2011 USI Volunteer of the Year
Volunteering is a way of life for 2011 Volunteer of the Year
Donna Mesker '86 says helping others is “just a way of life” for her. As the treatment mall director at the Evansville State Hospital, Mesker not only helps people in her profession, but is an avid volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, her church where she is involved with mission trips, and the University of Southern Indiana.
During the annual Volunteer Recognition dinner August 31 at the University of Southern Indiana, Mesker was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award. The Volunteer Recognition Committee selected Mesker for her exceptional dedication to the University.
“I first met Donna when she was a student volunteer for the USI Annual Fund Phonathon,” Nancy Johnson, director of Alumni and Volunteer Services, said. “She continued her involvement on campus following graduation as a constant fund raiser and friend raiser for USI.”
Mesker graduated from USI in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and feels it’s important to give back to the community. “One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my parents was to give back,” Mesker said. “I didn’t always have the treasure to give to the University; as a new college graduate, funds were low. What I could offer was my talent and time, which is many times more valuable than the money.”
Among the 90 different volunteer activities listed in her volunteer record at USI, Mesker served as president of the USI Alumni Association, as an Alumni Council member, a USI Foundation Board member, and a member of the USI Varsity Club Board of Directors since 2004, serving as chair in 2006-07. “Donna’s commitment to the Varsity Club and Athletics is legend,” Johnson said. Her leadership as chair of the Outback Luncheon and her assistance with numerous Varsity Club and Athletic events has raised thousands of dollars to fund scholarships for student athletes.
“Donna is a volunteer that helps with any and every event or task,” said Mandi Fulton, coordinator of Athletics Outreach and Events at USI. “Whether it’s taking tickets at a baseball game, driving vans for regionals, or climbing on top of the Varsity Club Fall Festival booth to clean the grease out of the fan…Donna is there to help with a huge smile on her face.”
As part of the recognition, Mesker’s name will be placed on the permanent plaque that is displayed outside of Carter Hall. Past Volunteer of the Year honorees were Carolyn Ruminer ’10, Bruce and Terri Herrenbruck ’09, David Herrenbruck ’08, Larry and Barb Shelton ’07, Dana Brooke ’06, Jack Marr ’05, Mark J. Alstadt ’04, Patrick J. Goen ’03, David N. Stevens ’02, Cindy L. Bippus ’01, Meredith N. Alcorn ’00, Mary Lou Howard ’99, Joseph W. Cannon ’98, and Lloyd D. Jost ’97.
A special Volunteer Inspiration Award was awarded this year to Joanne Wright for her guidance in creating Volunteer USI. Wright was the volunteer chair of the initial Volunteer Advisory Council. Under her leadership the council was able to develop the volunteer program to enhance services provided by faculty and staff.
To get involved with Volunteer USI, visit http://www.usi.edu/volunteer/.