FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 11, 2011
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Coach Rita named Staff Member of the Year
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Rita Higginbotham, assistant intramural director of campus recreation at Mississippi University for Women, was named Staff Member of the Year at the recent Staff Recognition Luncheon.
Higginbotham, also known as Coach Rita, has been employed at MUW since 1982. She has served in various capacities including softball and basketball coach.
“She is a true leader, demonstrating time and again through her caring attitude and willingness to go beyond what is expected of her, that actions speak louder than words,” said Sarah E. Sumners, MUW Staff Council president.
The selection process for Staff Member of the Year was a little different this year, Sumners explained.
“In the past, a Staff Member of the Month was chosen and at the end of the year the staff voted on Staff Member of the Year from the monthly winners. During a period of transition in 2010, Staff Council members were unable to select monthly winners. As a result, the council decided to call for nominations for Staff Member of the Year campus wide,” Sumners said. “We had a great response and the Staff Council was able to select a nominee based on a blind poll. Coach Rita Higginbotham was selected as Staff Member of the Year by a large majority.”
An employee nomination stated, “Rita encourages her staff to take advantage of leadership advancement opportunities and provides possibilities for student development within the intramural program. It is rare that after 28 years of service an individual comes to work everyday looking to make improvements, offer new opportunities and adapt to the wishes and challenges of a constantly evolving university community."
Higginbotham said, “I love this university and enjoy my job so much. It is truly an honor and a blessing to have been chosen for this award.”
She was presented a check from the MUW Foundation and 20 free meals provided by Sodexo.