Wilkes Community College has recognized the exceptional service of two employees, Hardin Kenney, recipient of the 2019 Abby and Gordon Burns Distinguished Faculty Award; and, Chris Bare, recipient of the 2019 Abby and Gordon Burns Distinguished Staff Award. They received their awards during the college’s annual Faculty/Staff Christmas luncheon. Each received a $500 gift from the Burns’ for their contributions to the college.

The purpose of the Abby and Gordon Burns Distinguished Faculty and Staff Awards is to recognize, honor, and celebrate exceptional faculty and staff members who are making a difference in and out of the classroom. The Burns’ are sponsoring these annual $500 faculty and staff awards which will be awarded in perpetuity. Dr. Burns served as president of Wilkes Community College for 18 years from 1996-2014.

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president stated, “Hardin Kennedy was nominated for his devotion, leadership, professional attitude, and clear desire for teaching. This instructor is the epitome of what a community college instructor is about. He first came to WCC as an instructor in 1996. This instructor’s learning and life philosophy is reflected in his teaching and working with local business and industry to ensure students are ready to enter the workforce with the skill set needed to be successful. He is an example of those talented instructors who can earn the trust, respect, and friendship of students, and yet maintains the integrity of a teacher and leader. In his classroom, students become engaged, excited, and self-motivated. Experientially, his successful work speaks to the breadth and quality of his leadership skills and abilities. This instructor is genuinely concerned and focused on creating a teaching and learning environment that fosters student success and satisfaction, critical to realizing the vision and mission of the college. He is highly respected by his students and peer colleagues and continually demonstrates that he cares and has concern for his students, both within and beyond the classroom.”

Dr. Cox stated, “Chris Bare began his tenure with WCC in 1998. He is noted as the epitome of a self-starter, is generally at work very early, rarely takes a lunch break, and frequently stays late. He is also known as a “go-getter” who takes on a task and ensures that he and his team complete it well with quality and integrity in mind. He begins each day with enthusiasm and continually looks for new programming ideas that best serve students. His expertise has been proven through the development of innovative ways to share evolving customized training projects within his division. As a leader, he exemplifies that of a servant who never asks his team to do anything that he himself would not do.

Professionalism is at the forefront of his daily manner. He shows professionalism to all business and industry leaders in the community as well as fellow workers.”

l-r: Hardin Kenney, 2019 Abby and Gordon Burns Distinguished Faculty Award recipient and Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC President.


l-r: Chris Bare, 2019 Abby and Gordon Burns Distinguished Staff Award and Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president.