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2022 Civil Service distinguished service awards announced – News

2022 Civil Service distinguished service awards announced – News

The Civil Service Council named those who will be honored with a Civil Service Distinguished Service Award during the Founding Celebration. They include Cindy Cotton, Amy Gilliland, Nancy Kerns, Narry Kim, Linda Oseland, and Evelyn Whitfield. Tom Cotton will receive the Esprit de Corps Award.

Civil Service Distinguished Service Award

Cindy Cotton, Property Control

Illinois State University has been a huge part of Cindy Cotton’s life for the last 37 years. She got her first “real job” at ISU in 1984, working for what was then Campus Dining as a cook. For 12 years, she cooked for an average of 1,500 students for any given meal.

For the last 21 years, Cotton has worked in Property Control and is currently the asset control administrator, overseeing Property Control, Central Receiving, and Facilities’ Stores. She currently works with some of the best individuals you can find on campus. Cotton is extremely proud of her entire team and looks forward to growing more with them in the future. 

Cotton feels there is so much to love about working at Illinois State University. At the top of that list for her is the people you meet along the way. People from all over the world. Her son had babysitters from Kenya and Iran, and her family still has close friends in South Korea–all because of ISU. There have been so many amazing students, and they all have left an impression on her.

Not only has the University provided Cotton with a way of living, but her mother also worked at ISU and retired as the bakery manager. Her husband still works at ISU in the Grounds Department under Facilities Management. Their oldest son graduated from ISU in 2005 with a teaching degree. Her connection to the University has deepened over the years. 

In the community, Cotton likes to support and participate in meaningful social and social justice appeals. She’s marched and she’s protested. She’s signed petitions, contacted her representatives on initiatives, and she’s appealed to politicians at the State Capital. Through the Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois, Cotton volunteers at Logan Correctional Center, working with women who are incarcerated by a broken system and who live their lives in that encompassing dysfunction. It’s all very satisfying work and she cherishes the experiences she has had and the memories she has made. 

Amy Gilliland, School of Biological Sciences

Amy Gilliland graduated in 1992 from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and then in 1996, she started working at Milner Library as a library clerk. When she decided to take the position of library clerk, Gilliland thought she would pursue a degree in graphic design but quickly decided that wasn’t for her. In 1997 she started working in the School of Biological Sciences as a natural science technical assistant and recently celebrated 25 years at Illinois State University.  

She and her spouse Wayne have been married for 14 years and they have two girls, Kayla (12) and Addison (10). The girls are involved in Scouts BSA and Gilliland and Wayne participate on their service projects. They both serve on each of their girls’ Scout Committees. Gilliland serves as the advancement coordinator for Kayla’s Scout Committee and a non-voting member of Addison’s Committee. The girls also are in orchestra and band.

Gilliland and her family have a camper so most weekends in the spring and summer are spent at the campground. They also have a basset hound named Penny that they recently adopted from a basset rescue, so she keeps them busy as well. Gilliland’s hobbies include taking photos, fishing, and hiking with the family. 

Her family has a long history with Illinois State University as well, with her mom graduating in 1953, her dad was the first general manager of the Vidette (1972-1976), her twin sister graduated in 1991 and 1998, one of her brothers graduated in 1982, and her other brother graduated in 1994. 

Nancy Kerns, Department of Management & Quantitative Methods

Nancy Kerns is the office manager of the Management & Quantitative Methods (MQM) department in the College of Business (COB). What is notable about MQM is that it is the largest department on campus, and Kerns is the only staff member. That means, she does everything.

2021 was Kerns’ 21st anniversary work year at ISU. She began in Classroom Technology (clerical) in 2000, followed by the Faculty Resource Center (FRC – graphics) in COB in 2001. She worked in the FRC for 14 years. She has worked in MQM for the past seven years under three chairs: Dr. Alex Barelka, Dr. Roberta Trites, and now with Dr. Tina Williams.

In Fall 2020, Kerns began representing Constituent Group III on the Civil Service Council. As such, she coordinated the highly successful School Street Food Pantry Spring Food Drive-thru with the CS Council, the A/P Council, and Doris Groves, director of the pantry. Though held during the 2021 pandemic year when most buildings were still closed and most staff were working remotely, the food drive set records for numbers of volunteers, and amount of food and money donated. Enough food was raised to keep the Food Pantry running until Fall 2021.

Kerns also serves on the Staff Success Committee representing department clerical employees. It is a special group formed out of the Academic Affairs White Papers to discuss staff success. The committee is currently working on a survey to go out to staff in 2022 to gather information on staff success, satisfaction, and viewpoints. Kerns also serves on a committee discussing the merging of the CS and A/P Councils to better represent “staff” on campus.

Kerns continues to help AFSCME Local 3236–ISU Clerical. She has been a member for 17 years and served in almost every officer position including 14 years as president. In the B-N community, Kerns supports projects with the Mulberry School and the B-N Jaycees.

Kerns has previously been awarded with the ISU Distinguished Service Award in 2013, and the COB Outstanding Service Award in 2012 and 2017-18. 

