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Tyrus R. Wessell Award

Considered Davenport’s most prestigious honor, the Tyrus R. Wessell Award recognizes exemplary commitment to the University’s Cultural Values. The award criteria includes: embracing DU STAIR values, positively impacting the lives of DU students and making lasting, positive contributions to the University overall.


A Davenport Legacy

Tyrus R. Wessell enrolled in Davenport-McLachlan Institute in 1930 with only enough money for a year’s worth of tuition. When he could not return for classes the following year, M.E. Davenport gave him a job doing janitorial and maintenance work around the college to keep him in school. After years of hard work and perseverance, he was appointed treasurer, a position he would retain for the next 35 years.

Wessell stayed with the college during its growing years and when Sneden became president of the college in 1959, Wessell was named one of three vice-presidents. After retirement, he remained involved in Davenport’s operations as an officer on the boards and custodian of the corporation’s fiscal operations. Few can boast a lifelong vocation; even fewer can claim a singular loyalty to one organization. Tyrus R. Wessell exemplifies a commitment to the University’s cultural values and his work had a lasting, positive impact in the lives of DU students and the University overall.

Davenport University Tyrus R. Wessell Award Winners

Al Gunther
2017 Award Recipient
Al Gunther retired in September 2017 after 19 years of dedicated ITS service to Davenport. He was known for his outstanding customer service to students, faculty and staff, helping everyone nagivate their use of DU's technology solutions. Out of more than 1,200 interactions, not one person had anything negative to say about their encounter with Al.
Dr. Frank Novakowski
2016 Award Recipient
Having made notable contributions at Davenport, Novakowski has served as department coordinator, associate dean and faculty staff member. A true champion for students, Novakowski is known for his sincerity, genuine willingness to help and commitment to accountability. He was also instrumental in the creation and promotion of many new programs such as master of management.
Donna Milham
2015 Award Recipient
Donna has been involved with the University for more than 30 years beginning as a student in the EMS Paramedic Program. She started working part-time as a CPR instructor in 1985, and has since served as Admissions Counselor, Advisor, Assistant Registrar and Registrar.
Janet Maschke
2014 Award Recipient
Employed more than 24 years at Davenport, Janet was described as an unsung hero in academic administration. As Director of Academic Information Systems, Janet "serves our students indirectly every day, delivering the data and information staff need to deliver the best possible service."
Barb Huston
2013 Award Recipient
Barb Huston, recently retired Director of Academic Services Online and Traverse City Campus, started as an Administrative Assistant for Student Services and served in a number of roles throughout the years including Director of Housing, Academic Coordinator and Advisor. Barb is someone who has always put the students’ needs first. Her patience, attention to detail and the ability to cope with challenges has truly affected the experiences students have at DU.
Jenny Thurber
2013 Award Recipient
A much-admired Senior Advisor at the Lansing Campus, Jenny has been with Davenport for more than 11 years and is a shining example of DU's cultural values. She is committed to helping her students succeed and has been known to personally buy them bus passes, locate housing options and even meet on the weekends if students need assistance. "She always goes above and beyond," said one of her nominators. 
Marie Hojeij
2012 Award Recipient
Marie is a much admired Academic Administrative Assistant at the Warren campus. She started with DU as a student in 1996 and was hired as a work study employee in 1997. Her high standards and contributions earned her a full-time position in the Career Services Department before she moved on to academic administration. 
Shubhada Sagdeo
2012 Award Recipient
Shubhada Sagdeo has served Davenport University in the roles of an adjunct faculty, full time faculty, Department Coordinator, Director of Academic services and the Campus Associate Department Chair since 1991. She enjoys challenging her students to think outside of the box and encourages them to ask the "why" questions. She believes in the abilities of all her students and encourages and motivates them by acknowledging and celebrating their accomplishments big and small.

Previous Award Winners

Titles(s) during award year
Tom Woods
Patty Brechbiel
Exectutive Director of Student and Advising Services
Director of Academic Services
Mark Griffin
Linda Haberaecker
Faculty Member
Facutly Member
Barbara Mieras
Susan Crkovski
Sr. Vice President for Major Gifts
Executive Director for Student Services
2008 Tim Mulder Associate Professor
2007 Terri Tomaszek Professor
2006 Michelle Georgevich Vice President for Financial Management
2005 Jacqueline D. Taylor Vice President for Development  
2004 Allen Wetherell Executive Vice President of Operations