Anita Coco (2008)

Our first recipient is a woman of fine judgment and diverse tastes.  She loves music and theatre.  She can also predict, with great accuracy, who is going to win American Idol.  If you see her with a karoke machine, you better run—or settle in for a long evening, since she can sing for hours. An excellent seamstress, she designs and sews costumes for the students in theatre productions. She is also a true evangelist, often inspiring Windows users to repent and buy a Mac.  An outstanding video editor, she won an award for making a pizza commercial.  Her film featuring the Physical Plant staff as Mrs. Carlberg’s elves was unfortunately ignored at the Oscars, but it did win wide acclaim at the Gordon Christmas Party. 

If I were giving her an Academy Award today, it would probably be for Best Supporting Actress.  After all, she is an actress—a performer in local theatre, playing roles in Godspell, Children of Eden, and, quite famously, “Mr. Toad” in The Wind in the Willows, with her wicked good New England send-up of a British accent.  And she plays such a major supporting role to the students, faculty and staff at Gordon.  In fact, in many ways it is hard to tell you what her title is at Gordon, because she allows there to be no clear boundary line between her job description and her generosity.  She gives so much, so creatively.  In her career at Gordon she has had many technical roles and served as the manager of the Barrington Center for the Arts, where she assisted students late into the evening in the video editing labs.  Recently she became the media support specialist in CET.  She is also a geek who can teach:  she holds a seminary degree, provides spiritual mentoring to students, and conducts a Bible Study in her home.  And, thinking of homes, she can build them, refitting her own house to accommodate more guests and volunteering her time with Habitat for Humanity.

As one of her colleagues observes, “it seems like a hundred times I have heard someone say, ‘We have a problem.  Get Anita.”  I know that I have called on Anita Coco to assist me in times of trouble, and I guess she has become so accustomed to saving me from technical problems that she did not flinch when I asked her to be here this morning just in case I messed up the DVD. 

Of course, I don’t have a DVD to show. I have a Provost Award to give. So, friends, once more, get Anita for me.

March 11, 2008