately, saw the ad for Averett University’s aviation program and as they say, the rest is history. He accepted a faculty contract at Averett for the fall 2008 – 2009 academic year and was granted tenure May of 2014.

After 25 years in higher education and 40 in the nursing field, Pressley has come full circle. She is an Averett alumnus, a retired nursing faculty member of Danville Regional Hospital and Southside Virginia Community College, and is currently a member of Averett’s School of Nursing. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Averett, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro in 1993, and has been educating nursing students ever since. Pressley’s mission in life has been to serve nursing students and new parents as a childbirth educator. She has received many awards through her 40-plus-year career, and was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the Alpha Chi National Honor Society.

Styons came to Bon Appetit from Dan River Mills and has served as the Chef’s office assistant and bookkeeper for seven years. She will be spending more time with her family and friends as she tries out retirement, and will help Bon Appetit in the transition this summer on a part-time basis.

During the luncheon, three faculty members were congratulated for being awarded tenure for the 2017-18 academic year: Dr. Andrew Canady, assistant professor of History, honors program director; Dr. Jimmie Turner, associate professor, Physical Sciences; and Melanie Lewis, assistant professor, Physical Education Wellness & Sport Science and clinical coordinator of the Athletic Training Education program. Lewis was also promoted to director of the Athletic Training program for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The Faculty Member of the Year Award, presented by the Faculty Council, went to Dr. Richard Ferguson, professor, Physical Education Wellness & Sport Science and department chair, Phys. Ed. The Staff Council awarded Dr. Alexis Ehrhardt, executive director of the CCECC, Staff Member of the Year.

In addition, the University recognized faculty and staff who reached years of service milestones from five to 40, and those who earned a degree this year.