On Wednesday, October 5, 2022, Bellarmine honored several faculty and staff for their commitments and contributions to the university at the Bellie Awards. Two days after Bellarmine's 72nd birthday, President Susan Donovan and members of Bellarmine's faculty and staff gathered to honor individuals celebrating milestone anniversaries of their time as Bellarmine employees, as well as individuals who have shown exemplary attributes and helped shape the university.
At the Bellies, award recipients receive a "Bellarmine jug," also known as the greybeard or the bearded-man jug. This is a 16th century salt-glazed stoneware vessel with a round belly and a bearded face on the neck opposite the handle. The German-made jug, typically used to store spirits, is usually finished in a mottled golden brown or gray and sometimes with splashes of cobalt blue. While some sources say the jugs were caricatures of St. Robert Bellarmine, this has largely been discounted, as he would have been only 8 years old when the oldest known example was created in 1550.
Hidden Wholeness Award for Internationalization and Inclusion (three winners)
Bellarmine University embraces the richness of diversity, multiculturalism and internationalization so that students, faculty and staff gain global competencies through international study and international experience. To be fully educated, a person must be able to apply a global perspective to analyses of social, economic, political and environmental issue. To fully live, a person must be able to recognize, understand and love similarities and differences among peoples, religions, customs, arts, and cultures of the world.
Dr Frank Hutchins
Dr. Hutchins is a Professor in our Sociology program and is known amongst his students and colleagues for his courage and compassion, as well as for being someone who puts his beliefs and values into action through his everyday life. His nominator expressed admiration for Dr. Hutchins’ ability to teach his students how to have “dialogue across differences” in the classroom and the great successes which emerge from Dr. Hutchins’ annual student trip to the US / Mexico Border.
Fr. John Pozhathuparambil
Fr. John is a Franciscan Friar and Bellarmine’s Campus Minister. He is known throughout the Bellarmine community for the care and compassion he shows all students, regardless of faith tradition. Fr. John has increased the internationalization of our community through an annual immersive experience to his hometown in Indian and later in the spring each year with the India Day Utsav. Through these initiatives he has spread an awareness of the Indian culture throughout our campus community.
Dr. Heather Pruss
Dr. Pruss is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice with a passion for restorative justice. She works tirelessly with our students to cultivate active citizenship and preparing them to impact our world. Through her courses, she teaches the importance of social activism and advocating for the disruption of an inequitable system.
Catholic Identity In the Inclusive Spirit of Thomas Merton Award
From its very beginning, Catholicism at Bellarmine University has sought to be faithful, creative and inquiring. Bellarmine is committed to academic freedom and to the search for truth, wherever that search may lead. We affirm both faith and reason as important and compatible ways of knowing, and we emphasize not only academic excellence, but also ethical awareness in all we do, in order to provide an educational environment that addresses ultimate questions of meaning and value. Our Catholic identity in the inclusive spirit of Thomas Merton is the foundation of our commitment to student fulfillment. This award, therefore, goes to a colleague whose work is emblematic of our Catholic Identity in the inclusive spirit of Thomas Merton.
Dr. Liz Byron
Dr. Byron is the Director of the Center for Community Engagement and is emblematic of the qualities honored in this award. One nominator wrote “Liz infuses countless hours, intention and compassion into her work. Whether it is helping our campus to reflect on the meaning of social justice in a divisive political context, coordinating opportunities for mutually beneficial learning and development with community partners, or working to amplify the voices and experiences of faculty and student leaders, she does all of it with deep personal and professional commitment to fulfilling the spirit of open dialogue, critical discourse, and inclusive practices. We are living into our mission to prepare tomorrow's leaders for meaningful lives of engagement and Liz is helping pave our pathway.”
Community, Collegiality, and Civility Award
Good academic citizenship, genuine collegiality in our work with one another, and civility in our discourse - all are vital qualities in the university’s ability to fulfill its mission. They are prerequisites for good teaching, research and service and, as such, they are core values of our community.
Kathleen is a two-time alum of Bellarmine and has worked in the business office since she was a student. She now she serves as one of the members of our accounting team. In a nomination, one individual wrote of Kathleen’s eagerness to always find a possible win-win solution for any concern that may arise and of how her dependability, work ethic and integrity made her a cherished member of any team. For these reasons, Kathleen Burns is being awarded the Community, Collegiality, and Civility Award.
