Spirual leader honored at senior pin dinner

By
December 3, 2007

Bonne Marie Bautista

Rev. Erika Macs was named as the honorary member of the Class of 2008 at this year’s Senior Pin Dinner on Nov. 6.

College chaplain and director of Spiritual and Religious Life since spring 2006, Macs received the Pearl M, which is an honor the senior class gives to one member of the faculty or staff each year at the annual dinner event. This year, Macs was selected from among the roughly 190 faculty and 230 staff members currently working at Mills.

Macs said that she was pleased to be nominated even before she knew that she had won, because the Pin is more often awarded to faculty than to staff members. “I was surprised to simply have been nominated, and then to have received the Pin was doubly surprising, in addition to being an incredible honor,” she said.

According to Shruti Chandhok, senior class president, seniors vote to award the Pearl M to the person they feel has had the greatest impact on their lives during their time at Mills.

After this year’s seniors took a preliminary vote, the top three nominees for the Pearl M were invited to the dinner. Their names were sent out with the invitations, and seniors voted along with their RSVPs for the dinner.

This year’s candidates were Macs, Biology professor Dr. John Harris and Psychology professor Dr. Elizabeth Bachen. Although Macs was the winner, Chandhok said that the votes were very close.

“Erika was thrilled and grateful when she found out she was nominated, which all the seniors got to witness when she won,” Chandhok said. “It was an honor for me to be the one to present the pin that night.” When her name was announced, Macs said that the moment first felt surreal and then that she experienced a mixed wave of emotions.

“Despite my exuberance, I am also pretty internal and quiet when something touches me deeply. I noticed that I experienced all these feelings at once, when Shruti announced my name,” Macs said. She added, “I’m glad there was time – while she was placing the Pin on me – for a quiet moment, after which I sort of splashed my enthusiasm all over the Class of ’08!” Macs said she was too excited to sleep after the dinner that night. When she got home, she said she called her entire family, including her two sisters, to share the good news with them.

“No matter how old I get, I am still the ‘little sis’ to my older sisters, and they still are moved when something sweet like this happens in my life,” Macs said. Macs and her family were not the only ones excited that she’d won. Members of the senior class who voted for Macs also expressed their appreciation of her impact on their time at Mills.

“Erika’s gentle nature makes her people-friendly and approachable – the kind of personality that encourages a positive spiritual process,” said senior Misrak Kassa. “From the conversations she and I had, I was impressed by her well-rounded view and compassion.”

Kassa added that she appreciated Macs’ efforts during the memorial service for Tumi McCallum at the beginning of this year. I was moved by the way she reached out to both Mills students and staff and faculty during the whole painful process,” Kassa said.

Chandhock also felt that Macs was successful in how she handled College events. “The enthusiasm with which she puts on events is amazing,” Chandhok said. “She makes her presence felt, which is appreciated, within our community, and is a really warm person who always makes time in her schedule for people. She has also transformed the Chapel into a space which is more appealing to me.”

Macs said receiving the Pin reminded her of how she wanted to be a Mills woman herself as soon as she arrived at the college a year and a half ago. “Becoming an Honorary Member of the Class of 2008 has made this come true,” she said. “I feel it reflects what I love most about my time at Mills – making meaning-filled connections and sharing important experiences in our lives.”

Past winners of the Pearl M Pin include Sociology Professor Dan Ryan in 2002, , former Assistant Director of Residential Life Lael Segal in 2006, and most recently, Anthropology professor Robert “Dr. Bob” Anderson in 2007.

Their names were sent out with the invitations, and seniors voted along with their RSVPs for the dinner.

This year’s candidates were Macs, Biology professor Dr. John Harris and Psychology professor Dr. Elizabeth Bachen. Although Macs was the winner, Chandhok said that the votes were very close.

“Erika was thrilled and grateful when she found out she was nominated, which all the seniors got to witness when she won,” Chandhok said. “It was an honor for me to be the one to present the pin that night.”

When her name was announced, Macs said that the moment first felt surreal and then that she experienced a mixed wave of emotions.

“Despite my exuberance, I am also pretty internal and quiet when something touches me deeply. I noticed that I experienced all these feelings at once, when Shruti announced my name,” Macs said.

She added, “I’m glad there was time – while she was placing the Pin on me – for a quiet moment, after which I sort of splashed my enthusiasm all over the Class of ’08!”

Macs said she was too excited to sleep after the dinner that night. When she got home, she said she called her entire family, including her two sisters, to share the good news with them.

“No matter how old I get, I am still the ‘little sis’ to my older sisters, and they still are moved when something sweet like this happens in my life,” Macs said.

Macs and her family were not the only ones excited that she had won. Members of the senior class who voted for Macs also expressed their appreciation for her.

“Erika’s gentle nature makes her people-friendly and approachable – the kind of personality that encourages a positive spiritual process,” said senior Misrak Kassa. “From the conversations she and I had, I was impressed by her well-rounded view and compassion.”

Kassa added that she appreciated Macs’ efforts during the memorial service for Tumi McCallum at the beginning of this year. “I was moved by the way she reached out to both Mills students and staff and faculty during the whole painful process,” Kassa said.

Chandhok also felt that Macs was successful in how she handled College events. “The enthusiasm with which she puts on events is amazing,” Chandhok said. “She makes her presence felt, which is appreciated, within our community, and is a really warm person who always makes time in her schedule for people. She has also transformed the Chapel into a space [that] is more appealing to me.”

Macs said receiving the Pin reminded her of how she wanted to be a Mills woman herself as soon as she arrived at the college a year and a half ago. “Becoming an Honorary Member of the Class of 2008 has made this come true,” she said. “I feel it reflects what I love most about my time at Mills – making meaning-filled connections and sharing important experiences in our lives.”

Past winners of the Pearl M Pin include Division of Student Life Receptionist Maureen McGee in 2005, former Assistant Director of Residential Life Lael Segal in 2006 and Anthropology professor Robert “Dr. Bob” Anderson in 2007.


Spirual leader honored at senior pin dinner was published on December 3, 2007 in News

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