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Commitment to Mission Awards to Dean Glenn Koponen and Dean Wanda Velez

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Wednesday May 10, 2017

The two New York campuses of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary came together for the annual year-end faculty and staff luncheon to celebrate and honor the service of its employees who embody one or more of the institution’s five core values: academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, personally transforming and socially relevant.

This year an award presented annually since 2009 to one faculty member and one staff member was renamed the Rick Santiago Commitment to Mission Award in memory of the late Rick Santiago (1972-2016), a Nyack alumnus (MSOL ’07; BS ’95) and employee. In 2011, he was a recipient of the Commitment to Mission Award.

The 2017 recipients were for faculty, School of Music dean and professor, Dr. Glenn Koponen (top) and for staff, Mrs. Wanda Velez (bottom) dean of students, Office of Student Development, Rockland campus, both pictured with President Scales and Mrs. Joy Santiago, wife of the award namesake.

With more than 48 years of service to Nyack College, Dr. Glenn Koponen consistently exemplifies academic excellence and demands it of his students, challenging them to embrace their God-given gifts. He starts investing in students even before they enroll, and once they enroll, he faithfully advises, teaches and prays with them. He models what it means to be a Christian musician and to celebrate faith in Jesus Christ through music. He is a master teacher, accomplished performer, recognized arranger, dedicated department head and dean, and a beloved colleague.

Dean Velez is recognized for being personally transforming and socially relevant. This life-changing encourager and an enforcer of “tough love” thrives on mentoring and motivating staff and students. She is an effective role model as a first-generation college graduate and accomplished professional. She has intentionally pursued and fostered leadership development skills in her own life, such as the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development Institute and CCCU’s Women’s Advanced Leadership Institute, to increase her investment in others. 

Congratulations to two pillars in the campus community!


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