PR director receives staff award

Duane Beeson, Northwestern College’s public relations director for more than two decades, is the 2011 recipient of its Staff Recognition for Inspirational Service Award. Beeson’s selection was announced at the college’s Faculty and Staff Recognition Banquet May 2.

The annual award recognizes staff members who consistently provide outstanding contributions by going above and beyond what is expected, who personify a strong Christian commitment, and who distinguish themselves as an inspiration to the campus community. A selection committee composed of faculty, staff, a student and previous award recipients chose the winner from among candidates nominated by Northwestern employees. The award includes a $500 honorarium funded by the Alumni Association.

A mass communications graduate of Taylor University, Beeson spent three years at Indiana State University as its coordinator of broadcast relations before joining Northwestern’s staff in 1986. During his tenure at NWC, the public relations office has grown from a single person to a staff of five that has produced award-winning publications and websites.

“Duane is a steady leader of integrity,” wrote PR staff member Tamara Fynaardt in her nomination of Beeson. “He sets a tremendous example as someone who believes in Northwestern’s mission and tenaciously works to further it.”

In another letter nominating Beeson for the award, Dr. Laird Edman, a professor in the psychology department, called the PR director well-respected and praised his consistent, tireless service, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Ron De Jong, who worked with Beeson as Northwestern’s director of admissions, echoed Edman’s sentiments. “Duane has done an exceptional job for many, many years,” he said. “What I like about him is his organizational skills and the way he involves the whole staff in planning projects. He has really good supervisory skills and a very strong work ethic.”

Beeson’s staff members describe him as a servant-leader. “He is keenly observant of the unique gifts of those of us who work for him, and he ensures we are each able to play to our strengths as he collaborates with us to determine the distribution of roles and assignments,” Fynaardt said.

Public relations colleague Anita Cirulis agrees. “Duane provides just the right amount of freedom and direction,” she wrote in her nomination, going on to cite his leadership of recent accomplishments by the public relations staff: updating Northwestern’s logo and graphic identity in 2005, redesigning the college’s alumni magazine in 2008, revamping the Northwestern website in 2010, and developing a brand promise for the college in 2011.

As busy as he is, Beeson still takes time to speak to the college’s communications classes, provide work opportunities for students in the public relations office, and meet with students researching careers in his field.

It’s just another way of serving as he leads.