Zach White '97, who has served Reinhardt for more than eight years, recently received the University’s 2011 Bridge Award at a Faculty Senate meeting. The award is given on a yearly basis by the faculty to a staff member in recognition and appreciation of outstanding service and commitment to the faculty and students of the University.
“The Bridge Award is given annually to a member of the Reinhardt staff whom the faculty sees as going to extra lengths to help build a sense of unity among all members of the Reinhardt family and with the surrounding community,” said Phil Unger, assistant professor of history and chair of the Faculty Senate. “Many members of the staff were nominated this year, which speaks to the commitment of our staff. I attribute Zach’s receiving the most votes to receive the award to his tireless energy spent creating a setting that reflects the beauty of nature and his taking that energy out to the community in support of the Farmer's Market and other endeavors. He has been a real bridge-builder for a number of years.”
Elizabeth Smith, assistant professor of mathematics, added to Unger’s sentiments. “There is not a person at Reinhardt, faculty, staff and students included, that does not feel grateful to Zach when they walk around this campus and take time to admire the beauty of this place.”
“I was totally shocked to get the award,” said White. “Bob McKinnion [vice president of finance and administration] emailed me to come to a planning meeting about landscaping. I met him in his office, and then he took me over to the Faculty Senate meeting. I walked in the room and just about had a heart attack. There are so many staff members that deserve this award, and to be voted by the Faculty Senate is the biggest I honor I have ever received at Reinhardt University.
“I am truly blessed to be able to work in a place where I can explore my passion in life—horticulture, and that I truly love!”
The award, established in 2005 as a formal way for faculty to express appreciation to a staff member, is presented by the Reinhardt Faculty Senate and was the idea of Dr. Theresa L. Ast, associate professor of history. Faculty nominate staff members and then select the recipient for the honor. The award is given to a staff member who deserves appreciation for his or her positive, caring attitude; someone who is known to go the second mile in assisting others and completing their tasks; someone who works hard to build “bridges” between students, faculty, staff, and the local community and, as a result, strengthens the Reinhardt University community.
White has been instrumental in building “bridges” between the Reinhardt family and surrounding Cherokee County communities through the creation of the Waleska Farmers Market at Reinhardt University and the restoration of the campus’ historical Burgess Arboretum.
“I feel that Reinhardt is great place,” said White, “If we ‘build bridges’ and work together, we can do amazing things at Reinhardt University!”
White is a 1997 Reinhardt graduate. After working at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, he came back to Reinhardt in November 2002 to serve as the campus’ horticulturist. He resides in Jasper, Ga.
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