Kalamazoo College honored Ms. Sally Arent, Dr. Jeffrey Bartz, and Dr. Pat Ponto with specific awards that showed their dedication and service to the K community and its students.
Arent, who has worked as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students since August 1992, received the 2015 Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate. This award is for an educator who has made contributions to the academic achievement and personal development of students during the first year of college.
Arent enjoys and excels in her position. “At fall orientation, there are many students and parents who are nervous and may simply need a smile and a handshake to make them feel connected. I am happy to offer my hand and help in any way that I can to welcome everyone to our wonderful Kalamazoo College Community,” she said.
Thankfully, K students and parents have Arent has a resource.
“My award says ‘The Provost and Dean of the First Year and Advising Honor Jeff Bartz, Outstanding Advisor, 2015.’ It’s all I know about it,” Bartz said.
Bartz is a professor of lower and upper level Chemistry courses, directs a research program with student researchers, and is an academic advisor to about 20 students. As faculty, he is on the Institutional Review Board and the Athletics Advisory Committee.
In addition to the long list of roles, tasks, and achievements, he still has time to make sure students at K feel included. “I serve on the Sense of Belonging task force and the Intercultural Working Group on Training and Professional Development,” Bartz said.
He does not just receive an award, but works to make his accomplishments beneficial. “For a long time I have asked two questions about the projects and activities I do. Is it good for my students? Is it good for my research program?” Bartz said.
Ponto has been the Director of Counseling at K since 1986. According to Ponto, the counseling center started out with no one for her to direct, but she has worked to get four paid psychologists and four WMU interns as reliable and needed resources on this campus. “We see approximately 375 students each year. Students come to us with a variety of personal, psychological, and mental health concerns,” Ponto said.
Ponto was honored at Founder’s Day with the Lux Esto award. The College describes the award as an employee who has excellent leadership, selfless dedication, and goodwill.
Ponto finds the Lux Esto award extremely useful for K today.
“It encourages leadership, dedication, goodwill, and innovation — all of which are helpful on campus all the time, and particularly needed when significant issues are being discussed and solutions sought,” Ponto said. “I believe that a focus on selfless efforts to understand varying viewpoints, a willingness to act with goodwill when there are differences, and a focus on innovative solutions, would serve us all well.”