Two Davis & Elkins College employees were honored with professional awards in surprise mini-ceremonies Friday. Director of Alumni Engagement and Support Wendy Morgan ’12 received the Robin Price Award for Staff Excellence and Professor of English Dr. Katherine Osborne was chosen for the Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence.
The awards are normally presented during the spring Honors Convocation, which was postposed this year.
The Robin Price Award for Staff Excellence is presented annually to an outstanding staff member at Davis & Elkins College who epitomizes distinction and excellence and who makes a real difference in the lives of students, faculty and staff. Award recipients are characterized by their distinguished careers and their enthusiasm for supporting and promoting the College’s mission of preparing and inspiring students for success and for thoughtful engagement in the world. The award was established in honor of Robin Galford Price on her retirement from the College in 2019, following a 46-year career.
“To me it is the equivalent of the Crystal Mace Award (D&E’s highest award) because it is super personal,” Morgan said. “What a blessing the College has been to me. President Wood often talks about students finding their vocation here. That’s exactly what D&E has done for me – I have found my vocation.”
Morgan began her career at D&E in 2000 as an office assistant in the Advancement Office. She later moved up to coordinator of alumni support and then was elevated to her current role. In between, she enrolled at D&E and earned a degree in business.
In presenting the award, D&E President Chris A. Wood said Morgan has nurtured and loved all who cross her path – students, staff, and alumni.
“She makes everyone feel like they are absolutely the most special person in the world,” Wood said of Morgan. “For those who work around her, she is a delight. She is interested in each person’s life – at work and at home. Whether it is an 18-hour jam packed Homecoming day or a normal work day … every day is a wonderful day to her, and she makes it a wonderful day for those around her. She happily lends a hand no matter the job. She is positive and kind in the most challenging of situations.”
To keep the outdoor ceremony a surprise to Morgan, other staff members formed a mock committee and told Morgan she needed to help them inspect the outside of Halliehurst. When she saw the podium and other staff members, she thought it was for the Lois Latham award presentation.
However, for that award, administrators made their way to Albert Hall where Osborne was teaching British Literature I. Wood and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rob Phillips asked if they could interrupt the class, and Wood took to the podium to make the announcement.
“A significant difference between Davis & Elkins College and a larger university, whether public or private, is our emphasis on teaching,” Wood said. “The Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence marks the recipient as one of distinguished intellectual development, possessing a love and enthusiasm for scholarship, whose calling is the personal development of others. The recipient will be recognized by their enthusiastic support of the liberal arts program and by their unswerving and unselfish devotion to the stimulation of their students.”
The annual award recipient is selected by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly based on nominations.
“I have been the beneficiary of some great teacher-mentors, from my high school English teachers in Frankfort, Kentucky, to my college professors at Hanover College and the University of Kentucky, and my amazing parents, Daryl and Peggy” Osborne said. “My pedagogical education has continued at D&E, where I have learned from some truly wonderful educators, who motivate me to grow as a scholar and teacher. And what a pleasure that some of those inspiring educators include my students.”
Osborne joined the D&E faculty in 2011, was promoted to associate professor in 2017 and granted tenure in 2018. She has taught courses in writing and literature and has been instrumental in the revision and strengthening of the English curriculum. She has served the College through her work on the Assessment Committee, as a Department Chair and as a member of various Strategic Planning committees, as well as the Appointment, Promotions and Tenure Committee. She was also the facilitator for cross-disciplinary workshops funded by the Teagle Foundation.
Osborne has presented and published her scholarly work on Victorian and 19th Century Literature. She holds Ph.D. in English and a Master of Arts from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Arts from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.