TROY – Lauren Cochran, departmental secretary for First-Year Studies within the John W. Schmidt Center for Student Success at Troy University, has won the University's Vergil Parks McKinley Award.
Cochran, who has been employed by the University since 2015, received the award from Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, during a ceremony on Tuesday in the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor on the Troy Campus. She was nominated by Ivan Merritt, former associate dean of First-Year Studies.
The McKinley Award is the highest honor that Troy University gives to a non-faculty staff member. It is presented quarterly to an employee who has demonstrated outstanding attitude, innovation and work ethic. The award was established by the late John McKinley, former Texaco CEO, in honor of his father, Vergil Parks McKinley, who was a Troy University professor during the early 20th century and was key to the development of the University's athletic program. Winners of this award receive an engraved clock and a $1,000 stipend.
In a letter of nomination, Merritt said that Cochran, as departmental secretary, impacts all aspects of the John W. Schmidt Center for Student Success.
"Lauren handles every task with a can-do attitude, and her actions are a positive influence on the entire organization," Merritt said. "Add in her exceptional talents and skill sets to the attitude and it reveals the true blessing Lauren is to Troy University."
Merritt said Cochran plays a large role in the organization of the University's Campus Kitchens program and consistently goes above and beyond her responsibilities to ensure the success of other programs through her support of the Southern Circuit Film Series and projects of student development.
"As her supervisor, I certainly cherish Lauren's quality work performance, but more important I cherish who she is," Merritt said. "She has a sterling character of impeccable integrity whose professionalism and honesty are above reproach. Lauren is the ‘real deal' and her talent and skill contribute to the success of Troy University."
Cochran said she was surprised and honored to receive the McKinley Award.
"I haven't been an employee of Troy University for very long, but it has already blessed my life in many ways," Cochran said. "One of those ways is the family atmosphere that exists here. I'm so thankful for that spirit and I am honored to receive this award."