Congratulations to Barb Ellmaker and Dr. Linda Samuel, winners of the Draayers S.T.A.R. Award and Dettmann Award for 2024.

Harris Draayers S.T.A.R. Award

This award is an honor bestowed by the staff on one of its own in recognition as the outstanding staff member of the year. Overall consideration is given to the staff member who exemplifies Concordia as a way of life by making outstanding contributions and bringing honor to the university through service, teamwork, action, and results (S.T.A.R.).

Winner: Barb Ellmaker

Barb has been a faithful servant at Concordia University Wisconsin for over 28 years. She has held various roles at the university including assisting with off-site locations and adult accelerated programming when it was in its earliest stages. For the last several years, Barb has held the role of University Certifying Official for all student veterans and families that utilize V.A. benefits.

In this role, Barb provides 5-star service to all she interacts with. She is a tireless advocate for students and provides exceptional personal attention to those that need it. Many of our students seek Barb out at commencement to thank her. Others reach out years after they have left Concordia to express their deep gratitude to Barb.

Barb is a valued member of the Veteran Services team, and she has advanced the mission and prestige of the department and University in her involvement in the “Military Friendly” award process. Under Barb’s leadership, the university has been named #1 for Military Friendly and Military Friendly Spouses out of all Private Universities offering doctorates in the nation for the last two years. She shows her concern for our students and all that have served our nation by participating in many activities, such as the “Salute to Service Week.”

Outside of Concordia, Barb is an active member of her church; She has also volunteered extensively at her daughter’s school and church. Barb also has taken part in several “To Whom Honor is Due” events at local LCMS congregations, as well as at CUW. Barb demonstrates all of the major attributes of this award: Service, Teamwork, Action, Results. The best part is that she does it all with a deep desire to serve our Lord faithfully.

Dettman Award

This award is named after Dr. Norbert Dettmann, who served as a voluntary physician for 20 years and addressed the medical needs of Concordia students. His joyful service and dedication to the students of Concordia are held in deep regard by all those that he served during the 1950s and 1960s. Recipients of this award are current Concordia faculty or staff members who demonstrate the same spirit of selflessness and care for others as Dr. Norbert Dettmann did. Recipients are selected based upon their involvement in the community and their dedication to living Concordia’s mission in their everyday life. Additionally, recipients are generous supporters of Concordia with their time, talent, and financial resources.

Winner: Dr. Linda Samuel

Linda is a deserving recipient for this distinguished honor and embodies the university’s mission of service “to Christ in the Church and the world.” She has served at Concordia University Wisconsin since 1995. She began as an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and worked through the ranks of professor and in 2011 began her work as Dean of The School of Health Professions.

In addition to working at Concordia, she has been a generous donor and supporter of the university. Her family established the Samuel Family School of Health Professions Endowment.

Linda is also an active volunteer in her church and in her community. She serves the Lord through her work with local food pantries and the Kapco toy drive. She has been involved with an experiential learning trip in Curaçao (CURE-A-SEW) with Concordia students.

Two of her colleagues express the following about Linda …

Dale Gerke shares: “One of the great things about Linda, is her desire to get everyone to work together rather than in silos. She has a natural knack to bring people together.”

Meghan Watry-Christian shares: “Linda has been a great teacher and mentor” Linda provides an example of a leader who is collaborative, and at the same time trusts her team to do what they need to do. In all the various roles she’s played in my life, Linda has been caring and supportive, while also getting the job done!”

In addition, other employees were honored for years of service milestones, most notably John Wichman (Buildings & Grounds) for 35 years, and Dr. Thomas Saleska (Professor of Science) for 30 years.

Thank you to the Human Resources Department and the President’s Office for organizing today’s fun event (which included a pre-lunch Wellness Walk around our beautiful campus) and to Sodexo for preparing the delicious taco bar. Most of all, thank you to all the amazing employees who continue to make Concordia University Wisconsin such an uncommon place to work, grow, and serve Christ together. To God be the glory!

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Concordia University Wisconsin is a Lutheran higher education community committed to helping students develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world. To learn more or to apply today, click on the link below.