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Widener University Recognizes Perreca and Elam as Recipients of the 2016 Eckard Award

Debbie Perreca of Norwood, Pa., senior graphic designer in University Relations, and Barbara Elam of Aston, Pa., first shift lieutenant for Campus Safety on Main Campus, were awarded the William David Eckard Jr. Award for Distinguished Service in recognition of their hard work and longtime commitment to Widener University.

The Eckard Award was established by William David Eckard III, longtime vice president of administration and finance at Widener University and a 1966 graduate of Pennsylvania Military College. He created the award, a $3,000 cash grant, in memory of his father to help promote and reward excellence at Widener. Recipients must work for Widener on a full-time basis for at least 10 years and consistently demonstrate an outstanding level of service.eckard

Perreca has served Widener for nearly 16 years, joining the University Relations staff as a graphic designer in 2000. She has played a pivotal role in the re-branding of both law schools. She consistently produces high quality design work, which garners awards for Widener year after year. Some of the most recent awards include the 2015 Bronze Award, from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II for the Commonwealth Law School view book and the 2015 Gold Award from the College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals (CUPRAP) for Widener Law Online postcards.

In recognizing Perreca, Widener University President Julie E. Wollman said that Perrecca has a tremendous work ethic and always displays a positive attitude. “Perreca has a professional and diplomatic way of ensuring all printed materials conform to the Widener brand,” Wollman said. “She handles an enormous workload and numerous urgent requests with professionalism. She has a remarkable ability to remain calm, cool, collected and creative all at the same time.”

Perreca, who celebrated the honor with her family over dinner, was overwhelmed by the excitement of the rest of the Widener staff. “It was an honor just to be nominated, so many people are deserving of this award,” she said. “The Eckard family has done such a thoughtful thing that boosts morale for employees. It’s great to know we are appreciated for our hard work.”

Elam has served Widener for 28 years, starting as a campus safety officer. She quickly rose through the ranks to sergeant and was promoted to lieutenant in 1994.

According to Elam, Widener University is a great place to work. “It’s really wonderful to see the impact that campus safety has made at the university receiving this recognizing for the past two years,” she said. “It shows how valuable our work is.”

In recognizing Elam, Widener University President Julie E. Wollman said Elam was an invaluable resource to faculty, staff, and students. Elam has excelled as a supervisor. Her job includes overseeing the daily operations and scheduling of the first shift officers, training new officers and supporting events on the Chester campus. “Barbara is hard working and expects the most from her officers to ensure the safety and security of the main campus,” Wollman said. “She is admired for her ability to handle difficult incidents while simultaneously making people feel at ease and taking charge of the situation.”

Elam, who has been overwhelmed with the outpouring of congratulatory messages, is beyond honored to receive the award.  “It means the world that I have been favored by the people who voted for me,” she said. “I’m humbled, and honestly just elated.”

Elam and her husband, Olaf, who drives the Widener student shuttle, have been married for nearly 25 years. Together they have seven children, 24 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She is looking forward to saving some of the award to take a vacation with her great grandchildren.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. are proud to be a tobacco-free. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu