Jim Amidon — One of the really neat parts of my job at Wabash College is to share good news about the people and programs that make the College unique. Usually I focus my attention on the students and faculty at Wabash, and occasionally I’ll shine a light on impressive alumni I’ve gotten to know.

I find it particularly enjoyable when I have the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women on the administrative staff — the over 100 pros who do everything from keeping the heat on to copying syllabi to recruiting students and raising scholarship dollars.

Sometimes many of us on the staff side of the College have a hard time seeing how our work supports the mission of Wabash — to educate young men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.

Two of Wabash’s administrative assistants, Sharon Metcalf (right) and Rochella Endicott, don’t have that problem.

Sharon, Rochella, and their colleagues across campus are surrounded by students and professors, so they know how their work supports the mission of the College. They see it in the eyes of the students every day.

In fact, they know it so well that they submitted a nomination on behalf of their colleagues, which has resulted in Wabash winning the Award of Excellence from the Indiana Division of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

Sharon tells me that the IAAP is the leading and largest professional association for administrative support staff.

There are more than 40,000 members and 600 worldwide chapters of the IAAP. Wabash College was selected from the eight chapters that make up the Indiana Division.

The IAAP says its Award of Excellence is given to a company (college in our case) that “demonstrates quality support for secretaries, administrative/executive assistants, and related office professionals."

Sometimes we get so caught up in the education of young men that we fail to recognize that Wabash is a pretty good place to work.

We’re in good company, too. A past recipient of the same Indiana Division award is Eli Lilly and Company, which annually is ranked among the top places to work in the United States.

What makes the award and the eight-page nomination sent in by Sharon and Rochella (left) so special is its substance. Sure, the award does suggest Wabash is a good place to work in terms resources, training, recognition, and promotion.

Moreover, Rochella and Sharon were able to document clearly how administrative assistants fit into the overall vision and mission of the College; how they very much feel a part of the wonderful experience students have while enrolled at Wabash.

“We believe that Wabash has much to offer its employees in its physical resources and cultural activities, but also in the way it is recognizing and accepting the changing roles that administrative assistants play in the daily operations of the College,” Sharon said.

That’s heartening. And it’s probably a great reason why visitors to the College, whether they’re stopping through or attending a conference, say how impressed they are with the people who work at Wabash. It is not at all uncommon for our guests to tell me how surprised they were that every person at Wabash seemed to be on the same page; how everyone had a sense of ownership of the College and its mission.

Wabash and its IAAP members will be honored at the annual state meeting, which will be held in Lafayette in early May.

Three cheers for Sharon, Rochella, and all of the outstanding administrative assistants and secretaries who are the backbone of the College’s administration.

By going so far out of their way to lift up Wabash in their national organization, they have once again demonstrated the strong sense of community that not only supports our mission but enhances it.