When Lander University launched its Employee of the Month program at the beginning of 2018, Donna Knight, of Greenwood, was the overwhelming choice as the first recipient of the honor.
Describing herself as a life-long learner, Knight earned her bachelor's degree in History from Lander in 2012 while simultaneously working for the National Park Service at Ninety Six National Historic Site and assisting Dr. Kevin Witherspoon, professor of history and chair of Lander's Department of History and Philosophy, with his Teaching American History in the Lakelands grant program. Since graduating from Lander, she has served as administrative specialist for the Department of English & Foreign Languages, and currently for Lander's recently established College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
In her current role, Knight is responsible for helping to organize and manage virtually all aspects of the college, including budgetary issues, class schedules, and assisting faculty and students.
"Donna Knight is a superb colleague and employee," said Dr. Lucas McMillan, Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. "By readily helping our students, faculty and other staff with their needs, Donna plays a pivotal role in fulfilling Lander's mission."
More praise for Donna Knight
Bre Butler, a junior English Education major from Bradley, previously worked for Knight as a student worker. "Mrs. Knight is the most helpful and kindest person I know," she said. "Whether it be a change to our majors, a point in the right direction, or a laugh to brighten our day, she is always ready to lend a hand and a smile. She undoubtedly represents all the honorable qualities that Lander appreciates in an employee, and we are so lucky to have her."
On a form nominating Knight for the Employee of the Month recognition, a fellow colleague wrote, "Donna organized the Department of English & Foreign Affairs with her meticulous records management procedures. Her communication and her attention to detail is exemplary."
Another colleague wrote, "…to be fair, we would not be able to operate as smoothly as we have without Donna. She truly cares about the entire campus family, and I cannot think of anyone that deserves the award more than her."
Origin of Lander's Employee of the Month program
The Employee of the Month program was launched by Lander's Staff Senate and Office of Human Resources, with support from the President's Cabinet.
"Lander's Employee of the Month program is designed to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty by exhibiting excellence and dedication to one or more of Lander's Core Values, which include transparency, ethics, responsiveness and supportiveness," said Jeannie McCallum, director of Human Resources at Lander.
"Lander is fortunate to have so many great employees who take pride in their jobs and our students, and are dedicated to making and maintaining Lander as an Employer of Choice in our community. The Employer of the Month initiative is a great way to recognize them and let them know we appreciate those efforts."
In addition to receiving campus-wide recognition, recipients of the honor are included on a Wall of Fame, receive reserved parking, Bearcat Bucks, which can be redeemed in the campus Bookstore, the dining hall, and other locales, and an official certificate.