Narry Kim, Presidential & Trustee Events 

Narry Kim, ’93, M.S. ’95, ’99, has worked at Illinois State University for the past 21 years. She joined the Office of the President in 2011 as a public function’s supervisor in Presidential and Trustee Events and currently serves as an events coordinator. She has previously worked in positions across the University, including the Division of University Advancement, University Assessment Services, and Milner Library. She is also an Illinois State alum, having earned bachelor’s degrees in history and mass communication, and a master’s degree in history. In her present role, Kim assists in the coordination of presidential dinners, luncheons, and receptions as well as university-wide events, including the Faculty/Staff Appreciation Luncheon, the Children’s Holiday Party, and the Founding Celebration. She works part-time for the Office of Media Relations as a copy editor for the weekly Report and bi-weekly Identity newsletters. She also serves on the Identity Editorial Board and the Homecoming Steering Committee.

In support of her colleagues, Kim joined the Civil Service Council, first as an elected member from 2017-2020. While on the council, she served as secretary from 2018-2020, leading the Awards, Elections, and Governing Documents committees as well as supporting the Civil Service Scholarship raffle. After her term ended, she continued as editor of the council’s newsletter, the OpenLine, from 2020-2021. She had previously assisted with the newsletter as a proofreader from 2001-2014.  

On campus, she volunteers for Welcome Week, Move-In, and Homecoming. Kim especially enjoys volunteering for Alumni Engagement and Student Access and Accommodation Services at Commencement ceremonies. She also lends her time to various scholarship committees. Kim is a dedicated donor, contributing to initiatives like annual Giving Tuesday, the SECA campaign, and the Holiday Helper program. She also stays engaged by attending events organized by the Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts, Athletics, and University Housing Services. 

As a Bloomington resident, Kim participates in the annual fundraiser Night In a Car for Home Sweet Home Mission. She supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association in memory of her brother. Kim is also a regular blood donor for the American Red Cross.      

Linda Oseland, University Advancement

Linda Oseland joined the University Advancement team at Illinois State University in 2012. She previously worked at the Illinois Board of Higher Education. She began her ISU career as assistant to the vice president and quickly took on additional responsibilities including that of the secretary to the Foundation Board and supervisor of Advancement’s front office staff and students. Oseland has enjoyed serving on various ISU committees including the Team Excellence Committee and the Founders Bell Ringing Committee. 

Evelyn Whitfield, Building Services/Grounds Management

Evelyn Whitfield was hired as extra help in March of 2005 and became a full-time employee in May 2005 as a building service worker. She participated in and graduated from the four-year Temporary Foreman Upgrade Training program in 2015 as well as participated in the APPA Supervisor Toolkit and APPA Leadership programs. Whitfield was promoted to building service foreman in 2014 and then building service supervisor in 2018. Whitfield was the first foreman to help implement the team cleaning program here at Illinois State University. She enjoyed the many challenges of working with customers and building service workers to help the program succeed.  

Whitfield is a current Illinois State University student working towards a Bachelor of Science in studio arts in the painting sequence. She is a member of the Employment Engagement Committee for Facilities Service Employees and serves as a treasurer for the Association of College University Building Service Supervisors. Whitfield has completed several special COVID-19 cleaning procedure courses earning certificates with GBAC-Fundamentals Training and Victory Innovations-Infection Prevention Training. Whitfield is the current annual equipment inventory liaison for Building Services.  

Whitfield enjoys spending time with her grandchildren in her free time. She enjoys working with glass, crafts, sculpting, and painting. She has artwork displayed in the Schroeder Hall Art Gallery at Illinois State University and has donated artwork for auction to the Sunny Side Community Center. Whitfield has worked with Habitat for Humanity as a family partner and served on the Family Selection Committee for a time. Whitfield has also volunteered for the Arthritis Foundation, donating time with the Jingle Bell Run.  

Esprit de Corps Award

Tom Cotton, Building Services/Grounds Management

Tom Cotton began working at ISU in August of 1994, where he’s spent all 27 years working in the Grounds department in Facilities Management. As a grounds worker, Cotton is responsible for all aspects of the outdoor area of particular parts of the campus, including parking garages, parking lots, and all green spaces. The area of campus that Cotton has spent the majority of his years of service is bordered by University Street and the west side of the quad and College Avenue to Beaufort Street.

Cotton received his associate’s degree in turf management from Danville Junior College in 1974 and immediately began working outside on a golf course. Many years have passed and he’s still working outside at ISU. He does everything from snow removal and mowing to planting flowers and trees.  Working outside makes Cotton accessible to the students and guests who arrive on campus for tours or events, so he oftentimes provides directions about how to get to their destinations. Cotton likes to be helpful because in his role, he is representing the University and feels a sense of responsibility to be a friendly and welcoming face.

Meeting all those visitors and working with so many people all across campus are some of Cotton’s favorite things about being employed at Illinois State. He has met people while doing his job and while attending University events and serving on committees, including the Civil Service Council.

About half of Cotton’s work years at ISU were spent serving on the Civil Service Council. While on the Council, he helped raise money for scholarships by working the past chicken dinners and selling tickets for the annual Civil Service Scholarship Raffle. He never felt like what he was doing on the Council was “work,” but rather an opportunity to meet and work with other individuals across campus.

His wife, Cindy, also works at the University in Property Control. His oldest son graduated with a teaching degree from ISU and his mother-in-law retired from the University as the bakery manager. Illinois State has become a part of who he is.