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Baker, Williams Earn USM Board of Regents' Staff Awards

Megan Baker
Megan Baker

SALISBURY, MD---Two Salisbury University employees have received one of the University System of Maryland’s highest honors: the Board of Regents’ Staff Award.

Megan Baker, SU public relations specialist, earned the accolade in the “Outstanding Service to Students in an Academic or Residential Environment” category. Claire Williams, program management specialist in the Education Leadership and Secondary and Physical Education departments, was honored in the “Extraordinary Public Service to the University or to the Greater Community” category.

Megan Baker

“Megan is one of the people at SU who goes far beyond what is required or expected, and she is very much intertwined with the fabric of our University,” said SU President Charles Wight. “Her leadership to causes such as Relay For Life demonstrate her care and compassion outside of the job.”

Last fall, that care manifested itself during a difficult time for the campus following the unexpected death of a student sorority leader. As the sorority’s staff advisor, Baker worked with regional and national representatives from its parent organization, as well as SU offices and administrators, to assist students who were impacted by the loss.

“She led them through what was likely the hardest thing that most of them have had to deal with,” said Wight.

This included not only providing grief resources and academic advising sessions, but individualized help with classes and activities, or just being there for comfort and moral support.

“She checked on our personal struggles and made sure that each member felt loved and assisted in the way they needed as a friend and not just as an advisor,” said sorority member and recent SU graduate Sadie Addlesberger.

Baker also is known for supporting SU’s communication students, assisting those in the University’s Public Relations Office with their practicum experiences, serving as a writing coach and taking an advising role in the SU Communication Department’s Public Relations Cases and Strategies course. Her mentees have gone on to work at media outlets including Entertainment Tonight.

In addition, she has been praised for her role as a co-advisor for SU’s award-winning annual Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society (ACS).

“Megan’s strength is the energy she brings to the 24-hour event, staying all night, offering guidance to student leaders, judging events and working behind the scenes to ensure that the event is a success,” said Relay co-advisors Sommer Dunlevy, University Dining Services marketing specialist, and Dr. Heather Holmes, Center for Student Achievement director. “Her commitment and enthusiasm are contagious throughout everything she does.”

The ACS also has lauded Baker, Dunlevy and Holmes, honoring them with its South Atlantic Division Collegiate Outstanding Support Award in 2015. Under their leadership, the event has raised nearly $1 million for cancer research and patient support.

Baker has been part of the SU community for more than a decade, earning her B.A. in communication arts from the University in 2013. She is a native of Huntingtown, MD.

Claire Williams

“What is most impressive about Claire’s volunteerism is the way in which she engages students in her service to others,” said Wight. “She goes out of her way to involve students so that they are able to enjoy the benefits of helping those in need. Claire takes very seriously SU’s commitment to community engagement and helps us fulfill our mission of educating students both in and out of the classroom.”

During her 22 years at SU, Williams has volunteered and inspired student volunteerism with more than half a dozen prominent community organizations, including Hope and Life Outreach (HALO) Ministries, Surfers Healing, Chesapeake Housing Mission, Operation We Care and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

With HALO, she regularly serves meals to community members who otherwise may go hungry. She also has helped SU organizations, including the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and SU baseball team, become involved in HALO outreach. With Surfers Healing, she volunteers in the registration area for surfing camps held to enhance the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Through Chesapeake Housing Mission and other local organizations, Williams participates in an average of two projects a year to build wheelchair ramps for local residents in need. She also has helped students become involved in these projects, working alongside them.

For more than a decade, she has been involved with Operation We Care, a program providing care packages for military personnel and first responders. As the former advisor of SU’s APO chapter, she also oversaw the student organization’s involvement in fundraising and helping assemble care packages for the program.

On campus, she collects aluminum can tabs from her department, as well as a local church, and transports them along with donations each year to the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore, which recycles the tabs to help fund operations.

She also volunteers annually at the registration table for SU’s Sea Gull Century 100-mile/100-kilometer bicycle ride, which raises thousands of dollars for student scholarships and community organizations. (She also rides in the event annually and promotes it at other bicycling events.)

In addition, Williams regularly cycles with SU Living Learning Community students and helps engage them in community service such as park cleanups and repairing beach fencing.

“She serves as a role model to SU students, and her dedicated service continually makes a substantive impact on the lives of others,” said her nominators, Drs. Douglas DeWitt, chair of the Leadership Education Department, and Randall Groth, chair of the Secondary and Physical Education Department.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website.