0 Faculty and Staff Honored at Retirement and Recognition Dessert

Faculty and Staff Honored at Retirement and Recognition Dessert

May 8, 2019

On Tuesday, April 23, Houghton University held its annual Retirement and Recognition Dessert, honoring longstanding faculty and staff for their contributions to the college and to the Houghton community.


This year’s Mary Boomhower Staff Excellence Award was presented to Betsy Rutledge, associate director of admission events and office operations. The award is presented annually to a staff member who has served the college for over ten years.

Rutledge is known for her generous warmth, her attention to detail, and her commitment to making Houghton University a welcoming place for prospective students and parents. A colleague describes how even on the most stressful days of work, Rutledge “is her irrepressibly cheerful self and can laugh about what has to be done yet. And she never forgets, even in the midst of the whirlwind, to ask how others are doing.”

Education professor Connie Finney received the Ken Boon Community Service Award, which honors the memory of biology professor Ken Boon. Finney has been a member of the Houghton University faculty since 1982, and also serves as the pastor of Sojourners Mennonite Fellowship in Belfast. In both roles, she has faithfully invested in the people entrusted to her care—an investment which has had long-lasting impact on the Houghton community and beyond.

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Massey, former professor of education at Houghton University, reflected on one of the ways Finney has inspired her students and her congregation: “If you want to know why Buffalo is a much better place to live today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, it is because so many of Connie’s students and Sojourners Fellowship members have decided to make a stop in the city after having been challenged and mentored by her.”

Anniversaries and Retirement

Fifteen faculty and staff members celebrated special anniversaries of their employment—ten, fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five years. New Testament professor Terrence “Terry” Paige and lead custodian René Stempert were specially recognized for their twenty-five years at Houghton University.

The college also acknowledged and thanked the following nine retiring faculty and staff members for their years of service:

  • Cameron Airhart (professor of history)
  • Robert Black (professor of economics)
  • Rich Eckley (professor of theology)
  • Connie Finney (professor of education)
  • Jane Miner (academic departments coordinator, Departments of English, Communication, and Education)
  • Meic Pearse (professor of history)
  • Cynthia Symons (professor of psychology)
  • Ellen Woolley (gift accounting manager, Office of Advancement)
  • Stephen Woolsey (professor of English)