Hundreds of people stood from their chairs and cheered when Director of Campus Security Morris “Mo” Floyd received the prestigious Staff Excellence Award at this year’s Honors and Academic Awards Banquet.
The Staff Excellence Award is given to one individual who exemplifies the qualities of someone who serves and supports students, faculty and staff. Floyd is renowned on the Newman campus for doing exactly that.
At this year’s banquet, Director of Mission Effectiveness Sister Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC, asked announcers to read 10 items about the winners before announcing their names.
“By the third description, everyone knew the winner of the Staff Excellence Award was Mo,” she said.
More than 90 nominations were submitted to the Staff Excellence Award selection committee. Floyd did not expect his name to be announced among the evening’s winners, but was honored when he was invited to the stage, he said.
“I work with some awesome people and to be singled out like that just meant the world to me,” Floyd said. “My wife and kids have seen the back-end of what I do at Newman, so when they found out I received an award they told me they were proud and congratulated me. It was a pretty neat thing for all of us.”
Prior to Newman, Floyd served his country as an assistant squad leader in the Army and worked for the Wichita Police Department for 27 years. Six days after he retired from the police department, Floyd started as director of campus security.
Instead of taking the “old school” approach to campus security, which Floyd describes as the “I’m in charge, you will do what I say” mentality, he came to Newman with a different philosophy.
“I set out to make students the No. 1 priority here and I hope that’s shown,” Floyd said. “It felt like the right thing to do, and I think this award helps me know I’m headed in the right direction.”
Outside of his job description, Floyd is a big supporter of the Campus Gardening Club, the Newman Chorale and Troubadours and several other student-led organizations. His creative thinking even landed him the starring role in a recent YouTube video made by Newman 360Five, called “If Security Guards Acted Like Students.”
During his first week as security director, Floyd couldn’t stop reflecting on the final words of the mission of Newman University; “empowering graduates to transform society.”
“I kept thinking, ‘I’m security. How do I empower a graduate to transform society? I’m not a professor, I don’t have a classroom.’ But example can be a powerful thing,” he said. “I realized that if I can set an example of treating people the way I want to be treated and exercising forgiveness where it’s needed, maybe students will see that and it will catch on.”
Floyd added, “I don’t formally teach, but I actually teach all the time, I think. That’s my way of empowering people and whether they want to learn from it or not, I can’t control. But I give what I have and at least try to put it out there for them.”
To view the full list of winners from the Honors and Academic Awards Banquet, click here.