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MVNU honors Fuller, Cook, others

 MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Dr. Geoffrey Fuller was named Faculty Member of the Year while Ben Cook was named Staff Member of the Year during Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s annual University Dinner on Aug. 23.

Dr. Fuller, Professor of Biology, was recognized for his role in creating and directing a saliva screening lab as part of the campus’ COVID-19 response protocols.

“He knew the equipment we needed and the vendor to use. He knew the students we should hire to work the lab. He quickly learned the protocol and taught it to our lab assistants. He worked effectively with other members of the team to get a first screening in place at the urging of local health officials who shared our concern about our rising case load,” said Dr. Barney Cochran, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Without Geoff’s engagement, which was above and beyond his normal teaching load, it is not clear that we would have completed fall semester (2020) face-to-face. With Geoff’s leadership, we faced a challenging spring term with renewed confidence that we had the tools we needed to keep the virus in check.”

Cook, who was recently appointed Director of Facilities, is described as honest and kind, a man with a servant’s heart who leads by example and with a strong work ethic.

“As a testament to Ben’s dedication to MVNU, when he was asked to fill the role of Interim Director of Facilities earlier this year, he dropped out of his MBA program so that he could devote his full attention to this new role,” said Scott Campbell, Vice President for Finance/CFO. “At one point this year, one of Ben’s coordinators was away from campus for a while, and on any given day, Ben ran the sweeper, cleaned bathrooms, and changed linens for the quarantine and isolation rooms.”

President Henry W. Spaulding, II, Ph.D., addressed faculty and staff expressing gratitude for those like Fuller and Cook whose actions gave hope to the students and the University during a very difficult year. Spaulding applauded the work and further examples of hope by the Senior Leadership Team, Academic Leadership Team, COVID-19 Response Task Force, Facilities, Counseling Services and Athletics.

“We are called to be witnesses to hope. It is a privilege. It is work. It is a journey,” said Spaulding. “This community is resilient because the God who sustains us also leads us. We will be thirsty this year, but let us make sure it is for God. … My point is rather simple – difficult times come and go, but the enduring presence of God remains. Israel, the Church, and MVNU exist to witness to hope, no matter the circumstance. The psalmist and the substantial themes of our tradition remind us that even when we are thirsty, we can be witnesses to hope.”

Employees honored for their long-term commitment to MVNU include:

5 Year Award — Jon Bossley, Tammi Brown, David Calvarese, Dennis Dennison, Robin DePolo, Ruth Emerson, Bethany Flanagan, Fabio Gonzalez-Sanchez, Stephanie Hurt, Billie Maglott, James McWatters, Jane Mikulec, Teresa Phillips, Brooke Robinson, Katie Sherman, Zachary Sherman, Michael Simmons, Deborah Smith, Justin Sorensen, Gary Swisher, Doug Van Nest and Gretchen Wenzel.

10 Year Award — Margaret Allotey-Pappoe, Joshua Cunningham, Jackie Dove, Amy Dubusky, Judy Gregg, Shawnee Hagans, Candice Krabill, Christa McNichols, Jean Ollis and Aaron Williams.

15 Year Award — Leeann Couts, Jessica Grubaugh, Michelle Hedrick, Brian Humphrey, Steve Metcalfe, Melanie Timmerman and Chip Wilson.

20 Year Award — Trinia Huddleston and Elizabeth Rood.

25 Year Award — Tressa Daley, Geoffrey Fuller, Marcy Rinehart, Mark Shoaf and David Wilkes.

30 Year Award — Dave Duncan and John Walchle.

35 Year Award — Chris Ingersol.

40 Year Award — Becky Rockwell and Bob Tocheff.

For more information on MVNU, to apply for admissions or search employment opportunities, visit

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,100 students from 42 states and nine foreign countries.