Published on April 6, 2023  
Campus View Outside Brooks Hall

Each year, the Bill Nunnelley Award is presented to the staff member whose work regularly and consistently exceeds expectations and reflects a high level of service, trustworthiness and respect.

In 2022, Samford announced the expansion of the annual award, with the quarterly recognition of staff members who embody these values. Throughout the year, the Samford community is invited to nominate staff through quarterly nomination cycles. Selected nominees are announced to the Samford community and will be automatically considered as a nominee for the annual Bill Nunnelley Award.

The Staff Advisory Council is pleased to announce its second round of quarterly honorees:

Gretchen Sexton

Assistant to the Dean, Orlean Beeson School of Education

Sexton is the assistant to the dean in the Orlean Beeson School of Education, and previously served as an administrative assistant in Howard College of Arts and Sciences. Her colleagues recognized her for her nurturing and welcoming personality, her positive attitude, her dedication and commitment to her work, and her ability to make everyone feel valued. One colleague wrote, “Gretchen makes everyone she comes into contact with feel as if she's really listening, and she's conscientious in following up to see how things might resolve.” Another wrote, “Not only is Gretchen a welcoming and friendly face in the Dean's Office of Orlean Beeson School of Education, if you have ever encountered her on campus, she is that way to everyone she meets. I am not even sure she is aware of how much she brightens our lives.”

Jeremy Haynes

Assistant Director, Enterprise Applications Group, Technology Services

Haynes is the assistant director of the Enterprise Applications Group in the Department of Technology Services. He was worked at Samford for 19 years. He is recognized for always going above and beyond and constantly seeking solutions to the problems he encounters. His colleagues say that he is willing to take on new tasks and learn new skills. One example is from the COVID-19 pandemic. A fellow employee wrote, “When presented with unique reporting needs and issues to deal with the pandemic, he responded by learning and teaching others on the IT team new ways of doing things to master the complexity of COVID reporting. He has gone on to leverage these tools to improve everyday tasks for Samford employees.” Another wrote, “He has assisted in implementing multiple systems that have changed the way work looks for many Samford staff today. His work has touched almost every employee of Samford, although most will never know he was behind the improvements.”

Leslie Armstrong

Academic Adviser, Howard College of Arts and Sciences

Armstrong is an academic adviser in Howard College of Arts and Sciences and has worked for the university since 2018. Her colleagues say she is a dynamic and creative member of the advising team and has worked hard to build relationships with Samford students to help them grow and succeed beyond graduation. One colleague wrote, “As a freshman adviser, she guides students along their undergraduate and career paths. She has met with hundreds of students and is kind, compassionate, and caring. These students come to Leslie long after their official freshman advising is done. Students come to say hello, to chat, and to get advice from Leslie.  She is always extremely patient with them, frequently acting like a surrogate mom while they are off to college.” Another wrote, “Leslie is 100% dedicated and committed to her work. She works with integrity while always being patient and helpful to others. She supports the mission of Samford through her tireless work and dedication. Samford is a better place and our students, staff, and faculty greatly benefit from her efforts.”

Joe Collins

Manager of Sports Turf, Department of Operations and Planning

As the sports turf manager for the university, Collins maintains the playing surfaces for Samford’s numerous stadiums. He is recognized for his commitment and dedication to maintaining beautiful fields. A colleague wrote, “Joe does a fantastic job keeping the playing turf at our soccer, softball and baseball stadiums perfectly manicured and exceptionally green.  The pristine appearances of our fields do not happen by accident but rather is a perfect blend of fertilizer, insecticides, water, cutting, grooming, etc. The appearances of our fields are well known on campus, in the community and across the conference. Joe goes about this work with humbleness and resolve. He is committed to getting it right!”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.