President Gordon Bietz recently awarded two Southern Adventist University employees for going above and beyond in service for the community and on campus.
Robert Gadd, Ph.D., professor in the School of Business and Management, was awarded $500 and the President’s Award for Community Service Excellence. This honor is bestowed annually to an employee who has made the largest difference beyond the boundaries of Southern’s campus.
Gadd was nominated by Southern employees for his service to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chattanooga. Every Thursday for the last five years, Gadd has prepared a breakfast for about 50 people at the facility that provides a “home away from home” for the families of sick or injured children receiving care at local hospitals.
Gadd buys all the food for the breakfast with his own money, and takes the times to prepare it himself, with his wife assisting with the clean up. Some of the foods he cooks include Danish pastries, scones, egg casseroles, hash brown casseroles, French toast, and monkey bread.
“Our families are so touched by his effort to bring a warm breakfast to them before he even starts his day that they asked we pass along appreciation for Gadd’s kindness,” said the staff at the Ronald McDonald House.
Gadd also gathers students from his Intermediate Accounting class to help set up for Ronald McDonald’s Autumn Children’s Festival every October. About 15 students have consistently volunteered for the last six years.
“In a broad sense, and I tell my students this, any business that avoids service to the community isn’t being socially responsible,” Gadd said. “It’s important for organizations like Southern to give back to the community in which it functions.”
Susan Pennington, assistant dean of women was also awarded $500, along with the President’s Award for Customer Service. She was nominated for the award by students, many of which are Thatcher residents.
“Dean Pennington is one of the most caring, patient, loving people I’ve interacted with on campus,” a student wrote. “She is very giving of her time, is willing to stay past her normal hours, and goes above and beyond her duty to help residents.”
Pennington called the award a tribute to not only her, but to all of the deans who work “tirelessly and faithfully” for all of the students in the residence hall.
“I feel so thankful to be able to work with such wonderful people,” she said. “Every day is such a blessing and I truly love my job.”
Congratulations to Professor Gadd and Dean Pennington. Southern is honored to have two fine examples of Christian service and humility.