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Employee Recognition

Quarter Century Club Honorees Receive Special Bricks

Joyce Barron,  HR manager for NC State Continuing and Life Long Education, holds the special brick she received for achieving 25 years of state service.

When NC State employee Joyce Barron received her invitation to the Quarter Century Club breakfast, she rejoiced.

The breakfast is an annual event held at the chancellor’s residence to recognize employees who have achieved 25 years of state service. The honorees received a special award: a brick from the Belltower renovation project with a plaque attached to it. The handmade bricks — referred to as “swirl bricks” — are some of the first laid bricks at the university and date back to the early 1900s.

Seventy-eight employees received invitations to this year’s celebration. Leaders from across the university joined Chancellor Randy Woodson and his wife, Susan, on Oct. 5 to celebrate the honorees.

“To be acknowledged by the chancellor, that is so awesome,” said Barron, HR manager for NC State Continuing and Life Long Education. “I am so grateful he took the time out of his busy schedule to celebrate with us and to say, ‘Thank you.’ I sincerely appreciate that.”

Barron began her career at NC State as a clerk/typist in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She held that job for 11 months before taking a position as a student service assistant in another university program.

Barron left the university for three years but returned in 2005 for an office assistant position in NC State Continuing and Life Long Education. She later became the HR manager there.

Barron said she has stayed at NC State for 25 years for three reasons: the professional opportunities she has received, the great colleagues she gets to work with and the chance to advocate for employees as an HR professional.

“I like being able to help employees get noticed, believe in themselves, build confidence in themselves and see the potential in them that they don’t see in themselves,” she said.

Shawn Dunning, director of IT in the College of Engineering for the dean’s office, its units and two academic departments, said he has had a fulfilling 25-year career at NC State for many reasons. Among those reasons are the opportunity to work in a field he has been passionate about since childhood, the opportunities he has had to help people as a result of his job and the people he has met over the years.

“People always ask me, ‘Why have you stayed at NC State?’ and I say, ‘Because I can walk down the hall and hear eight different languages on my way to get a drink of water,'” Dunning said. “I have always loved traveling and have traveled internationally many times, but at NC State I get to interact with different cultures every day.”

But Dunning’s career at NC State might not have happened if he had not decided to pursue his passion: technology. Dunning came to NC State in 1991 as a student to study textile materials science at the Wilson College of Textiles. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1996. After Dunning earned his bachelor’s degree, he returned to Wilson College to pursue a graduate degree.

As an undergraduate and a graduate student, Dunning worked part-time in IT in the college. He said he loved what he was doing so much that after one year of graduate school, he decided to drop out and pursue a full-time career in IT. It meant a lot to him that Roger Barker, a Wilson College professor, supported his decision.

“Dr. Barker told me I should follow where my heart was leading me,” Dunning said. “I can’t say enough about how much he has been a supporter of me.”

Dunning continued to work part-time in IT at NC State when he dropped out of graduate school. In 1998, he accepted a full-time role in IT at the university. Dunning said he is grateful for the career opportunities he has had at NC State and glad he stayed long enough to get an invitation to the Quarter Century Club breakfast.

“The breakfast was really nice,” he said. “The chancellor makes everybody feel very welcomed and appreciated. It was a really meaningful event.”