More than 120 staff and faculty members gave a standing ovation as Melissa Castle’s name was called as the 2022 Staff Excellence Award winner.
The 2022 Staff Excellence and Teaching Excellence Awards were announced to members of the Newman University community during a celebratory end-of-year event in which all Newman faculty and staff — even those who Zoomed in remotely from the Colorado Springs campus — were invited to participate Friday, April 29.
Multiple nominations described Castle as a loyal co-worker, an advocate for students and “a person who always goes above and beyond what is required.” Another stated that “Melissa is a great example of a culture of service, and models for and empowers others to live the mission of transforming society.”
Castle’s tearful reaction to winning the Staff Excellence Award was one of surprise and overwhelm, she said.
“Seeing the reaction of everybody in the room and how unanimously supported I felt at that moment really puts me in a special place,” Castle said. “In Newman’s history, I get to say forever that I was an excellence award winner. I get my name in those record books with a whole bunch of other people who have done wonderful things here, and I’m just very proud to have that be part of my legacy here at Newman.”
Showing support at Newman and beyond
Castle’s journey as a Newman employee started out in the business office, where she was a staff accountant for four years. She then received her degree in organizational leadership from Newman and began working in the human resources department in 2020. As an employment specialist, Castle onboards employees, welcomes new members into the Newman community and works with supervisors across campus to ensure Newman’s talent acquisitions are properly managed.
In nearly seven years at Newman, Castle has been actively involved in Newman’s annual Party on the Plaza along with various committees within the Staff Assembly Executive Committee. She has contributed to the silent auction, social events, welcoming and wellness committees, and is finishing a full year as president of Staff Assembly. Additionally, Castle works with the Newman Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee and serves on the Mental Health Task Force.
As noted by one of her nominators, Castle makes an effort to be an energetic supporter of as many Newman Athletics events as she can — an act that many student-athletes notice and appreciate. She’s even traveled to Oklahoma to cheer on the Newman volleyball team.
“My husband, Clark, also works here (as mail and copy assistant), so we try to go to all of the volleyball team’s home games that we can,” Castle said. “It’s very exciting to see how that little bit of a gesture seems to mean a lot to the students.”
Whether in the form of a staff-versus-faculty kickball game or fundraising events with Staff Assembly, for Castle the most fulfilling aspect of her role at Newman is “helping to facilitate the connections that people have here.”
“Seeing new people, people who have been here a long time and people who don’t normally get to interact with each other cheer for and support each other. … We’re all on the same team,” Castle said. “We’re here together to do this great work and we’re building that community. It’s exciting and fulfilling.”
Newman: A place for leadership, growth and memories
Castle said she will always be grateful to Newman University for the transformative and positive impact the community has had on her life.
“I hope that it goes without saying in the way that I live my life here on campus that I really do love this place,” she said. “Newman has given me so many opportunities to get my education, to change my occupational path from finance to human resources, to connect with other people here, to grow in leadership ways with Staff Assembly and to incorporate more physical activity in my life with the fitness center access and a walker friendly campus.”
She added, “I really credit this university and the opportunities that I’ve been given to the person that I’ve become and who I continue to try to be every day.”
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