Vice President and Dean of Student Life Randy Hays was recognized with the “Dr. Fred Rhodes Outstanding Service” award at the 2016 College Personnel Association of Kentucky (CPAK) Conference held on Centre College’s campus on Jan. 29.
The award commends outstanding professionals who have made significant professional contributions or achievements on a campus, or at the state or regional level. Nominees also demonstrate professional ethics, dedication and commitment to the principles of the college personnel profession.
“Among his strengths, empathy, attention to detail, professional curiosity, genuine respect for each individual with whom he interacts and a great sense of humor seem to be those which have contributed most to his success and longevity within our field,” Nancy Lackey, former special assistant to the president and event planner, said at the conference.
Hays was promoted to the position of vice president and dean of student life in 2000 after serving since 1993 as director of residence life and counseling and associate dean of student life. In his current role, Hays continues to have an “open door” policy, inviting all students to call upon him for advice or direction at Centre. His philosophy for the Student Life Office is that each student deserves to have the best “outside the classroom” experience along with the best education while at the College.
Centre President John A. Roush said Hays is very deserving of the award and is respected and valued as a member of the College’s campus community.
“Randy Hays combines the very best of being a senior officer of the College and serving as an accomplished dean of students,” Roush said. “He is strategic and tactical and decisive and caring all at once—the best I have been around!”
At the conference and presentation of the award, several members of the Centre community shared why they believe Hays is so deserving of the recognition.
Student Body President Hunt VanderToll ’16 said that since his first week at Centre, he noticed that Hays makes all students feel welcome and works to foster an environment of inclusion and openness in the Student Life Office.
“He has continually been a source of wisdom and support for me in my role,” VanderToll said. “I have frequently asked the opinion of Dean Hays on initiatives the Student Government is undertaking and have always received positive feedback and constructive insight.
“It is apparent in the entire Student Life Office that his co-workers respect him immensely, as does the student body,” VanderToll continued. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Dean Hays to receive this award for his 22 years of service to the students and the College.”
Patrick Noltemeyer, chief planning officer and special assistant to the president for institutional research and special events, said that Hays’ commitment to the academy and to the profession is impressive, as he has served in numerous leadership capacities for CPAK and other regional and national organizations. Perhaps even more important, Noltemeyer noted, Hays encourages his staff to be active in their professional organizations as well.
“Randy is a terrific listener, a loyal friend and a wonderful boss,” Noltemeyer said. “His fierce commitment to helping students help themselves, challenging them where appropriate as well as showing compassion when they make mistakes, are just some of the professional attributes that make him an ideal candidate for this award.”
Sarah Scott Hall, associate dean and director of the Grissom Scholars Program and student leadership, said that Hays is a treasured colleague and utterly devoted to providing a safe, personally enriching and inclusive atmosphere at Centre as well as a champion for equality and treating all with dignity.
“He leads through building trust, acting fairly and keeping a sense of humor,” Hall said. “I feel lucky to have worked with him for over a decade and have learned much from his guidance. He is no doubt worthy of this wonderful recognition.”
Kay Drake, director of human resources and administrative services, said that Hays’ passion not only for students but also staff members is exhibited often as he “takes a stand” for them.
“Randy truly wants to see all students grow, be successful and develop into young leaders during their time at Centre,” Drake said. “He is one not to take himself seriously and adds humor into our lives often. It is a pleasure to work along side him.”
by Elise L. Murrell
February 2, 2016