MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Nazarene University honored seven retirees at a Recognition of Service and Retiree Reception on Thursday, May 2.
Honored were Dr. Randy Cronk, Leroy Flowers, Paul Nixon, Dr. Pam Owen, Stanley Park, Mary Lou Sinzinger, and Denise Smith.
“This reception is joyous, because it gives us an opportunity to celebrate your life and your work, and probably say things we should’ve said all along, but wait until you leave to tell you how we really felt,” said Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II, MVNU president. “Each of you have made this a better place. You contributed to this university.
"This university isn’t about buildings, it’s always about the people in the buildings. And you have been in there and served in your areas of responsibility. I want to thank you in the many ways you have left your mark on this campus. The deepest memories will have your name on them.”
Dr. Randy Cronk was a professor of psychology for 35 years at MVNU. Over the years, Dr. Cronk has used his love of traveling to impact more than 500 students on over 15 January bike trips, six trips to Papua New Guinea, and six spring break trips.
“Randy’s philosophy of teaching has always been that ‘all truth is God’s truth,’ and he has lived into that,” said Dr. LeeAnn Couts, Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences. “He has not shied away from topics that may be complex or controversial, or rather engage them in a deep intellectual level.
"I believe that part of his legacy is that our entire department embodies that belief.”
Leroy Flowers spent 29 years as a painter for the campus facilities department.
Over the years, Flowers has kept all campus buildings looking fresh and new — 75 structures, 800,000 square feet of building space.
“During Leroy’s tenure at MVNU, the building footprint increased by more than double, the paint crew size stayed the same — one person, Leroy,” said Tony Edwards, director of Facilities. “Leroy, you have earned the right to put down the paintbrush and spend time with your family and friends.”
During the last 26 years as an HVAC technician at MVNU, Stanley Park has serviced and repaired everything from 100-ton roof-top units to 100,000 BTU gas furnaces.
“Stan has a unique mechanical skillset that will be next to, if not impossible, to replace. He can take an old piece of obsolete equipment that breaks down and find a way to get it working again. Often times making it work better then it worked before,” Edwards said.
For 18 years, Paul Nixon was an assistant professor of library science and director of the campus library.
“Paul has been such a blessing to the library and MVNU. His technical expertise and wisdom has moved the library forward, even in the midst of difficult budgets and cuts,” said Joy Strickland, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Retention.
“He cares for the library like it’s his own home.”
Dr. Pam Owen is retiring after 23 years as a professor of education. She is a 1972 alumna of MVNU and known as the “ultimate champion for young children.”
“Dr. Owen spent decades teaching, training, and urging us all to view life in the eyes of a child,” said Elizabeth Napier, assistant professor of
Education. “Dr. Owen’s words have affected hundreds of future teachers, if not thousands.”
Mary Lou Sinzinger spent 13 years as the Counseling Center and Student Health Services receptionist working with students. She was always there to listen, give kind words and pray.
“It is a gift that she has that there is no way to quantify it,” said Dr. Eric Browning, Director of Counseling and Wellness. “The quality of this lady is unbelievable. Rarely have I ever come across someone as kind and compassionate as Mary Lou.”
Denise Smith, coordinator of Student Health Services, is retiring after 22 years of service.
“Excellence. Skilled. Professional. Flexible. Consistent. Team player. Positive influence. I’ve seen these qualities, and many more, in Denise over the years,” said Dr. Browning. “I’ve come to admire and respect her greatly.”