FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2009
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA - On Monday, March 16, Gordon College’s Provost Mark Sargent honored two staff members who make substantial contributions to students’ learning on a consistent basis. Sargent presented the 2009 Provost’s Awards to Phil Williams ’89, director of development operations, and Cami Foerster ’98, resident director of Nyland Hall. Faculty, staff and students nominate people for these awards; Sargent then collaborates with the Provost’s Council to choose recipients.
For almost 20 years Phil Williams has been leading student trips to Latin America—mainly Guatemala—encouraging students to grow in language and ministry. He also volunteers with Partnership Ministries, an organization that connects churches in North America and Central America.
“An avid Red Sox fan, you might expect to see baseball memorabilia all over his office,” says Sargent. “But what I have seen on his walls are not Major League stars but the faces of Guatemalan children.” Kirk McClelland, former director of service learning and missions says Williams has “gifts of administration” and “a systematic and detail-oriented mind,” leading him to innovations and practices that have influenced “various educational institutions around the U.S.”
Williams began his career at Gordon College as a resident director. For years he directed the LEAD conference for students and has taught various sections of Gordon’s first-year seminar class Christianity, Character and Culture. Currently he works in the Development Office, managing his duties in fundraising compliance. In addition to these successes at Gordon, his great love has always been the Central American people. “His connection to Guatemala runs deep,” says McClelland.” When he says ‘mis hermanos,’ or ‘my brothers,’ he really means it.”
Sargent described the other recipient, Cami Foerster, as “someone who listens, is generous with her time, is willing to spend long hours with students who need encouragement and counsel, and someone who cares deeply about students’ spiritual lives.” Her supervisor, Terry Charek, associate dean of students for resident life, praises her for serving “students without looking at the clock and counting hours, making a huge impact on students’ lives.” Greg Carmer, dean of the chapel, commends her as one of the people most dedicated to helping students gain a richer “understanding of themselves, faith and the world.”
As a student at Gordon, Foerster and her peers saw a need to reach out to Bostonians with material, educational and spiritual needs and founded the Boston Project, “a community-based organization with a passion for seeing renewal in urban neighborhoods,” according to its website. She still serves on the board and is active in promoting its ministries.
For more information on the Provost’s Awards or to set up an interview with its recipients, contact Kristin Schwabauer at kristin.schwabauergordon.edu or 978.867.4235.
Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.