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University names recipients of highest faculty, staff honors

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Carson-Newman University recognized faculty and staff with its highest recognitions during its annual Honors Convocation. Pictured left to right are: Eddie Carter, SOAR Award; Interim President Paul Percy; Bruce Kocour, Distinguished Faculty Award; Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jeremy Buckner; Todd Turpin, SOAR Award.

(April 4, 2019) – Carson-Newman University presented some of its most prestigious faculty and staff recognitions during its annual Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 4. Those honored included Professor Bruce Kocour, Eddie Carter and Todd Turpin.

Kocour was named recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award, the University's highest honor given to a faculty member. Kocour received a bachelor of science degree in 1982 and a Master of Library Science degree in 1983 from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He joined Carson-Newman's faculty in 1991 as a reference librarian and through the years took on more responsibility. In 2002, Kocour was named acting library director, and that position was made permanent in February 2003. In December of 2006, Kocour was named dean of Library Services and associate professor of Library Science.

As library director and dean, Kocour lead the reconfiguration of the library space, which included collaborative spaces utilized by today’s student. His vision and realization of a coffee kiosk eventually led to the development and establishment of the Maples Library Café. Kocour spearheaded the team to move the University’s student success program into the library, giving at-risk students a place where they could not only get help from tutors but also from librarians.

In addition, Kocour has allocated more of the library’s budget to electronic resources rather than traditional print format. In doing so, he enabled distance learners and commuters to use library resources when not on campus.

Al Lang, special collections librarian and archivist, said of him, “I do not know a person on this campus that does not like and respect Bruce. He lives his faith out daily and serves not only the campus, but models this by putting his staff above himself daily.”

Dr. Kitty Coffey, one of the people who nominated Kocour for this award, said, “Library services could easily be taken for granted in that it, like Bruce, operates efficiently, effectively, and so seemingly, effortlessly. Hour to hour and year to year, the library is the one academic building on campus almost always staffed and accessible to faculty and students. Behind that proficiency is a distinguished professor and a highly effective administrator and leader, Bruce Kocour.”

"Professor Kocour’s vision and leadership has helped make Carson-Newman’s library state-of-the-art, and in doing so, has contributed to the ongoing academic success of our students," noted C-N Interim President Paul Percy. "It’s an honor to recognize someone who is so committed to his profession and to our university."

Eddie Carter and Todd Turpin were named this year's SOAR Award recipients, the highest honor given to staff members. Carter began his Carson-Newman career in 1981 and currently serves as assistant athletic director and director of compliance for C-N athletics. His colleagues and student athletes describe him as someone who endeavors to encourage all those around him to become servant-leaders. University Sports Information Director Adam Cavalier said, “Eddie is never lacking for an encouraging word. When life handed him the tragedy of his son’s untimely passing, it was Eddie who made certain that those around him were lifted up. To glorify God, we must use our gifts to the fullest, and Eddie is a shining example of this attitude.”

Todd Turpin is associate director of Marketing. He is a Carson-Newman graduate and a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Turpin spearheaded the effort to rebrand the University’s admissions efforts by creating the ‘You’re Gonna Love It Here’ campaign. In addition, he is helping change the way the University uses technology by developing new strategies and initiatives that have resulted in student growth and retention. Clay Wilkerson, one of Turpin’s co-workers said, “Despite his personal and frequently painful battle with his health, Todd is consistently here and engaged with a smile on his face and an encouraging word. Even when his gas tank is low, he seems focused on filling other's.”

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