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Ricky Forney

Ricky Forney receives inaugural Spirit of Davidson Service Award.
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By Cathryn Westra

Rickey Forney, a supervisor in the Alvarez College Union’s Davis Café, began work at Davidson 38 years ago at age 16.

“I love what I do,” said Forney. “I know ’most everyone who works here, and the students bring so much life to my life. Never been a day I didn’t want to come to work!”

That enthusiasm and compassion earned Forney the college’s inaugural “Spirit of Davidson Service Award” in late August. “Our winner received as many votes as all other nominees combined,” said President Carol Quillen as she announced the award during the college’s annual opening faculty and staff meeting. The award was established by Kathy and Gary Parsons and their son, Mike ’08, out of gratitude for the caring way in which hourly staff interacted with and supported Mike during his campus years. The award will be presented annually to an hourly employee who acts in accordance with the Honor Code, and excels in service and support to the college and its students. Forney was selected from 240 eligible employees.

Growing up in Cornelius with eight siblings, Forney learned to love people and to enjoy peace of mind. He describes the college as more than a work place—it’s a home. “I have a lot of family who now work or have worked here, including my mom,” he said. “Others become family.”

“I have never witnessed someone with so much heart,” wrote one nominator. “He embodies the essence of all that Davidson strives to instill in its students. He is passionate, caring, warm-hearted, and genuinely concerned for the needs of all humanity.”

Another letter of nomination recalled a late night spent writing a paper in the union. “The café was closed, but when Rickey saw me working alone he made me a cup of coffee and breakfast. When I finally finished, I stopped by the café. Rickey told me he was proud, gave me a hug, and told me to get to class!”

In addition to his work in the Davis Café, Forney spends each summer in New Hampshire working at a boys’ camp. But he’s never been tempted to make the move permanently. “I come back each school year because I’ve found there’s no better place to work,” Forney said. “It’s the people. Two things keep me going—my job and my children. And I wouldn’t trade either of those for nothing.”

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