The President’s Outstanding Employee Award Winners Nick Cornwell and Mike Fowler.

WVSOM hosts ‘let’s taco ’bout 50 years’ event to celebrate retirees, employees

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Employee Celebration, recognizing seven retirees and distributing 16 awards in five categories to employees for their dedication to the medical school.

This year’s event was a Fiesta Celebration, with the theme of “let’s taco ‘bout 50 years” in recognition of the 50th anniversary of WVSOM’s founding. In addition to award recognitions, employees enjoyed a bingo game, pinatas and a taco and nacho bar.

“We continue to build our reputation as a leader in community programs. Our visibility is increasing and people around the state and country know your work,” WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., told employees. “We have much to be proud of. Our reputation and our opportunities will continue to grow. As we celebrate this moment in time in the 50th year of WVSOM’s founding, let’s be thankful for what we have. Remember we are always stronger together.”

The event recognized seven retirees: Karen Ayers, Connie Baldwin, Celia McLay, D.O., Sherry Phillips, John Reinholt, William Shires and Victoria Shuman, D.O.

The President’s Outstanding Employee Award, given annually to employees identified to the president through a vote by WVSOM faculty and staff as outstanding employees for the current academic year, recognizes exceptional and dedicated service to WVSOM. The goal of the award is to raise awareness of the indispensable contributions made by the employees to the quality, diversity and overall mission of WVSOM. Eleven employees were nominated. They were Crystal Boudreaux, Ph.D., Nick Cornwell, Stella Dodrill, Mike Fowler, Scott Maxwell, Sherri Miller, Heather Pickering, Deb Schmidt, D.O., Danny Seams, Jennifer Seams and Leah Stone. This year’s winners were Nick Cornwell and Mike Fowler.

Two faculty members, Christopher Kennedy, D.O., and Christopher Pankey, Ph.D., received this year’s President’s Outstanding Faculty Award. The award is presented each year to members of the faculty in recognition of their excellence in teaching and commitment to osteopathic medical education.

The Living Our Mission Award recognizes WVSOM staff who exemplify professional excellence, an understanding of and commitment to WVSOM, and a commitment to achieving the school’s mission. This year’s winners were Ryan Booth, Susan Griffith, Mindy McCormick, Tess McMillion, Bobbi Morgan, Heather Pickering, Randy Saunders, Leah Stone, Jill Trent and Todd Trent.

The Statewide Campus Pride Award recognizes an employee in one of WVSOM’s seven Statewide Campus regions who goes above and beyond in their service to WVSOM and to the students they serve. Employees receiving this award are people-oriented, respectful, innovative, dedicated and effective. Megan Meador was this year’s recipient.

The Rising Star Award honors a newly hired employee who has already demonstrated a strong commitment to the school, an understanding of how their position supports the school’s mission and a commitment to working with others to engage the school’s future. This year’s winner was Shelden Mullens.

The celebration also recognized employees for years of service in five-year increments. In addition to recognizing a number of employees who reached milestones of service, WVSOM recognized six employees who achieved 20 or more years of service as of June 2022. Cindi Knight has worked at WVSOM for 20 years; Andrea Nazar, D.O., and Kevin Williams for 30 years; and Betty Baker, Jeff Dowdy and James Nemitz, Ph.D., for 35 years.

David Beatty, D.O., was honored with professor emeritus distinction during the celebration. The honor of emeritus is granted at retirement in recognition of meritorious service. Two WVSOM faculty received promotions. They were Machelle Linsenmeyer, Ed.D., promoted to professor, and Tuoen Liu, M.D., Ph.D., promoted to associate professor.

Leslie Bicksler, WVSOM’s vice president of human resources, said the school’s faculty and staff consistently show that they are committed to the success of its medical students.

“Our employees have much to be proud of,” Bicksler said. “They are dedicated to ensuring we provide the best medical education possible. Each employee has an important role at WVSOM, and their passion for doing that job, supporting their colleagues and engaging with our students is evident in all that they do.”

WVSOM currently employs 300 people, 26 of whom have 20 or more years of service.