Meet the 2021 Distinguished Service Award Winners

Lynn Burks-Herres 

Classified Staff Distinguished Service Award 

Lynn Burks-Herres

Lynn Burks-Herres is a collaborative colleague who goes above and beyond to provide personalized service that makes a positive impact for EWU students, faculty and staff.

While working as a senior secretary in the Department of Psychology, Burks-Herres was the main source of support for some 600 current and prospective students.

Burks-Herres now works as senior secretary for both EWU’s Department of Economics and its Department of Political Science and Public Policy. Her previous colleagues in psychology – and some of the students she helped – wrote moving nominations to recognize her outstanding work. 

Her eagerness to help, combined with extensive institutional knowledge, make Burkes-Herres a go-to person for students like Miriam Carlson.

Burks-Herres receiving award from interim President David May, Thursday, Nov. 18.

Carlson, an Eastern undergraduate and McNair Scholar, praised Burks-Herres’ warmth, devotion and knowledge of programs, academic requirements and resources. “Every time I interact with Lynn, I feel heard, seen, and acknowledged as an individual by her attentiveness, genuine devotion, and reassuring presence,” Carlson said.

Undergraduate Justin Dunfee said Burks-Herres encourages students to succeed in the face of adversity, adding that she “is compassionate and enthusiastic about helping others, creating an environment in which students feel confident, respected and courageous.”

Christi Wavada, program coordinator for Graduate Studies, said “Lynn successfully interacts with and works with individuals from all walks of life in the most compassionate, non-biased and genuine manner.” 

Burks-Herres’ contributions are numerous, said Kayleen Islam-Zwart, professor and chair of the School of Psychology. Students look to Lynn for support and wisdom, she is attentive, has great ideas and gives every student her full attention: “I cannot think of a more deserving person,” she said.

In his nomination letter, Jonathan Anderson, dean of the College of Professional Programs, cited Burks-Herres’ excellent knowledge of systems and processes, and her network of connections. “Perhaps the greatest trait Lynn brings to our campus community is her personality and demeanor,” he said. “Lynn brings a new definition to ‘customer service.’”

Elizabeth Baker 

Administrative Exempt Distinguished Service Award 

Beth Baker
Beth Baker

Elizabeth “Beth” Baker, former director of the Adult and Lifelong Learner Resource Center, is a creative problem-solver who does her homework, builds collaborative relationships and always put students first.

Although Baker recently left the university, she made a tremendous impact on adult and lifelong learners during her time at Eastern.

Baker’s many accomplishments, as recounted in nomination letters from her colleagues, included identifying the needs of the older learning population, launching a resource hub for EWU adult learners and serving as an advocate for this non-traditonal student group. 

Baker worked hard to remove barriers so that older and returning students could complete their degrees and advance professionally. That included stepping up to help when students faced daunting challenges. When Covid-19 interrupted plans to create a center for adult students, for example, Baker created a library of web content to expand access to important resources.

Virginia Hinch, retired associate vice president for Student Resources and Career Development, calls Baker a “consummate collaborator,” saying she worked across divisions and departments as an advocate for the adult learners she served.

Baker also worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of students and colleagues, said Samantha Armstrong-Ash, associate vice president for Student Life and dean of students.Baker had a strong history of service and a passion for students, she said.

Robert Sauders, vice president for Student Affairs, said whenever larger policy and strategy directions were discussed, Baker always asked, “How will this affect students?” 

Recently, Baker took on the challenge of auditing the records of students who had dropped out to see if any actually qualified for a degree. Beth took a “student-centric approach to create lasting and transformational change in student lives,” Sauders said.

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