Franklin College Alumnus Earns Top Staff Award While 36 Employees Recognized for Milestone Years of Service

By Franklin College | | 1.15.24

Franklin College honored a staff member with an award of excellence and recognized several employees for milestone years of service at the 30th Annual Employee Appreciation and Holiday Celebration on Friday, Dec. 15.

Jarrod Brett, associate registrar in the Office of Academic Records at Franklin College, received the 2023 Margaret A. Hommell Staff Service Excellence Award.

Brett has worked for Franklin College in various roles since 2003 when he joined the men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. He served in that role until 2014. In 2009, he took on additional duties as the college’s student success coordinator before transitioning to the registrar’s office in 2014. Brett received his bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from the institution in 1998. While in college, he was a member of the men’s basketball team. He received his master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Indiana State University.

Many colleagues nominated Brett for the award, citing his “courteous, respectful and helpful attitude toward fellow employees,” his ability to provide “accurate communication, including timely feedback,” his ability to take “initiative to improve processes to make them effective and efficient,” and the fact that he is “knowledgeable and well-trained in areas of responsibility.”

One nominator stated: “I put forth Jarrod for this honor, as he embodies the qualities and dedication that make Franklin College exceptional.” The letter continued with, “He is available as a listening ear, offers sound advice and provides assistance in any way possible. Our staff and faculty seek out Jarrod because of his knowledge, support, and professionalism. Jarrod is excellent at fostering positive and collaborative relationships, making him an outstanding candidate for this award.”

As associate registrar, Brett assists students on their academic journey from the time they deposit through the time they graduate. “After they deposit, Jarrod reads each student’s Academic Connection Survey and high school transcript to determine which classes they will need and which they are most likely to enjoy during their first semester. A lot rides on Jarrod’s ability to interpret these documents well – looking for each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and listening to what students say about their academic interests – because any student’s first-semester experience has a huge impact on whether that student thrives,” wrote one nominator.

In addition to his job in the registrar’s office, Brett has also served on many faculty searches, carefully evaluating resumes to help find the most qualified candidate for the job. “Jarrod’s intelligence and keen insight into candidates’ strengths and weaknesses was evident every time we discussed candidate portfolios,” shared one nominator. “He was also a great member for the team for candidates to meet during dinners. Jarrod is an extraordinarily good FC ambassador. He is well read, asks good questions, tells great stories about the college that indicate his love for the place, and he has a wonderful, dry sense of humor. He has the rare ability to put candidates at ease.”

Brett has shared his expertise in history by teaching Immersive Term classes during the month of January for the history department. He has also led students on Immersive Term travel trips to London and Paris and, most recently, to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. One nominator who accompanied Brett on the recent two-week trip wrote: “I noticed the different responsibilities that Brett assumed in two very different countries, speaking in French and Arabic, buying tickets, making reservations, checking students’ morale, and sharing with them his expertise on the history of the Middle East. He has demonstrated excellent leadership skills that go beyond his administrative responsibilities.”

Brett, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, also serves as the college’s veteran’s benefits coordinator. In this role, he has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the veteran students, ensuring they have the access and guidance they need to succeed academically and transition to college life. He also helped establish a student veteran organization on campus to help foster community and support among students who are veterans.

Brett resides in Franklin with his wife, Jennifer.

The award is named in memory of the late Margaret A. Hommell, a Franklin College staff member who served on the award selection committee for several years and passed away in October 2006. The recipient receives a $250 cash award and an engraved plaque.

Full-time employees honored for their years of service with the college include the following:

5-year awards: Jasmina Cheeseman (Carmel), Dana Cummings (Franklin), Lee Ann Jourdan (Indianapolis 46201), Brittany LaBonte ’07 (Morgantown), Ryan McElwain (Greenwood), Joseph Young (Franklin), Wei Wei (Greenwood)

10-year awards: Jennifer Cataldi ’05 (Indianapolis 46203), Wanpen (Lisa) Doolittle (Indianapolis 46203), Emily Jones ’09 (Trafalgar), Emily Marten (Franklin), Kyra Noerr (Indianapolis 46239), Sandra Randolph (Franklin), Jared Sabelhaus ’05 (Greenwood), Christopher Wach (Nineveh), Emily Olibo ’95 (Franklin)

15-year awards: Nora Brem ’87 (Cleves, Ohio), Susan Crisafulli (Franklin), Justin Gash (Franklin), Andrew Hendricks (Franklin), Rebecca Wallace (Franklin), Kristine Wood (Franklin)

20-year awards: John Boardman (Franklin), David Cunningham (Indianapolis 46205), Barbara Everling (Franklin), Christopher Shaff ’96 (Franklin), Kristin Wasielewski (Franklin)

25-year awards: Thomas (Doug) DeWees (Franklin), Steve Leonard (Indianapolis 46227)

30-year award: Tandy Shuck (Greenwood)

35-year award: Mark Wright (Martinsville)

40-year award: Scott Cummings (Franklin)

45-year award: Mark Brittner (Franklin)

Part-time employees honored for their years of service with the college include the following:

5-year awards: Tyler Hoffman (Franklin), Michael Wynn ’88 (Whiteland)

35-year award: Russell “Rusty” Hughes (Franklin)

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit Find Franklin College on Facebook, follow @FranklinCollege on X (formerly known as Twitter) and watch FranklinCollegeGrizzlies on TikTok.