PIQUA — Edison State Community College recognized 25 employees for a combined total of 270 years of service in their careers during the 42nd annual employee recognition celebration on Friday, April 16.
The event was held virtually and took participants down a trip to memory lane, allowing them to “guess the graduate” and reflect on Edison State memories in a yearbook-style format. Elizabeth Dubois, coordinator of Employee Recruitment, Training, and, Development, hosted the event and Dr. Doreen Larson, President, who was also honored for her years of service provided remarks. In place of a catered in-person dinner, honorees were presented with gift cards to use at the Upper Valley Career Center’s Cornerstone@8811 restaurant.
“Liz Dubois and Andrea Francis teamed up to demonstrate the beauty and fun possible within a virtual event. The yearbook video is truly a keepsake that reflects the Edison State culture of using technology to share the individuality of our employees,” said Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson.
Edison State recognized the following employees for reaching significant milestones in their careers at Edison State: Kim Kiehl, 30 years; Helen Willcox, 25 years; Steven Sykes and Eileen Thompson, 20 years; Stacey Bean, Paul Heintz, Steven Marlowe, 15 years; David Barth, Amy Borgert, Amanda Bylczynski, Terry Calvert, Greg Clem, Amy Crow, Heather Lanham, and Jeffrey Schwilk, 10 years; Chad Beanblossom, Rachel Carlisle, Jason Evans, Lisa Hoops, Doreen Larson, James Lehmkuhl, Kelly Pryfogle, Jared Shimp, Holly Short, and Sandra Streitenberger, five years.
During the celebration, Dubois announced that portraits of former faculty members Cathy Essenger and William “Larry” Rich would be added to Edison State’s Wall of Memories.
Essenger, who is now retired, spent over 25 years as an English professor at Edison State, was selected for her unwavering devotion to students. Essenger’s commitment and passion for instructing, coupled with her writing expertise, is what made her special. Essenger developed many courses for the college, including Creative Writing, Helping Writers Write, Fiction Writing, Poetry Workshops, and Creative Non-Fiction Memoir. Most notably, Essenger is a poet who has published, and continues to publish, original poetry and poetry books. During her time at Edison State, she freely and willingly wrote poems for special occasions and did poetry readings for faculty, staff, students, and community members. “Cathy was a teacher whose class students remembered. She had wisdom to share and did it with humility and kindness,” said a nominator.
Rich, an adjunct foreign language and humanities instructor at Edison State for more than two decades, was selected for his dedication to instructing at Edison State up until his passing in 2020. Rich made it a priority to hold himself accountable to ensure students received the best education available, purchasing numerous movies for students and showing appreciation to support staff by buying them lunch once a week. When Larry could no longer drive, he arranged for a friend or family member to drive him to and from classes to continue to do the job he loved: teaching. “Larry was a quiet, consistent presence at the college. He cared deeply for his students. He was part of the fabric of Edison State,” said a nominator.
The Wall of Memories was established in 1998 by members of the Academic Forum and is dedicated to former Edison State employees who significantly impacted the lives of students, faculty, and staff who will forever be recognized as part of the college community.