|Physical Plant Stalwart Robert Brandon Receives Department's Annual Hobart Award
January 05, 2009
Contact: Bill Giduz
“The group that makes things go at Davidson” honored one of its most respected members recently. All 100 employees of the physical plant department gathered late last month for a holiday breakfast at Vail Commons, and confirmed with loud applause the announcement of Robert Brandon as winner of the department’s 2008 Hobart Award.
|Robert Brandon, 2008 winner of the Hobart Award|
Brandon is a 12-year employee on the special projects custodial team with deep roots in the life of the college. His father, Curtis Brandon, was a Chambers Building custodian for 49 years and his mother, Alice Brandon, was a laundry employee for 48 years.
David Holthouser, director of physical plant, announced Brandon’s selection and praised him for his constant good humor and excellent work ethic. Brandon’s crew, under the supervision of Henry Withers, undertakes some of the most heavy and burdensome jobs on campus. The community depends on them to set up tables and chairs for most events, which means hauling around, folding and unfolding sometimes hundreds of chairs and scores of tables. “We do so much that sometimes I go home and dream about chairs and tables, especially at Homecoming!” Brandon quipped.
The crew also cleans floors and carpets, and moves the entire contents of offices to new locations on campus. “It’s a lot of work and I’m the oldest man on the crew,” said the 53-year-old Brandon, “but I can still keep up with the young ones!”
Brandon expressed satisfaction with his job at Davidson. He appreciates living close enough to campus to walk to work, and enjoys the people and lovely environment. “I’m not cooped up in some plant, and everyone around here is just so friendly,” he said.
To warm up for the work day, Brandon walks a brisk mile on the college track every morning. His leisure activities include fishing and serving as head usher at Gethsemane Church.
The award, which carries a $750 honorarium, was established by John D. Hobart ’51 in honor of his father, who was superintendent of buildings and grounds at the college from 1925 to 1960. John Hobart was on hand for this year’s presentation, and thanked the physical plant employees for their vital role in college life. “Each of you is my hero,” he said. “I grew up on this campus and knew all the people who worked for my father. They were kind to me and I learned a lot from them. I know where you come and how important it is that you do what you do.”
|Brandon received a $750 honorarium with the award, as presented by (r) Director of Physical Plant David Holthouser. Award founder John Hobart is pictured in the background. |
Also on hand was John Hobart’s spouse, Frankie, and his sister, Edith Ann Hobart Cashion.
The Hobart Award is special among the college’s recognitions of staff employees because of its selection process. Rather than simply being voted on by a committee, winners must first be nominated by peers, then approved by supervisors, and finally selected by a committee that includes a student, faculty member and past Hobart Award winners. The previous two winners were Jimmy Freeze, who works in the mechanical shop, and auto mechanic Bob French.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.
Posted By: Bill Giduz