Three outstanding UFV employees were honoured recently in the inaugural Employee Excellence awards, including Hope’s “one-woman-show” Hilary Kennedy.
The awards recognize and celebrate employees who have inspired others through their outstanding achievement within the university and/or their community.
Kennedy is the Hope centre coordinator, and was honoured alongside senior advisor on indigenous affairs Shirley Hardman of Chilliwack, and political science professor Rita Dhamoon, based at the UFV Abbotsford campus.
UFV’s presence in the community of Hope is not a large one, but thanks to the ‘larger than life’ efforts of UFV’s lone employee there, it’s hard to for the rest of the university ignore the fact that UFV has a Hope Centre, and for the Hope community to forget that it has a university in its community.
Although various instructors travel to Hope to teach, Hilary Kennedy is a one-woman show when it comes to instructional support, community relations, assessment services, liaison with other departments, registration, bookstore, and clerical tasks.
Kennedy is a consistently enthusiastic voice for UFV in the Hope community. She knows the people of Hope well, having lived there for many years. She represents UFV simply by being out and active in the community, and has greatly enhanced recruitment and retention at the Hope Centre during her seven years there.
Even before joining UFV as an employee, Kennedy had a connection to UFV, working with us in partnership through Free Rein, a private educational service, and serving on the UFV Board. She has also been a member of Hope Council.
As UFV Hope centre coordinator, she helped broker a deal that saw the centre move to a property owned by the school district, which led to a closer partnership and more funding for post-secondary programming in Hope.
She advocates for post-secondary and Continuing Studies in Hope, and works with the community to find out what kind of programming they want, and helps to coordinate the offerings when she is successful.
And she nurtures Hope Centre students, creating an inviting and safe environment for them, and goes beyond the call of duty by providing home-made soup on a regular basis, and organizing games, crafts, and guest speakers.
Kennedy was nominated by Upgrading and University Preparation department assistant Ruth Vandenbor, who spotted an unsung hero working quietly far away from our larger campuses.
“I think Hilary is most deserving of this award,” said Vandenbor.
Shirley Hardman won the UFV Leadership award, having worked more than a decade for UFV in the area of aboriginal access and indigenous affairs. Hardman has done much to help the university become more welcoming to aboriginal students and the aboriginal community. She has also worked hard to make UFV programs and course curricula more inclusive and reflective of indigenous content.
Dr. Rita Dhamoon won the Individual Achievement award.
“Rita works hard through her service work… to build different kinds of communities,” noted Dr. Adrienne Chan in her nomination document. “She has excellent organizational and interpersonal skills. Her commitment to the professional development and UFV community events are connected to her commitment to the role of the university in the wider spectrum education. Education does not simply take place in the classroom — it occurs in the wider forums on campus and in the community.”