By Madison Heiser
Illustration courtesy of TJC website- The illustration is of Oscar and Marguerite Herrin. They were the parents of the founder of the award, Sarah Herrin.
Tyler Junior College announced the recipients of the 2019-20 Herrin Award for Excellence, which recognizes TJC staff members for their work and dedication to the college. This year’s recipients were Jake Clark, Tamika McCullough and Dee Wilson.
Jake Clark, coordinator of mail and duplications at TJC, discussed what it meant to him to receive the award.
“It is a nice feeling to be recognized for the work that I do,” Clark said. “Receiving this award has encouraged me to continue making improvements to my work at the college.”
Clark graduated from TJC and has been a full-time employee of the college for 12 years. His mother also worked for TJC and previously received the Herrin Award in 2007. Clark said his favorite part of working at TJC are the people whom he feels honored to serve.
Tamika McCullough, coordinator for TSI and the registrar’s office at TJC, also discussed her acceptance of the award.
“I’m so grateful for the recognition I have received for my work at Tyler Junior College,” McCullough said. “Receiving this award would not have been possible without the recognition from my colleagues and Mrs. Sarah Harrison for whom I have the deepest respect.”
Dee Wilson, staff technician for professional and technical programs, said she is grateful and honored to receive the Herrin Award.
According to the TJC website, the award was established by Sarah Herrin Harrison to honor her parents, W. Oscar and Marguerite Dudley Herrin, in the form of a $500 gift to at least three classified staff employees.
Harrison, a former professor and dean of the College of Humanities, Communications and Fine Arts at TJC, established the award in 2001 through the Tyler Junior College Foundation. Oscar and Marguerite Herrin passed away in 1970 and 1991, respectively. Harrison chose to endow the award to honor her parents’ appreciation and value for the employees of their family business.
“They believed that every job was important, no matter the scope, to the success of the businesses,” Harrison said. “For the recipients, the awards offer validation for their dedicated service.”
According to Harrison, there have been 58 recipients of the Herrin Award since 2001. To qualify for the award, recipients must have worked for TJC for at least three years. Staff members are nominated by their bosses and other TJC employees, and a college committee then reads all nominations and selects at least three recipients.
“Too often, the classified employees encounter complaints and have to endure the stresses that they have not created,” Harrison said. “These awards are a way to offer them positive recognition and thanks for the good and constructive things they accomplish for the college.”