Employee Recognition


Westminster’s strength is in its people.

Faculty and staff are the heart of Westminster College—they ensure the mission is fulfilled and evolves to continuously serve the college community. The college is pleased to recognize employees who reach significant milestones and highlight some of their amazing contributions to the Westminster community. Employees are recognized for their milestones monthly.

2019-20 Milestones

30 Years

  • Bill Bynum

    Bill Bynum

    Associate Professor, Mathematics

    The math faculty included only three in 1989 when we were able to add a fourth position. Department Chair Bruce Bemis met Bill, saw him teach a class in Idaho, and was beyond enthusiastic about Bill’s application for the position. Bill’s visit to campus quickly convinced the rest of the committee that Bruce was exactly right: we couldn’t possibly have found anyone who would be a better fit with Westminster.


    This gentle, soft-spoken person is a master as a professor, convincing even those students who think they hate math to reconsider and give it a try. His breadth of interests, from logistics and probability to philosophy, poetry, music, and rare-book collecting (to name a few), have endeared him to students of all backgrounds and to the college community and community at large over the years.


    His outreach to multiple, diverse communities has included spending two years in the Peace Corps in the Seychelles, outreach to African immigrants to Utah, and developing a week-long summer program at Westminster for immigrant high school students. He has served the math department in numerous ways: department chair, developing and supervising the math tutoring center, mentoring students in their summer research projects, developing new courses (like “The Infinite and the Incomplete”), and housing an incredibly large math library in his somewhat small office (worth a visit, though it’s hard to wend your way through shelves and boxes).


    Bill has collaborated with many faculty in other departments and the Honors program, served as faculty chair and on numerous committees, and was a co-founder of the War Room (a forum for discussing current world issues). Bill has been honored with several awards for his teaching, including the Gore Excellence in Teaching Award (2010) and the Annual Teaching Award from the Intermountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America (2013). Over the years, Bill has made numerous conference presentations, moderated panels on many different topics, guest-lectured (seemingly everywhere), and co-authored a statistics text. His creativity and energy seem to know no bounds.

  • pholder

    Roksana Rezaei

    Database Administrator, Information Services

    Roksana Rezaei has had a long career in IS at Westminster. She has served as a computer systems operator, a network support technician, a senior database analyst, a computer support coordinator in the Faculty Technology Center, and is now serving as a database administrator.

    Roksana has been a Colleague expert on campus for a long time, and has worked on major IS projects including the upgrade from Release 16 to 17. She was also instrumental in implementing Informer and modernizing reporting on campus.

    Roksana has a love of learning and a love for Westminster. She has 3 degrees from Westminster, including a bachelor of science in computer science, a master of business administration, and a master of professional communication.

    Perhaps more than her love of learning, Roksana loves to travel. Whether it is visiting a favorite place for the fifth time or exploring somewhere new, she loves the adventure. When she is not traveling you can find her at the gym, she is a dedicated patron of the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center.

    Roksana is a great employee, but she is also a great person. She cares about people and tries to help everyone she is around be their best.


25 Years

  • Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn

    Professor, Florence J. Gillmor Music

    Christopher Quinn arrived at Westminster College in the summer of 1994, and he was both blessed and cursed with the job of creating a music program out of next to nothing. It is impossible to overstate how perfect a match Chris was for the challenge he faced. Being a natural visionary with an infectious love for his art, he quickly and creatively amassed available resources—including talented local musicians—and ignited a campus music scene that, through his leadership, has grown steadily in size and influence ever since.


    As director of music from the beginning and department chair for many years, Chris took the leading role in the creation of a legitimate music minor and three different music majors. He has regularly taught a variety of theory and aural skills courses, and formed and directed two choirs—one, the Chamber Singers, achieving a degree of excellence leading to performances in China; England; Ireland; France; Scotland; Spain; Wales; Washington, DC; Carnegie Hall, and dozens of venues in Utah and elsewhere in the western United States. During the first of his productive sabbaticals, Chris prepared a unique solo piano recital featuring virtuoso arrangements of popular tunes by his mentor Ken Manzer, the performance of which baptized, if you will, the brand new Vieve Gore Concert Hall in October of 2004.


    In addition to earning the respect and love of students, colleagues, and audiences, Chris has formed associations and friendships with many music-loving, Westminster-connected members of the community, a few of whom have made contributions so massive as to benefit the theatre, dance, and art programs in addition to the music program. It is difficult to imagine Westminster without Chris, and those who have known and worked with him wouldn’t want to try.


