It’s one of our team’s favorite days of the year — National Lighthouse Day!

We’ve been posting lighthouse facts and quotes from our team about what lighthouses symbolize to us throughout the week on social media. If you missed it, check out #NationalLighthouseDay or #PharosLighthouseAwards on our Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profiles.

Today, we finish up the celebration by announcing our annual Lighthouse Award recipients. We are recognizing two individuals and one campus who work tirelessly towards excellence in higher education.

We are inspired by the good work our clients continue to do day after day, especially during this trying season. We are thankful for your partnerships and for the opportunity to help serve your communities.

Please join our team in congratulating the following 2020 Lighthouse Award recipients!


2020 Pharos Lighthouse Award

Outstanding Data & Applications Professional

Lighthouse Day - Debbie Bess

The School:

Hollins University is located in Roanoke, Virginia and has been recognized in 2020 by The Princeton Review and U.S. News Best Colleges lists in several categories. Hollins’ partnership with Pharos began in 2019 with Michael Gettings, Dean of Academic Success, leading the rollout and with a focus on advising.

The Recipient:

Pharos Resources has selected Debbie Bess of Hollins University as the recipient of the 2020 Pharos Lighthouse Award–Outstanding Data & Applications Professional. Debbie is being recognized for her commitment and outstanding work to support Relational Retention.

Debbie has been a member of the Information Technology department at Hollins University for 19 years – most recently as junior database administrator; Enterprise manager. According to Debbie’s co-worker, Bev Witt, Debbie “Is invaluable to the Hollins community. Debbie did an excellent job on the Pharos project, working tirelessly with the users to get the requirements completed in a timely fashion. Hollins is fortunate to have Debbie’s dedication and commitment to the university.”

Rachel Elam, Pharos Resources’ Director of Client Services, states that “Debbie’s thoughtfulness and attention to detail shined throughout the IT-side of Hollins’ Pharos 360 implementation. With her skills and team-focused attitude, she was able to go above and beyond to provide an amazing display of data and relationships. Debbie also worked with our team to develop a new way to import PDF documents that will enhance our ability to display information for our clients as they support their students.”


2020 Pharos Lighthouse Award

Outstanding Student Success Professional

Lighthouse Day - Andrew Lehr

The School:

Anderson University, located in Anderson, Indiana, has been consistently ranked among America’s top colleges for “being a place where students discover who they’re created to be.” AU’s partnership with Pharos started in 2019.

The Recipient:

Pharos Resources has awarded Andrew Lehr, Director of Student Success at Anderson University, the 2020 Pharos Lighthouse Award–Outstanding Student Success Professional.

Pharos celebrates Andrew’s commitment and tireless work to support Relational Retention. Vice President for Student Success, Rachel Phillips-Buck, states that “The entire Pharos team loves Andrew. He is thoughtful, generous, and driven to excellence in everything he does. He inspires his team and students with his optimistic, innovative spirit- which is evident in each conversation, new initiative, and student success intervention.”

Chris Luekenga, Anderson’s Assistant Provost & Dean of Students, states that “Andrew is a true professional and a joy to work with. His leadership in providing opportunities for student success and concern for AU students is outstanding and it is a privilege to work alongside of him.”


2020 Pharos Lighthouse Award

Institution of the Year

Lighthouse Day - MVNU

Pharos Resources has chosen Mount Vernon Nazarene University as the winner of the 2020 Pharos Lighthouse Award – Institution of the Year.

According to Rachel Phillips-Buck, Pharos Resources’s Vice President for Student Success, “Joy Strickland, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Retention at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, has always been a shining light for Student Success at her institution. However, when COVID-19 hit, Joy’s leadership of MVNU’s effort to ensure students were safe and successful was unmatched.”

Phillips-Buck goes on to say that “MVNU was one of the first schools to send students the Pharos/MacMillan Impact survey, resulting in over 500 student responses. With the insights that MVNU collected, the campus community got to work. They identified students who were struggling in myriad ways and began to provide solutions. From delivering financial relief and addressing students’ technology difficulties to empowering faculty-student connections, MVNU made very clear that they were invested in their students’ success. Over the summer, this commitment has not wavered. MVNU created a campaign to call every student, assess their needs, and remind them that although they were not together on campus, they were still a connected community.”

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About Rachel Elam

Rachel Elam is the Director of Client Services at Pharos Resources. She joined the Pharos team in August 2013 and now works around the clock to ensure every client is meticulously cared for by providing clear implementation of the software and follow-up support. Rachel also manages the Help Center that connects all Pharos users to an active online community for ideas, questions, and feedback. Rachel’s prior experience includes working with the Career Center and Business Services at Abilene Christian University, where she engaged students and faculty on a daily basis with exceptional customer service and project management. Rachel received her B.S in Art Education from ACU.

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