Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Dr. Anthony Donovan was named the 2017 Gabhart Award Recipient at Belmont’s annual Staff Christmas Breakfast, held on Wednesday, December 6. Named in honor of the late Dr. Herbert C. Gabhart who served Belmont selflessly for 50 years, the Gabhart Award is the highest honor presented to a staff person and honors a member of the Belmont community who demonstrates significant achievements, commitment and service to the University.
In his day to day role, Donovan oversees Student Conduct, New Student Programs and Orientation and Residence Life. There, he is responsible for the overall operations of Belmont’s residential living program including the supervision, selection and training of his professional and student staff. This includes providing direction and vision for the office and emphasizing student safety, while working with young professionals — “some of the best students (Resident Assistants and Towering Tradition Leaders) in a university full of tremendous students,” he said.
Having been at Belmont for 17 years, Donovan said this recognition means more than he can accurately describe. “I was overjoyed to be nominated,” he said. “Many of the past winners are people I have worked with closely in my time at Belmont and are people I admire and respect greatly. It never occurred to me that I would get to be part of their circle of achievement. Add to the fact that the nominations were submitted by people I work with every day and care about deeply, I was just overwhelmed.”
Looking over his time on campus, Donovan can point to one piece as his favorite — and it’s been the same since he first arrived at Belmont. “The best part has always been the people I work with every day,” he said. “The people at Belmont are unlike any place I have ever been, committed to the success and excellence of the university. It just seems like the most difficult the task, the more jazzed people seem to want to take up the challenge. When young people see others who aspire to be the best they can be, it frees them to dream and dare to be great themselves. That is the first step in transforming people.”
This year’s Gabhart Finalists also included Greg Pillon, Office of Communications, and the inaugural It’s All Belmont to Me Award was presented to Nagy Ibrahim, Custodial Services, in honor of his commitment to customer focus. Past Gabhart Award winners include Don Purdy, Betty Wiseman, Sarah Cates, Gary Hunter, Joan Eakin and Bonnie Wagonfield.