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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Award to recognize faculty members who inspire

In honor of an administrator remembered for inspiring and reaching out to students, the annual John J. Koldus Faculty and Staff Achievement Award recognizes Texas A&M employees who go the extra mile to nurture and encourage their own students.
In an age of expansion for the University, Roy Lopez, senior regional advisor in the office of admissions, said honoring faculty members who reach out to students is paramount.
“Bottom line is that we here at Aggieland are here to educate the future of tomorrow, to make sure that our University is represented well,” Lopez said. “We are an Aggie family and we can never forget that. I don’t care how big we get, we will always be an Aggie family.”
Violetta Cook, director of the sponsored student programs and Koldus Award recipient of the 2001-2002 award, said she treasured the honor.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Cook said. “We get many rewards in our life but when its something you believe in it really brings those tears.”
Cook said the most important part of her work is addressing the students’ needs.
“The Koldus award is about taking care of students,” Cook said. “[Putting] the students first, to be educated, nurtured and guided. It’s all about the students. If there is somebody who needs you, you’re there. You just simply pick up and go help.”
Lopez won the Koldus Award last year and said it was greatly significant to him.
“The Koldus Award is a special award,” Lopez said. “Being born and raised in Bryan-College Station and winning the Koldus Award was special because it was special to the local community, especially the Hispanic community. I was the second Hispanic to receive the Koldus Award in its history.”
Lopez said family is the most important aspect about Texas A&M and tries to exemplify that belief every day.
“What A&M says about the family, it really truly is a family,” Lopez said. “Every student to me on the campus is family and I have to take care of my family. If an Aggie falls down I reach out and help them out. It’s all about the student.”
Lopez said his Koldus Award serves as a reminder for how important the Aggie family is to him.
“When I wear this Aggie Ring and look at that Koldus award it helps remind me of what it’s all about,” Lopez said. “I hope we don’t lose what the family tradition is all about.”
Cindy Smith, assistant to the vice president of student affairs, said the award was first given in 1988 as a tribute to Koldus.
“The award was designed to honor his example,” Smith said. “We look for candidates who go beyond occupational requirements – through guidance, leadership and personal interest to enhance students’ experiences at TAMU.”
The recipient usually does not know they are receiving the award until it is presented at the Division of Student Affairs Awards Ceremony, Smith said.
“We prefer it to be a surprise and we go through elaborate steps to ensure that,” Smith said.
Jason Boyle, manager of Insurance Services and winner of the 2006-2007 Koldus Award, said he remembered the surprise he felt when receiving the award.
“The student affairs ceremonies are pretty awesome,” Boyle said. “It’s like the Oscars. Winning the award was a complete surprise. I had no idea. My wife was smiling and then I knew.”
The family of the award recipient is usually brought in for the ceremony. Lopez said seeing his family was the best part.
“My favorite part when I received the award was seeing my mom, dad, wife and family sitting in the audience,” Lopez said. “For them to see their son receive such a prestigious award was very special. I had tears in my eyes.”
The award has evolved over the years, and now, along with a plaque, the award includes a $2,000 honorarium that is donated to any Texas A&M organization of the recipient’s choice.
Boyle donated his honorarium to Carpool as the organization’s then-adviser. He said the award hinges on student feedback.
“If the students really understood the legacy of Dr. Koldus and what the award stands for it would help allow for more nominations,” Boyle said. “Seeing the student feedback and realizing that the students took time to nominate you is very humbling.”
Boyle said the consideration of student input is empowering.
“It is impactful for the students to actually have a voice and actually have an impact on the people who work for them,” Boyle said. “It really is a big deal.”
Nominee submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

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