Since earning graduate degrees in clinical psychology from Illinois State, Janeen Mollenhauer, M.S. ’91, and her husband, Matt, M.S. ’94, have become increasingly invested in their careers and the community. Janeen is Mennonite College of Nursing’s (MCN) associate dean for Academic Support. Matt is the chief clinical officer for Chestnut Health Systems.
Motivated by staff who go above and beyond to support Mennonite’s mission and vision, the couple created the MCN Staff Excellence Award through gifts, gift commitments, and a planned gift.
The award recognizes and rewards exemplary college employees who exhibit superior productivity in their daily roles, enhance MCN’s image, and demonstrate innovative ideas or exceptional problem-solving skills.
Janeen was first inspired to give to Mennonite after working alongside the leadership of former MCN Dean and Illinois State Provost Dr. Janet Krejci, and other college leaders who have since shaped Mennonite College of Nursing.
“Giving is one way of showing people that you truly do care, as a leader and colleague. It’s a way to acknowledge the incredible infrastructure needed to shape the student experience,” Janeen said of the gift she and Matt made to establish the MCN Staff Excellence Award. Matt and Janeen’s gift exemplifies how donors can give to the Illinois State programs and causes about which they feel most passionate.
Amy Irving ’91, MCN director of events, was the award’s first recipient. Mennonite staff surprised Irving with the award at MCN’s Candlelighting Ceremony. Irving has been with Mennonite for almost 20 years and felt honored to be recognized for her dedicated service with planning several events for MCN’s 100th Anniversary including a Centennial Gala.
“I know how special this college is for the people who not only work here, but also for people across the country who will benefit from the outstanding education our nursing students receive at MCN,” said Irving. “Being part of a team that does their best to get things done has been so rewarding. I am so grateful Janeen and Matt Mollenhauer established this award to recognize Administrative Professional/Civil Service staff for our contributions to Mennonite.”
The award’s second recipient, Diane Folken ’77, is Mennonite’s director of business and finance, and another 20-year employee. Folken was humbled and gratified to receive the award for her many years of service to the college.
Simulation and Interprofessional Coordinator Dr. Valerie Wright ’99 nominated the most recent recipient, undergraduate advisor Kileigh Guido ’08. “I love spending my career helping students get to their career,” Guido said about the more than 600 undergraduate students for whom she considers herself a “mom.”
“Whether it is in group advising sessions or one-on-one appointments, I enjoy getting to know my students and celebrating their accomplishments or supporting them during struggle,” Guido said.
Wright was happy to nominate Guido and thankful for the opportunity to recognize the contributions of staff members who are integral to Mennonite’s mission. “The MCN Staff Excellence Award recognizes the work of those who are often behind the scenes, yet really are the glue that hold us all together,” she said.
The Mollenhauers hope their gift will forever provide an opportunity to lift up Mennonite staff who may be less visible but are no less important to Mennonite’s success.
“I just don’t want staff to be forgotten,” Janeen said, referring to the annual award as “a yearly reminder of the great things staff do in support of Mennonite’s mission to graduate exceptionally well-prepared nurses.”
Awards like the MCN Staff Excellence Award attract and retain talented faculty and staff. To learn more and make your contribution today, visit Giving.IllinoisState.edu.