The President's medal is a prestigious award that is given annually to one HAPS member who has provided exemplary service to HAPS. This year's recipient, Tom Lehman of Coconino Community College, represents the essence of HAPS.
Tom has been a HAPS member since 2000 and became very active in HAPS right from the start. His contributions to HAPS are numerous. Tom has given well-attended workshops at annual conferences, contributes articles to HAPS-ED, and is an active participant on the listserv. He has supported the mission of HAPS by hosting a regional conference in 2003 in Fort Morgan, Colorado.
Tom has served as chair or co-chair of the various versions of HAPS' Web Committee and has been the chair of the Steering Committee since 2004. The Board recently appointed him to another three-year term as chair of the Steering Committee because of the incredible job he does. He has unprecedented organizational skills and the unique ability to keep many strong personalities on task and on track - and always with a smile on his face!
Because of his vast knowledge of HAPS members, Tom has served on multiple nominating committees. And Tom does seem to know EVERYBODY! Thus, he has assumed the unofficial title of HAPS "Social Director and Ambassador." Tom initiated and continues to organize the very successful HAPS Scavenger Hunt for HAPS members attending their first HAPS annual conference. This event involves first-timers seeking out committee chairs and gathering their signatures so the first-timers can be entered into prize drawing. This simple by ingenious game allows new HAPS members to connect with each other, to engage in discussion with committee chairs, to learn about HAPS and its committees, and, ultimately, to get first-timers involved in HAPS from day one!
At every HAPS annual conference, Tom coordinates a T-shirt exchange where members can bring a T-shirt from their institution and trade it for a shirt from another institution. This provides yet another way to develop relationships with colleagues from throughout the US and Canada.
Tom loves to tie-dye and for many years, he has given individualized tie-dyed t-shirts to annual conference coordinators - a much coveted item!
Tom's "ambassadorship" continues long after HAPS annual conferences end, as he travels thousands of miles throughout North America, spending time with HAPS members in their hometowns.
Perhaps most importantly, Tom personifies the intangibles of HAPS that those of us who have been members a long time recognize. HAPS is more than update seminars and workshops. it is also the support we give each other as colleagues both professionally and personally... the life-long friendships we make.
I am proud to call Tom my colleague and friend, and humbly honor him with this year's President's Medal.