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Jude Kiah (right), director of the Western Illinois University Bookstore and director of Go West Transit at Western and in Macomb, was named the WIU 2015 Employee of the Year by the Council of Administrative Personnel (COAP). Kiah is pictured with 2014-15 COAP President Amanda Shoemaker.
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Kiah Named 2015 COAP Employee of the Year

May 6, 2015

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Jude Kiah, director of the Western Illinois University Bookstore and director of Go West Transit at Western and in Macomb, was named the WIU 2015 Employee of the Year by the Council of Administrative Personnel (COAP).

The annual award, presented by COAP, in conjunction with the University president, recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of a COAP member who has far exceeded his or her duties.

Matt Bierman, Western's budget director, was one of the individuals who nominated Kiah for the award. In his nomination letter, he provided an overview of all the contributions Kiah makes to Western, including his work at the WIU Bookstore.

"Jude continues to be instrumental in expanding the book-rental program and works very closely with many departments on campus to promote wearing WIU attire. Still unsatisfied with the model, this year he reached out to vendors to find a new way to consider a book-rental program. In a new model, Jude strives to lower the cost [to] students, provide stability of income for the University and ensure that a positive relationship is maintained with vendors," Bierman stated. "While many administrators on campus volunteered to teach the new [First Year Experience] class, for the second straight year, Jude went the extra mile and taught two University 100 [FYE] classes. His dedication to the student experience goes far beyond the volunteering of this time to teach. He pours his heart and soul into the experience. He often engages his class in more experiential learning techniques. He challenges his students to become more than just a spectator of their education," he added.

WIU Associate Vice President for Student Services John "JB" Biernbaum also nominated Kiah. His nomination covered Kiah's dedication and the many activities he undertakes—including teaching FYE courses, his work to improve processes at the WIU Bookstore and his volunteer time as a mentor in WIU's "Building Connections" student-retention program—at Western. He also mentioned Kiah's involvement with the West Central Officials Association, for which Kiah serves as the basketball chairman. Biernbaum noted that Kiah "is one of the premier basketball officials in the state of Illinois."

"Jude Kiah has had as big an impact as anyone on campus this past year. His work with Go West Transit and the University Bookstore literally touches all parts of the campus and the community as a whole. Jude is constantly working with different offices, departments and divisions in an attempt to partner with them in a way that will move the University forward. I often wonder how Jude finds the time to do all the things he does. Whether it is teaching workshops on campus for [Human Resources] or just helping the multiple people calling and coming to his office every day. He has boundless energy and truly is a visionary. … I sometimes think campus doesn't realize how lucky we are to have him," Biernbaum stated.

"I can remember, many, many years ago, seeing this plaque on the wall in the Union and thinking how special those people must have been to the WIU community to be so honored. I never aspired to win it (I thought it was too far out of reach to aspire to), but my peers were unrelenting in nominating me repeatedly," Kiah noted. "That my peers did that for me is deeply humbling. It literally took my breath away when I found out. I read the letter three times because I thought I read it wrong! To me, it signifies the respect of my peers, which is all one can ask for out of a career. I am honored to serve the people I work with every day at Western. It's an especially good day to be a Leatherneck!"

WIU COAP President Amanda Shoemaker said the COAP Executive Council is pleased to honor Kiah with this year's COAP Employee of the Year Award.

"His hard work and dedication to Western Illinois University exemplifies the spirit of this award," Shoemaker added.

Kiah joined Western's student services division in 1995 as a complex director in University Housing and Dining Services. He was named director of Go West in 1999. As the founding director of Go West, Kiah built the system from three buses, two routes and 158,294 riders annually to a 30-bus, 19-route system serving 1.9 million riders each year. Prior to working at Western, Kiah was a residence hall director, judicial coordinator and assistant men's basketball coach at Savannah (GA) College of Art and Design. Kiah also served as sports information director at Potsdam College.

Kiah earned two bachelor's degrees and master's degree from Potsdam College (SUNY) and his MBA from Western. He will complete his Ph.D. in business administration from Northcentral University this month.

Kiah was presented with a plaque and received a 2015-16 faculty/staff parking permit, BCA tickets, a Campus Recreation punch pass for the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center, a WIU Bookstore gift certificate and apparel from WIU Athletics.

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