Rooney Coffman to receive Distinguished Merit Award from SAU
Laurinburg, N.C. - On April 19, the St. Andrews Alumni Council will present the Distinguished Merit Award to Director of Logistics and Photography Rooney Coffman at the Annual Alumni Awards Banquet.
The Distinguished Merit Award was established to honor a faculty or staff member for his vision and commitment to St. Andrews and his ongoing impact on the lives of alumni.
"Through serving students and helping them learn what to do in lab, Rooney has certainly had an impact on many alumni and their preparation for the world of scientific work," said President Paul Baldasare.
A 1968 graduate of St. Andrews, Coffman has served the science department in the preparations of labs but his impact has been far beyond the setting up of equipment and mixing of chemicals commonly associated with laboratory science.
"Rooney just may be the closest we'll ever come to a perpetual motion machine," said Assistant Professor of Biology and Molecular Biologist Bonnie Draper. "I don't think I've passed a day here without a lab set up, supplies found, equipment fixed or problem solved by Rooney. One day he's got a forklift and is rigging up a lever to move an incubator into my lab and the next day he's dropping off a cookbook he found for me.
"In a place like St. Andrews, you get to know everyone very well -- right down to how they sound walking down the hall," she added. "Rooney carries more keys and walks at a faster clip than anyone else."
Natural and Life Sciences Chair and Associate Professor of Biology John Knesel agrees. "I am very pleased to see this recognition of Rooney by St. Andrews Alumni. Not a day goes by, and has not, for over 40 years, without Rooney adding value to Science at St. Andrews -- providing support for teaching and research, training students, finding solutions to problems and helping us all to be better than we would be without him."
This award is not the first recognition Coffman has received from St. Andrews. In addition to numerous length of service awards, his impact was acknowledged last spring with the creation of the Rooney L. Coffman Science Sustaining Fund on the recommendation of former Science Professor and Consultant Dr. Tom Blackburn.
"I further propose that the alumni science fund be named in honor of the one figure, beloved by generations of students, who has been a constant through almost the entire history of Science at St. Andrews: Director of Logistics Rooney L. Coffman," Blackburn wrote in his report on Science at St. Andrews.
The fund has raised more than $20,000 to date.
Coffman's contributions also include serving as the campus photographer.
"Rooney has contributed countless hours to photography for the campus, helping to promote St. Andrews in the best light possible," said Director of Communications Melissa Hopkins. "We have created a Photo of the Day segment on our Facebook page to highlight just some of the photos in his collection. He has strong ideas to help continue to elevate St. Andrews to the next level. Rooney puts the success of St. Andrews on his shoulders time after time and he believes in the St. Andrews spirit in all aspects."
About St. Andrews University
St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. St. Andrews has added a first graduate level program with a Masters in Business Administration. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to email@example.com.