    In what little spare time he allows himself, Chris likes to travel, watch good movies, eat world-class lobster, drink fine wine, and spend time with his family. He also likes to play the piano in solitude for the best of all possible reasons: enjoyment and self-renewal.

  • Gretchen Siegler

    Gretchen Siegler

    Professor, Anthropology

    Professor Gretchen Siegler has spent the majority of her professional career at Westminster. In her many years here, she has served her program and the college in many capacities; overseeing the anthropology program as the one and only anthropologist on staff, and for many years, chairing the social sciences division. But her primary passion is for teaching and her students. While specializing in cultural anthropology, with an emphasis on the anthropology of religion, she has taught a wide variety of courses in all the subfields of that discipline, including paleoanthropology, primatology and archeology.


    Gretchen is highly regarded as a professor. Her classes involve open discussions about issues—frequently ones about which students have strongly established opinions. Gretchen keeps her opinions to herself (mostly) and instead encourages students to express their own ideas. Her classes frequently engender lively discussions, and are often project based, with many field trip experiences.


    Gretchen is a dedicated outdoors person and world traveler. When given a long weekend, she is found on any given river kayaking, hiking in the Wasatch Front, skiing, or primitive camping in southern Utah. However, with more time off, she is solo traveling to remote places in foreign countries—it would be hard to list all the countries Gretchen has visited. These travels help to keep her up-to-date and informed about a changing world, experiences she then brings back to her students in her classes.


20 Years

  • Peggy Cain

    Peggy Cain

    Professor, Education

    Peggy Cain is a professor in the School of Education and the current director of the Master of Arts in Community Leadership and Master of Education programs, as well as the undergraduate education studies program.


    In Peggy’s 20 years at Westminster, she has taught and/or developed classes—too numerous to list—in the vast majority of our programs. She is also an active scholar who has published and presented scholarly work at local, regional, national, and international levels in many areas such as adult learning, transformative learning, community leadership, global consciousness, and social justice, to name several. In 2010, Peggy was recognized for the work she has done through receiving the Westminster College Leadership award.


    Peggy has a creative talent for new projects and is constantly thinking ahead for ways to build new programs and enhance existing ones. She has always been willing to design creative and innovative classes and programs that challenge and bring profound knowledge to her students.


    Peggy also loves to garden and often shares her produce with her students and collegues. She can be frequently spotted at the Westminster gym, skiing, or hiking the surrounding mountains.

  • Mary Jane Chase

    Mary Jane Chase

    Professor, History

    Mary Jane Chase is the best of colleagues: generous and dedicated, experienced and open to new endeavors. Having approached her career at Westminster College in reverse—moving from dean of the School of Arts and Sciences (1999–2013) to a professorship—Mary Jane combines a comprehensive knowledge of the institution with fresh approaches to teaching. Her intrepid embrace of Reacting to the Past role-playing games, for instance, has caused much excitement among humanities majors.


    Through all the administrative challenges and triumphs that she faced as dean, including the expansion of performing arts venues and the launch of programs such as McNair, Mary Jane remained involved in her field of study, French Renaissance history, and now that involvement benefits students in the classroom and in individualized research projects.


    Her current work on a geography of religious images in Amiens has inspired young historians in such fascinating topics as map-making of the 16th-century city and the reconstruction of destroyed artifacts.


    As a colleague, Mary Jane is a delight: always willing to help with worthy initiatives, spread good will, and offer pragmatic solutions. She is a model of long-lasting academic engagement and deep investment in the good of the whole Westminster community.

  • Peter Ingle

    Peter Ingle

    Associate Professor, Education

    Peter Ingle is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. His commitment to education began long before his faculty appointment and the work he has done for the college is too numerous to list. A few highlights of his career at the college include serving as Chair of the faculty and Senate, director of the learning coalition (2009–14), and interim dean for the School of Education (2014–16).


    He has always been a leader in bringing technological programs to the School of Education and other programs across campus. Peter consistently offers support in creating worthwhile and memorable experiences for students and colleagues. For over a decade, Peter has been a fundamental instructor on the service-learning trip to Thailand, creating the trip and co-leading it every May Term.


    Aside from his accomplishments and the work he has done for Westminster, Peter loves backcountry skiing, mountain biking, triathalons, and being in the outdoors.

  • Heidi Van Ert

    Heidi Van Ert

    Professor, WCore

    Heidi’s special talent is teacher extraordinaire. She is also a visual artist, a playwright, a ballroom dancer, a former ski racer, and a Pokémon Go master.


    Heidi’s interest is, and always will be, her students. She lives to teach and to interact with students. Heidi never shies away from anything. If she is afraid of something, her inclination is to immerse herself in it. This is what she encourages her students to do—and Heidi has always taught by example. When dance frightened her, she took ballroom lessons and became an accomplished dancer. She is fond of saying to students, “I offer you a challenge that you can accept, decline, or counter.” In this way, she encourages students to go beyond their level of comfort.


    It was her policy to do every assignment she gave her students. A few lucky professors were able to be trained by Heidi to become better teachers. Many of us knew our content knowledge but were never trained to teach. Heidi taught us to engage our students in ways that changed our lives and theirs. And Heidi has changed many, many lives. Her retirement leaves a void for many that will be difficult, if possible at all, to fill.

  • Quinn Brown

    Quinn Brown

    Lead Maintenance Technician

    Quinn Brown has been with the college for 20 years as a lead maintenance technician. He has seen a lot of the college be built and his knowledge of campus buildings is invaluable. He takes a lot of pride in his work and what he does. Notably, he worked on the team that installed the new lights in Benhken Field House and Payne Gym.

    When he is not working, Quinn can be found behind the drums or the guitar playing with his son. He loves to go hunting even though he does not get anything. He is a fun guy to be around and to joke with, just don't ask him to do work on the fifth floor, he will ask which building you are talking about. The only building we have on campus that has 5 floors is The Draw, but for some reason, he thinks we have more.

  • frank

    Frank Backman

    Chief of Maintenance, Flight Operations (Airport)

    Frank Backman has been responsible for the safe and efficient maintenance of the college’s fleet of aircraft since Westminster took delivery of its first aircraft in 2000. Everyone in flight operations (students, instructors, managers) relies on Frank, as the work he is responsible for is the most important work required in the flight operations center. Without his dedication to managing the aviation fleet, the flight operations center wouldn't be able to run, and its industry reputation would be in jeopardy.

    Even though Frank’s role as Chief of Maintenance does not include any teaching responsibilities, Frank often finds opportunities to help students and instructors learn through the unique and challenging aircraft issues that come through his shop. This contributes to student’s aviation training education and helps them improve their flight knowledge and operational practices. Frank regularly takes time away from working on an aircraft to help answer a question or explain an aircraft system. A few of Westminster’s aviation courses incorporate Frank’s expertise and knowledge by getting students out of the classroom and into the aircraft system labs led by Frank at the airport.

    Students and instructors recognize the level of dedication and ownership Frank has with managing the fleet. Everyone respects Frank for his hard work and commitment to doing things the right way. There have been a few scenarios in which students experienced maintenance issues at night at remote airports, and when the late-night phone call comes in, Frank never hesitates to pack the tools and supplies needed and drive to the airport to fix the issue and help the stranded student. Frank’s decades of experience are extremely valuable when the ability to efficiently and methodically respond in stressful scenarios requiring complex logistics is needed, he is one of the first to be notified if Westminster has an aircraft incident.


15 Years

  • Janine Wittwer, Professor, Mathematics
  • Jennifer Raineri, Administrative Assistant, School of Business
  • Lauren LoRe, Associate Professor, Finance

10 Years

  • Laura Iverson-Bastiani, Assistant Director of Fitness, Wellness, and Recreation
  • Sarah Lof, Graduation Coordinator and Office Manager, Registrar
  • Emily Swanson, Library Director
  • Jennifer Ritter, Professor, English
  • Matt Kruback, Associate Professor, Art

5 Years

  • Alison Vasquez, Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad
  • Kristie Spellen, Director of Admissions Events and Marketing
  • Autumn Thatcher, Director of Publications and Managing Editor, Office of Communications
  • David Perry, Director, Academic Administration, Provost's Office
  • Earl Widner, Maintenance Technician
  • Harry Cross Jr., Set-up Coordinator, Facilities Management
  • Jessica Johnston, Associate Professor, Chemistry
  • Julian Mendez, Associate Professor, Psychology
  • Julie Freestone, Executive Director, Human Resources
  • Lowell Oswald, Associate Professor, Special Education
  • Mark Green, Campus Patrol Officer
  • Meredith Nickels, Assistant Director of Admissions Operations
  • Tiffany Rivera, Associate Professor, Geology