As the academic year comes to a close, the entire university is looking back at all of the achievements earned throughout the year. There are endless ceremonies for academic achievements, graduation and more. Among some of the most important ceremonies are those for faculty and staff; without their hard work, long days and even longer nights, none of these community events would be possible.
Staff Woman of the Year is an annual award intended to highlight the often unnoticed accomplishments of staff-classified women at ETSU that have made a notable impact in the workplace and community. The award is co-sponsored by the university’s Commission for Women Standing Committee, Office of Equity and Diversity and Women’s Resource Center.
This year, Jill Fair of Biomedical Communications (BMC) was presented the prestigious award by ETSU President Brian Noland and Dr. Larissa Bossaer, chair of the Commission for Women Standing Committee. Fair also received a $1,000 cash award. She was nominated along with five others in recognition of her hard work, endless efforts and achievements.
“When I first met Jill, I could tell right away that she is creative, an idea person, and a problem-solver. Over the past three years, that impression has only strengthened,” said Rachel Walden, Director of Biomedical Communications. “I have also learned how much she cares for her colleagues, how much she cares about the products she puts out, and how committed she is to seeing things succeed for the university.”
Fair has served as a scientific graphic specialist in ETSU’s Biomedical Communications Department for 14 years. She has played an instrumental role in her office’s technological advances and ultimately inspired the establishment of ETSU Creative Services. ETSU Creative Services helps Biomedical Communications, University Relations and the ETSU Post Office to coordinate the management of projects regarding design, print and mail. Fair led the design and development of the website that now makes ordering these services as easy as clicking a button.
“She is a gifted person, a force of nature and larger than life. I’ve called her a ‘machine gun of ideas’ because they come at you rapidly and continuously,” said Robin Fisher, Fair’s immediate supervisor. “I’ve never known anyone who so quickly karate chops their way through the complicated issues of the day as Jill —and she does it with skill, grace, dexterity, razor-sharp logic, kindness and a good amount of humor.”
Outside of creating supersized notebooks to maximize efficiency, Fair is a dedicated volunteer. Among her efforts, she helps raise funds for ill individuals, serves on the board of the Elizabethton Woman’s Civic Club and provides freelance design work for non-profits and her church.
“Jill Fair is a treasure and we’re lucky to have her in our department. She is a problem-solver at heart, someone who is constantly thinking of ways to make our work better and more efficient,” said Walden. “Jill is insightful, generous with her time and effort and a genuinely good person. I can’t say enough good things about working with her, and I’m lucky to call her my colleague and friend.”
Each person in Jill Fair’s life has described her as dedicated, hardworking and a true role model. There is no doubt among her colleagues and friends that she deserves the title of Staff Woman of the Year.