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Heather Huckins

Distinguished PAT (Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff) Award

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Patricia Cantor

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

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Bonnie Bechard

Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award

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Mary Campbell

Patricia Storer PAT (Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff) Award

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Jennifer Frank

Distinguished Operating Staff Award

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Janis Bass

Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award

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Warren Tomkiewicz

Distinguished Teaching Award

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Naomi Kline

Award for Distinguished Scholarship

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Terri Johnson

Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

Patricia Cantor

Jon Gilbert Fox photo.

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Professor of Education; Coordinator of Early Childhood Education

Although Pat Cantor’s first career was in editing and publishing, early childhood education was always in her blood.

“My mother was a kindergarten teacher for 25 years,” she says. “I always had that connection through her.” When Cantor had children of her own, she was inspired to make a career change, going back to school part time “for many, many years” to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in early childhood education.

Since joining Plymouth State’s faculty in 1990, Cantor has served as director of the Center for Young Children and Families and chair of the Department of Education. She is often involved in campus committees and task forces, taking on a variety of roles such as Faculty Speaker. “Getting involved is a great way to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise meet—not only faculty members, but staff from across the campus,” she says.

Her involvement also stems from a personal sense of duty. “I believe that if you belong to an organization, you should take responsibility for that organization,” she says. “We’re collectively responsible for the wellbeing of the whole University.”

That concept of collective responsibility also inspires Cantor’s activities outside of teaching: she serves on the board of the New Hampshire Children’s Alliance and is co-chair of the New Hampshire Child Care Advisory Council. “These organizations aren’t just about early childhood education, but about promoting early childhood development as a whole,” she says. “Initiatives against child poverty, working toward healthy families—it’s all connected. When families are better off, children are better off.”

She dreams of a time when “every child can have equal opportunities for good care, good education, good health,” she says. “There are a lot of inequities, even in a small state like New Hampshire. But any positive changes we can make in one area are integrated and connected to the big picture, and the reverberations will continue for many years.” She shares this vision and sense of connection with her students. “I want to have my students think not only as teachers, but also as citizens.”

Cantor, who also was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002, exemplifies the PSU ideals of excellence in teaching and devoted service. Both awards have been gratifying, she says, “although you don’t really do service for recognition.

“At the same time, it is important to value service the way Plymouth State does,” she says. “There are so many people here who are involved and engaged in service. I can put my efforts into early childhood issues because I know other people are doing good work in many other areas—that’s both comforting and inspiring.”

Jennifer Philion

Gary McCool

“My involvement with (Common Ground) allows students to see me as an engaged citizen who also wants to make the world a better place.”

“My involvement with (Common Ground) allows students to see me as an engaged citizen who also wants to make the world a better place.”

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Academic Reference Librarian and Coordinator of Reference Services
Political and environmental activist/Singer/Antiques Enthusiast

You don’t have to be a wizard at time management to pack more than a century of committee service into three decades. You just have to be service-oriented, like Gary McCool, reference librarian and Coordinator of Reference Services at Lamson Library and Learning Commons.

Since he came to PSU in 1978, McCool has served on 25 campus committees, including 30 years on the Council of Teacher Education, 17 years on the Executive Council, six years on the Saul O Sidore Lecture Series Committee, and five years on the University Environmental Committee. In addition, over the course of five years, McCool coordinated an extensive project to review and update the Faculty Handbook and Bylaws.

McCool’s long and diverse record of service to the University is rooted in his belief in shared governance, a partnership among faculty, staff, students, and administration in the governance of an institution. “If governance is really going to be shared, faculty members have to be on com­mittees and help make decisions that govern the university,” he says. By serving the University in this way, McCool notes, “I truly feel a part of Plymouth State.”

In addition to his involvement with University committees, McCool has served as an advisor to Common Ground, an environmental and social justice student organization, since its founding in 1982. “Common Ground focuses mainly on environmental issues, but it has also been a venue for students to learn about broader social issues,” notes McCool, who adds that his involvement with the group has allowed students to see him “as an engaged citizen who also wants to make the world a better place.”

McCool’s determination to make the world a better place led him to work to prevent a New Hampshire utility from purchasing a share of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. He brought several cases to the New Hampshire Supreme Court—each time without legal representation. While McCool won some of these cases, he was unable to prevent the Seabrook purchase, which drove the utility into bankruptcy. Following the bankruptcy proceedings, McCool ran for elec­tion to the new board of directors, and served on the board for a decade to help rebuild the utility. “It’s a very different utility now,” says McCool, who adds that the experience “showed me that there were some things I was interested in enough to become informed, find out how I could make a difference, and then follow through.”

Making a difference is something McCool does every day in his work, which includes researching and purchasing print and electronic resources for the library’s collection, conducting course-related library instruction, and help­ing individuals find the resources they need. For McCool, it’s the personal interaction that makes his job not only enjoyable, but fulfilling. “It’s very rewarding to help people navigate our resources, get the information they need, and watch them leave happy.”

Wendy Palmquist

"Service is a part of me, so I make the time to do it."

"Service is a part of me, so I make the time to do it."

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Professor of Psychology; Co-Directory, Frost Faculty Center

Ut Prosim, That I May Serve. It’s Plymouth State University’s motto and words that Professor of Psychology Wendy Palmquist lives by, both in her professional and her personal life.

Palmquist was born into a family that emphasized service to others.  Her grandmother worked with the Seattle Human Society, her mother was a Cub Scout den mother.  Her father, an engineer, served for years as a mentor to students aspiring to careers in engineering.

Growing up in California, Palmquist was a Girl Scout who volunteered for service projects ranging from planting trees in burn zones left by wild fires to visiting elderly patients at the L.A. County General Hospital.  Between college and graduate school she served in VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), working in the inner city of Kansas City, Missouri, an experience that gave rise to her belief that some of the best things one can give others are skills and time.

In her 26 years at Plymouth, Palmquist has enriched the University environment for students, staff, and faculty in a variety of ways.  She has served as chair of the psychology department and faculty speaker; participated on significant committees; coordinated academic programs for first-year students; and made important contributions to the Curriculum Committee and the Athletic Council. She was a founding member of the women’s studies program, supported Title IX sports programs for women, and has been and advocate for both women and men on campus through the Safe Zone Program, which promotes awareness and non-judgement treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. She received the 1991 Hogan Award for support of athletics, and the 2006 Kalikow Award for contributing to the advancement of women’s issues at PSU.

Perhaps the most near and dear to her heart is the time she spends with her students, not only as an instructor but also as a mentor and an advisor. “Teaching is what defines her” noted one nominator about Palmquist, who was honored in 2006 with the Distinguished Undergraduate Teacher award.  “She genuinely cares about her students.”

Palmquist also cares about her community, serving it in a variety of ways, from pounding nails for Habitat for Humanity to serving on the board of what  is now Genesis Behavioral Health, to participating as a board member of the New Hampshire Humane Society.

To Palmquist, serving others isn’t’ a sacrifice; rather, it’s a natural continuation of the values that her parents instilled and her own volunteering experiences have reinforced. As she says, “Service is a part of me, so I make the time to do it.”