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Ethel and Gerry Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service

Ethel and Gerry Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service

Gerry Heebink was an Extension dairyman for the WVU Agricultural Extension Service from 1935 until his death in 1956.  Ethel Heebink taught English at WVU for several years after World War II.  In 1982, their son David created a memorial fund to reward exemplary service to the State of West Virginia by faculty and staff of the University.  This award continues to be a means of recognizing a faculty or staff member who has provided distinguished service to West Virginia over an extended time period.  This award provides an honorarium of $3,000 in professional development support. 

In 1992, David Heebink created another award (Beginning Services) for those faculty and staff who have provided significant service to West Virginia for a less extended time period.  The service records of these persons should be characterized by significant impact and the promise of additional significant service contributions.  This award provides an honorarium of $2,000 in professional development support.  Nominations for this award are solicited during alternate years, and are appropriate for the 2022-23 cycle.


Current full-time employees of WVU are eligible.  Nominees for an extended service award will normally have a record of at least eight years in length; the beginning service award would be appropriate for records of shorter duration.

A recipient of either Heebink award may be eligible for consideration again in the seventh year after receipt of the first award.


The criteria for both awards are described collectively below.  With the exception of the number of years during which service to the State may have been provided, the criteria for both awards are identical.

  1. Educational and public service activity, which extends beyond a traditional classroom setting.
  2. Evidence of exceptional, sustained service from the University to the State, for the time period described above.
  3. Special benefit to a broad segment of the population of the State of West Virginia.
  4. Work that is well regarded by WVU peers and non-WVU community.
  5. Effective use of WVU physical and human resources.
  6. Evidence of a commitment by the employee to remain at the University.

Definition of Service

Distinguished state service may be defined as activities in which the nominee uses the unique resources of the University and the expertise of its faculty, faculty-equivalent personnel, and staff to create alternative learning environments or experiences in settings other than the traditional classrooms and research laboratories for individuals, the general public, local and state governments, or special interest groups.  Examples of alternative learning experience provided by the University in response to public needs and/or problems in the state include, but are not limited to, extension and continuing education workshops, short courses, off-campus non-credit education, individual and departmental consultancies, radio and TV programming, community/public programming, and publications for the general public or client group.

Although nominees may have also provided significant service to the region and nation, in reviewing nominations the Selection Committee places primary emphasis on service to West Virginia.

Nomination Procedure

The Selection Committee requires that each nomination be endorsed by three to six individuals on the enclosed Nominators' Form.  Each nomination should be accompanied by the following:

  1. Nomination form (application).
  2. A statement of a maximum of four (4) non-reduced, double-spaced pages from the nominee or a nominator which:

     a. Summarizes the nominee’s service activities benefiting the State and explicitly describes how those activities meet the criteria for the award.  It is suggested that each of the six criteria listed above be dealt with specifically in this summary.

     b. Indicates explicitly whether the nominee is a candidate for the award for a record of extended service.  This should be confirmed on the Nomination Form.

     c. Describes the specific activities, which serve as the basis for the nomination.

     d. Describes the ways in which those activities go beyond the nominee's performance of a routine job assignment.

  3.  Letters of recommendation from three individuals of no more than two (2) non-reduced single-spaced pages in length.  The letters should specifically address the criteria for the award.  Recommendation forms, which may be used for this purpose, are attached.  The letters may be, but need not be, written by the same persons who nominate the individual.  Letters should be addressed to or gathered by the first person listed on the nominators' form.

  4.  A current abridged curriculum vitae for the nominee of no more than five (5) non-reduced pages in length.  The vitae should emphasize the ways in which the nominee has provided service to the State.

Each of these items must be included in order for a nomination to be considered by the Selection Committee.

The materials must be received by Monday, February 5, 2024. Nominees are requested to upload the application to Digital Measures under Archived Reports and Documents in Other Submissions. Please select the current Academic Year, select Award:  Ethel & Gerry Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service in the submission type and upload your materials in the Initial Faculty Submission.  All pages should be consecutively numbered beginning with the number one on the Cover Page.  Please note that the total number of pages may not exceed 16. 

Nominees should be advised by the first person listed on the nominators' form that they are being nominated for this award.  In most instances, the nomination dossier can be strengthened through the participation of the nominee in its development.

If additional information about the nomination is needed, the first person listed on the nominators' form will be contacted by the support person who staffs the Selection Committee.

For additional information, please email or call 304-293-2021.