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Honoring Wells

Distinguished Service Award Speech: 2002

Recipient: Lynn K. Wells, Saddleback College
Presented by William W. Wilmot, U of Montana, WSCA's 2001 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

The Distinguished Service Award is Western's highest honor. I am pleased to be the one to tease you about the winner this year. Our recipient exemplifies the best of Western, but before we get to that I would like to give you a sense of the quality of people this award honors. Would all the previous winners please stand and be recognized.

Our selection committee this year, Stephanie Coopman, Dawn Braithwaite and Blaine Goss have done an outstanding job for us, as you will soon learn.

Our winner this year has spanned the entire gamut of service to our association. He, or she, has been President, Program planner, has chaired two different interest groups, and served on the Finance Committee as well as the Executives Club as an officer. And, oh, the number of hours spent in Executive Council meetings alone could be an entire career in itself.

As if that isn't enough, this particular person has also served SCA and NCA in a variety of positions and has chaired his or her department for many years. In fact, and this is hard to believe, the person actually served as chair of two departments! Let me put it this way–you would not want to be in a competition with her or him for service contributed to our profession.

But it has been here at home, at WSCA, where he or she has been, as one Past President said, "loyal and active" for many years. Other than a small detour for one year to someplace in the Midwest, the person has spent his or her entire professional career, as a student and as a faculty member, in the western states. And the tone of the service has been characterized as follows:

  • "calm, efficient, detail-oriented but always gracious
  • "amazingly cheerful and positive"
  • "moving decisively with good humor, upbeat manner and personal charm"
  • "performing brilliantly, moving quickly"
  • "an academic and an inspired teacher"

Of all the contributions, one stands out particularly sharply. It is something that has taken on the quality of an urban legend–except it is true. During a time when our organization was literally on the verge of collapse, the officers had to band together and try to rescue the organization. Our finances were so muddled and unattended to that the very existence of WSCA was threatened. We needed someone to step in and take over as Executive Secretary. Here is how three officers characterized what our award recipient did.

  • "took on a time consuming, frustrating and aggravating job"
  • "was an enormous force in addressing the needs of the members, inspiring confidence and getting alienated members to return"
  • "allowed me as the next president to avoid commanding the Titanic on its last sail"
  • "saved this organization"

It is my deepest pleasure and honor to highlight the person who took an entire car trunk full of unattended WSCA business and put us back on the right track, serving with incredible dedication and competence. If it were not for her, we could not be here today. Give your thanks to Lynn Wells of Saddleback Community College.

A Thank You to WSCA Members

When I was young, my friends gave me a surprise birthday party. It was the only time in my life that I can recall being truly surprised by an event other than the surprise at this year's WSCA convention in Long Beach. Because I don't remember what I said to the convened group at the luncheon and because I think I might have burbled far too much in my stumbling impromptu ways without giving thanks, I wanted to be able to more appropriately thank everyone in the membership for this award.

To me the Distinguished Service Award has been a golden ring grabbed by the most prolific writers, the golden fleece acquired by the most dedicated researchers, the golden crown worn by the most daunting of Doctors at only the most prestigious of universities. It is because this has always been described as the highest award that WSCA as an organization gives, that I value having received it.

I want to sincerely thank the persons who nominated me for the Distinguished Service Award and for the committee who voted for me. As I looked around the Long Beach convention, I was struck by the many new faces I saw. What pleases me is to think that the organization survives, grows, changes, and in many ways stays the same. I am so proud of being a member of this organization, proud of having given my time to it, and so very humbled to be honored by it.
~Lynn Wells

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