Cura Personalis (four winners)
Cura Personalis -- meaning "Care of the Person" -- is an essential value in the Jesuit education tradition which formed St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., and it describes the ideal relationship between educators and students, and among all those who work together in the university community. Cura Personalis demonstrates care for each person as an individual, and for each individual as a whole person, thereby modeling a key core value of the Bellarmine community. This award therefore goes to the person who demonstrates individualized attention to the needs of the other, respect for their unique circumstances and concerns, and an appreciation for their particular gifts.
John was not able to join us this afternoon so we will find another opportunity to present him with his Bellie; however, I would like to share about continue and share about why he is being recognized. John is the Head Coach for the Men and Women’s Swim Teams. John is known for compassion, his friendliness and his selfless acts to help advance the university. His nominator wrote about the individual care John exhibits for every person he encounters and his unwavering commitment to the student experience. John is consistently one of the first individuals to volunteer when assistance is needed and truly lives out our mission to improve the human condition.
Dr. Dominique Clayton
Dr. Clayton is the Assistant Dean of Academic Services within the Student Success Center. In Dr. Clayton’s nomination, one individual wrote “In her work with tutoring and the writing center, she not only helps so many students achieve academic success, but engages with each of them as individuals. She is an incredible mentor to our tutors, modeling for them a holistic approach to student success. I have become a better faculty member due to her support for students”
Dr. Caitlin Murphy
Dr. Murphy is an Assistant Professor of Education with a specialization in Adolescent Literacy. In the nomination for Dr. Murphy, one individual wrote about the care and concern Dr. Murphy has for each of her students citing she is an embodiment of the adage, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Through her teaching and her ability to see the humanity of each person, she supports future educators in developing the skills to create classrooms which affirm and celebrate diversity and inclusion and seek equity.
Pam’s role on campus officially is the Deputy Director of Athletics; however, to many, her role is mentor, listener, advocate, and friend. Her nominators described her selfless acts of care and passion which recognizes and celebrates the dignity of everyone she encounters. Pam has a special ability to ensure everyone who solicits her guidance and comfort feels validated, heard and encouraged to be their authentic selves. Pam is a role model for women’s athletics and assists them in achieving success at Bellarmine and beyond.
Global Sustainability Award
An informed love of nature, an appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living things, and a sense of responsibility for the future our society is creating, all are among the hallmarks of a bellarmine education. Environmental challenges transcend national boundaries, and so will solutions to those challenges. The global sustainability award goes to a member of our community whose actions best exemplify an appreciation and love of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all of life and a consideration of future generations in today's decisions; and whose environmental consciousness sets an example that leads our community toward greener, more intelligent and responsible ways of living.
Dr. Michele Abee
Dr. Abee (who was unavailable to receive her award in-person during the celebration) is an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies program and has been instrumental in the revitalization of the Bellarmine farm for use in supplementing the items in the Knights Pantry. A nominator wrote that her passion for sustainability and service to Bellarmine not only benefits student learning, but also has a profound impact on the Metro area.
Homines Pro Aliis For Service to Others (three winners)
Homines Pro Aliis, meaning “men and women for others,” is an important characteristic of the Jesuit educational tradition that formed St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., and calls us to seek to achieve the full potential of mind and of heart by leading a life beyond self through service to others.
Robert Burt and Dale Mills.
Dale and Burt have served Bellarmine as members of our facilities team for a combined 37 years, working on campus throughout the pandemic to provide services to support the needs of our students. Recently, they embraced the university’s mission of service to others when they assisted a student from U of L after they were involved in an accident on the Watterson Expressway. The parent of the student stated, “Bellarmine embodies the mission to improve the human condition, and uphold ethical behavior, and these two gentlemen were the presence of Christ holding out grace to the stranger on the road.”
The Office of Public Safety
The Office of Public Safety is a 24/7 department which keeps our campus community running smoothly all year long, particularly serving on campus throughout the pandemic to keep our campus safe and healthy. Nominators noted how members of the Public Safety team are good-hearted individuals who go out of their way to ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging on campus no matter their identity. They truly enjoy providing a service to the entire Bellarmine community and frequently go above and beyond to help.
Hospitality in the Merton Spirit
In its deepest, truest sense, “Hospitality” means welcoming the new, the unknown, and the different. It is a genuine openness to new people and to new ideas. This years recipients exemplify the bigness of heart that characterizes our community and helps make Bellarmine a university like no other.
Kristin is the Director of Special Events and is the manifestation of the Bellarmine hospitality to anyone who interacts with our campus community. Kristin is known for her ability to elevate any event or project she touches and makes it feel special and unique for those in attendance. She is always willing to lend a hand to make sure our community members and guests feel welcome.
