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IT Employees Recognized for their service

Earlier this summer, many employees of William & Mary were honored for their service to the state. The president and provost were in attendance to celebrate those who have dedicated five years, all the way up to forty years, of service at W&M. The ceremony was followed by a reception for refreshments and pictures with the Griffin.

Among those celebrated were eleven of the IT department’s own. Celebrating fifth year anniversaries are Jeffery Cahoon, William Hodges, and Douglas Stradford. Norman Elton, Jack Farraj, Patricia Herrera Cox, and Eric Myers have worked for the university for ten years. Michael Blum and Mark Eaton celebrate fifteen years, while Kari Slettemoen celebrates her twentieth anniversary. Dan Ewart, the eldest member of the group, has been working at William & Mary for forty years.

More than just a Number

These eleven members of IT have invested significant portions of their careers to William & Mary IT. Many have spent most, if not all, of their adult lives with the department. However, what does that really mean? What contributions do they bring to the campus community? Here is a closer look at eight of the eleven IT mainstays recognized this year:

Jeff Cahoon (5 years)

Jeff CahoonJeff has an A.A.S. in Computer Science and worked in Gloucester County’s information technology department for 3 years before coming to William & Mary in the fall of 2008. Jeff is excited by the innovative and creative projects that the Academic team works on. He loves everything about working at William & Mary, but his favorite part is the people. When asked about his experience, Jeff replied, “I’ve made great friends with co-workers and faculty. I’m still blown away when I sit back and think about the fact that my job is to provide IT support for professors who are some of the top experts in the world for their field of study.”

Will Hodges (5 years)

Will’s career in education started in early November of 2008. Supporting the college community at William & Mary was a top priority for Will when he ultimately decided to join the department. “I like the idea that I am contributing to something other than a shareholders bottom line.”

Will’s role has evolved since he was first hired to support the Windows servers that power a part of the campus’s, “behind-the-scenes" computing experience. Now, he spends most of his time fine-tuning a virtual server and storage environment to help the college reduce some of its costs. “However, what I enjoy most, is working with everyone in IT, especially my fellow engineers in the Jones basement,” Says Hodges. “We have some very talented and dedicated individuals in IT and it makes for a great team.”

Doug Stradford (5 years)

Doug StradfordDoug started working for William & Mary nearly 6 years ago.  He enjoys working for the IT Department, as he sees
there is a large variety of knowledge and intellect here.  There is always a chance to learn something new. In Doug’s words, “I really enjoy working with the others in the Department, as they are always willing to lend a helping hand when asked. According to Stradford, his experience at William & Mary is the first time in his 40 years of IT in working in an educational environment, which he considers to be, “a far cry from the government contracting aspect.”

William Norman Elton (10 years)

Norman EltonNorman has been here since graduating from W&M in 2003. He was a student worker during his undergraduate years, and accepted a position that opened right around the time of his graduation. Norman is currently responsible for writing and maintaining software that administrates the W&M network. What Norman enjoys most is, “the fellowship among my colleagues and the flexibility in working for IT.”

Patricia Herrera Cox (10 years)

Patty CoxPatty began working for Information Technology as a lab technician in June 2002. She saw the opportunity as a great chance to become acquainted with the campus and the services that IT provides.  Shortly after, Patty shifted to a position in the Technology Support Center.  “The fast paced environment, constant changes and the dynamic team made this a great fit for me,” says Patty, “and I remember how welcoming everyone was and I was really impressed by the sense of community at William & Mary.”

Patty praised the department, noting that, “the growth and change that I have witnessed in the last ten years has been amazing.  I look forward to being a part of the continued growth and greatly appreciate working alongside forward thinking people that are enthusiastic about technology and education."

Mike Blum (15 years)

Mike BlumMike Blum is the Senior Academic Technologist for the Humanities at W&M. He started working with IT in 2001 as a departmental liaison with Modern Languages, Religious Studies, and the Reves Center. Before that, he taught in the English Department at William & Mary, where he also received his Masters in English Literature in 1995. Mike became interested in the academic uses of technology while a PhD student at the University of Virginia, where he worked on a project developing machine-readable versions of medieval manuscripts. Mike loves being an academic technologist at William & Mary because it allows him to develop creative solutions for faculty members and students who want to make the most of available and emerging technologies in their teaching, learning, and research. 

Mark Eaton (15 years)

Mark eatonMark joined William & Mary IT in late November of 1998. Mark found the job when he came across an ad asking for a candidate with Master’s degree with a background in Education, Science and IT—all credentials that he possesses.  “Why I enjoy my work is the same reason I enjoy roleplaying games: I like to feel heroic.  I also enjoy the intellectual discussions with the faculty, staff and graduate students I support,” adds Eaton.

While he has supported the School of Education for the entirety of his time here, over the years Mark has also provided support for the departments of Kinesiology, Math, Religion, Sociology, Government, Classical Studies, and Women’s Studies. Mark is also the administrator for the Qualtrics survey platform.

Dan Ewart (40 years)

Dan EwartThe group of IT tenures is topped off by Dan Ewart, who has worked for W&M for forty years. Few other current employees of the university have a career as long standing as Ewart’s. In fact, Ewart was accompanied by only three other employees who were given special recognition for their forty years of service to William & Mary at this year’s Employee Recognition event.

When Ewart first joined the university’s ranks, the IT department touted its original name as the Computer Center. He worked here when we first installed banner to the campus and still maintains the service years later. President Reveley captured Dan’s contribution best when he said, “Anyone who can convince Banner to cooperate…has rare talent.”
{{youtube:small|9Gx9VRWZIwM, Dan Ewart receiving special recognition from President Reveley}}

Maintaining a Legacy of Success

Dan Ewart and his colleagues at William & Mary Information Technology are a great representation of the culture of hard work and passion that W&M cultivates in all its fields. What sets the IT department apart is the fact that we provide support across organizational and department lines to support the university as a whole.  In addition to the fair nature of the work, President Reveley also mentioned that, “the people IT work like dogs.” However, the folks in IT do not simply “work” for the university; rather, they dedicate themselves to it. Those who have been on board for five, ten, fifteen years and beyond demonstrate this rare talent and devotion.