BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Eric Gordon is the 2015 winner of the Max L. Starkey Service Award
at Illinois Wesleyan University. President Richard F. Wilson announced Gordon as the
winner Aug. 21 at the annual Faculty-Staff Breakfast.
The Starkey Award, established in 2001, is given to a staff member whose loyalty,
enthusiasm and outstanding contributions have provided an invaluable service to the
Illinois Wesleyan community. The award is named in honor of the late Max Starkey,
an IWU member of the Class of 1957, who was the University’s controller for more than
39 years until his retirement in 1996. The award is made possible through a gift of
the Max Starkey family.
A 20-year employee of IWU, Gordon is mailroom coordinator in Publications, Printing
and Mailing Services (PPMS). Gordon volunteered to take on daily mail delivery in
spring 2014 in addition to his other responsibilities, which include working with
the United States Postal Service, coordinating UPS and FedEx package delivery services,
and assisting students, faculty and staff with mailing questions. Several nominators
mentioned Gordon’s cheerfulness, enthusiasm, ‘can-do’ attitude, and sense of humor
while delivering mail to their offices. “You can hear his laughter coming down the
hall when he’s on his mail route, and you know you’ll experience a few brief minutes
of fun in your stressful day,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote that Gordon “always
tries to make people feel good through humor. He’s a great ambassador for the school.”
Other nominators spoke of Gordon’s dedication to the job as his duties have changed
over the years in PPMS. “He’s punctual on his route, or will tell you why he’s delayed.
He’ll find the best postal rate for mailing packages, work related or personal, he’s
understanding when we have big mailings, he takes things in stride, and is very helpful
when we’re a little delayed meeting the last pickup of the day,” a nominator wrote.
Several nominators mentioned Gordon’s memorable co-hosting duties at the annual holiday
luncheon for faculty and staff, including writing and performing original humorous
songs for the event. “He’s a perfect emcee,” one nominator wrote. “Without really
trying, he can make everyone laugh and feel good.”
A committee of former Illinois Wesleyan staff and faculty and members of the Starkey
family selects the Starkey Award winner from nominations from the faculty and staff.
This year’s committee included: Todd Tucker, associate professor emeritus of music
theory; Agnes Huonker, former office coordinator in Admissions; Chris Prendergast,
professor emeritus of sociology; Lynn Nichelson, former assistant dean, Enrollment
Management; Emmalyn Dickinson, former office coordinator, Alumni Relations; and Norma
Criley, professor emerita of biology. Dana Starkey ’94 and Tina Starkey Swingler ’97,
two of Max Starkey’s children, were also involved in the committee’s determination
of the winner.