Marlon Haverdink, director of residence life at Northwestern College, is the recipient of the college’s 2014 Staff Inspirational Service Award. His selection was announced at a recognition banquet for faculty and staff on May 5.
The award recognizes staff members who consistently provide outstanding contributions by going above and beyond what is expected, who personify a strong Christian commitment, and who distinguish themselves as an inspiration to the campus community. A selection committee composed of faculty and staff chose the winner from among candidates nominated by Northwestern employees.
Haverdink, a 1997 graduate of Northwestern, has worked at his alma mater for 14 years. He previously served as director of service learning, director of leadership development, resident director and admissions counselor. He earned a master’s degree in higher education at Pennsylvania’s Geneva College.
“Marlon has been an incredible member of the student development staff for many years,” says Kendall Stanislav, resident director of North Suites Hall and justice and service ministries coordinator. “His leadership has left a wake of success and impact on students’ lives. Marlon regularly goes beyond the expected requirements of his job in a way that blesses those around him. He could be content to just continue in the excellent work that has been done in the past within residence life but he is constantly re-evaluating and re-tooling our department.
“He also works with our student leaders in a very pastoral manner,” continues Stanislav. “He cares for them greatly and takes time each week to send a word of encouragement, an article to stimulate their growth or a video to lighten their day. They feel inspired and are constantly reminded by Marlon of what special and holy work they are called to do at Northwestern. He is, to me, the model of what a NWC staff member should be.”
One of Haverdink’s responsibilities is student discipline. Dustin Hamm, resident director of Colenbrander Hall, says Haverdink focuses on redemption in those situations. “He always has done a great job of calling students to a higher standard while recognizing that this is a learning opportunity. He has been gracious but still holds students accountable for the decisions they have made. There are students that meet with him at their low point, and he does a great job at recognizing the fragility of those moments.”
Dean of Student Life Julie Vermeer Elliott describes Haverink as a wise servant leader. “Marlon loves his staff, loves our students, and most of all, loves Jesus Christ. Each day he comes to work with a warm disposition that encourages and inspires everyone around him. He is always looking for new ways to serve his staff and our students more effectively,” she says. “By watching Marlon interact with students, I have learned how to properly balance the Christian virtues of grace and truth in my own interactions. He is a gift to our division and to the college as a whole.”