Michelle Berry wins Vergil Parks McKinley Award at Troy University

December 15, 2016

Michelle Berry, departmental secretary for Aerospace Studies at Troy University, has won the University’s Vergil Parks McKinley Award.

Berry, who has been employed by the University since August 2014, received the award from Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, during the annual faculty/staff Christmas luncheon in the Trojan Center Ballrooms on the Troy Campus. She was nominated by Capt. John D. Strayn, assistant professor of Aerospace Studies, Air Force ROTC.

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, Capt. Strayn called Berry “the glue that keeps our department together.”

“In addition to being a phenomenal secretary, she carries the unique duty of the TROY liaison, providing top quality advice and guidance that accurately translates to our entirely Air Force staff. This function also applies to TROY students that are concurrently competing to become U.S. Air Force officers, making sure the cadet paperwork/credentials were submitted in a timely manner, providing access to military online programs so they would be prepared for class and doing Air Force-specific calculations on each cadet in the program to ensure they are eligible to compete for the very limited nationwide officer admissions board.”

Capt. Strayn said Berry presents an inviting and calming presence within the office and is a model of Air Force Core Values.

“I have encountered few individuals with her dedication and work ethic,” he said. “She is the model for our Air Force Core Values: ‘Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do.’”

Berry said she was honored to receive the award and credited the teamwork of the staff for the success of the program.

“There are a lot of things that go on in Air Force ROTC, and everyone is involved and stays busy,” Berry said. “It really is like we are planting seeds and watching the cadets grow toward their goal of becoming lieutenants. It is very rewarding work and I am grateful to the ROTC staff and the University for this honor.”