Jackie is the Associate Director of Career Development and is known as the unofficial ambassador of hospitality on campus – not just because of her love of all things pineapple. She is frequently one of the first individuals to welcome a new student, staff/faculty member or visitor into the Bellarmine community with her authentic smile, laugh and pride in all things BU and is constantly reminding us of the good taking place within our community. One of her nominators wrote, “When talking with students, anytime Jackie’s name comes up, a smile comes across their face; often followed by an unsolicited ‘She’s the Best!’”.
Innovation and Creativity (three winners)
Innovation and Creativity are intelligence on the move. Many of us with great knowledge and expertise will witness and understand the same collection of circumstances that surrounds us, and will do so in about the same way -- but sometimes one of us will see and assemble that information differently, creating new possibilities or solutions – novel outcomes that improve things for everyone. Innovation and creativity are vital to the competitive success of any organization, and perhaps especially to the competitive success of an institution of higher learning that envisions future greatness for itself, and particularly for its students.
Dr. Beth Quinn
Dr. Quinn is an Assistant Professor in Bellarmine’s Physical Therapy program who is lauded for her passion, creativity, forward-thinking and adaptability. Her colleagues noted all of those attributes were responsible for the Physical Therapy’s Clinical Education team’s ability to successfully place every student in a quality clinical experience throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic when the number of available clinical sites diminished.
Eric is our Chief Information Officer and was described by one of his nominators as the “author and finisher of innovation at Bellarmine”. Eric’s foresight was one of the major reasons many members of our community were already familiar with Teams prior to the pandemic and the reason our community was able to quickly shift to have Teams become our primary platform for work, meetings, and classes. Eric also was responsible for creating the university’s solution to managing COVID on campus. His self-designed in-house platform not only tracked case reporting and contact tracing, but automated the processes for daily updates of COVID numbers and where meals were needed for occupied quarantine and isolation spaces.
Emily Werner is the Associate Director of Campus Wellness and has consistently created new ways to engage students in building lifelong wellness practices. Her nominators stated that “status quo is not in her vocabulary” and she is known for her out of the box solutions for promoting physical, mental, financial and spiritual wellness. Emily realizes the most beneficial way to lead our students in health and wellness is to do so creatively and by demonstrating how wellness can be fun.
Pursuit of Excellence (three winners)
At Bellarmine University, we pursue excellence in everything we do and in everything we are. We believe the importance of continuous improvement in our learning environment, our inner lives, our relationships and all of our endeavors. This award goes to the colleague whose work clearly demonstrates this passion for excellence, and whose passion this year has brought excellent results.
Lindsey is the Assistant Registrar and works on a daily basis to guide individuals through the complex process and policies which govern our academic initiatives. Her nominator wrote: “Lindsey is incredibly committed to making sure her work is seen-through at the best level possible. She demonstrates great patience and kindness with all those across campus who utilize her expertise or who need clarification to be provided when something is not being done appropriately.”
Laura is the Associate Dean of Bellarmine College and since 2020 has been spearheading the university’s Degree Completion program. Her nominator wrote: “Through all of her efforts, Laura demonstrated excellence and creative thinking, finding ways to meet the needs of the students that this program will serve. Every obstacle she faced; she found her way to a solution. And through it all, she did it with fierce determination and a positive attitude Even today, she continually meets with each student in the program, serving as an advisor, recruiter, admissions officer, and counselor, and it’s this special touch that she brings to the program that represents that Bellarmine difference we are so proud of.”
Brendan is Bellarmine’s Photography and Videography Specialist and is the reason so many of the transformative moments which happen at Bellarmine are able to be cherished long after they have taken place. His nominator wrote that “Brendan finds artistry in every task he tackles. Not only is his work beautiful and compelling - it has truly assisted in creating Bellarmine's brand and identity. His talents are ample enough for award consideration; However, it's his kindness and professionalism that further elevate his value to this institution.”
Rapid Response Team
For the last two and a half years, the Rapid Response Team has been responsible for organizing campus wide testing, vaccine clinics, and quarantine spaces on campus, in addition to tracking vaccines and COVID exposures, and the heroic task of providing contact tracing for each of those exposures taking place within the campus community. This list represents just a portion of the visible initiatives of the Rapid Response Team and does not consider the immense amount of time and energy the team devoted to researching public health guidance to inform our campus policies and procedures and the creation of the logistics to make all of the initiatives happen - all of which was occurring concurrently with their primary responsibilities here at Bellarmine.