Davidson's physical plant employees have selected their colleague, Dennis Stinson, as winner of the annual Frank D. Hobart Award. The award recognizes physical plant employees for dedication to their work, loyalty, spirit of cooperation and patience. It has been presented at the department's holiday gathering since 2007.
Stinson works to maintain proper operation of all heating and air conditioning systems throughout the college. He was nominated by his peers, and selected by a committee that includes physical plant director David Holthouser, his division directors, a faculty representative and the prior year's winner, John Wilkinson.
The award was established by John Hobart '51 in honor of his father, Frank "Don" Hobart, who was superintendent of buildings and grounds at the college from 1925 to 1960. John Hobart and his spouse, Frankie, were on hand this year to congratulate Stinson, and present him with the $750 honorarium that is included with the selection.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Don Hobart moved south in 1924. Davidson President W.J. Martin met him when Hobart's firm was hired to plant Richardson Field, and subsequently asked Hobart to join the college family as superintendent of buildings and grounds.
In their nominations, Stinson's peers noted that work orders about air and water temperature problems are the most frequent type received, and they praised Stinson for responding to them diligently with a positive attitude. The job frequently involves work in student residences.
Holthouser said he often receives positive comments about Stinson's communication with customers for letting them know the nature of the problem and status of its completion.
Stinson was born and raised in Troutman, graduated from South Iredell High School in 1992, and joined the Davidson staff in summer 1999.
He said he enjoys his work because of the high level of trust shared among staff, faculty and students.
"You don't have to lock up your tools if you step away for a minute," he said.
He also enjoys working regular hours, and the freedom to spend time to learn new systems and techniques without being pressured and rushed. His supervisor is Joe Steele.
Stinson lives still in Troutman with Tonya, his spouse of 15 years. The couple have a camper and enjoy touring with it. He also does some side work in HVAC, and tinkers around the house.
Stinson said he very much appreciates the award, and would like to hear more from its donor.
"John Hobart was here in 1951 at a very different time, and grew up on the campus when his father worked here. I'm sure he's got a lot of interesting stories to tell, and we could all learn a lot from him," Stinson said.
Don Hobart's distinguished career at Davidson was reflected in a 1961 Board of Trustees resolution at the time of his death. It noted: "When Don Hobart came to Davidson, the campus roads were all dirt with cinders from the heating plant mixed in to keep traffic out of the mud. Today, the Davidson campus is considered by many to be as beautiful as any in our Southland... The well-kept buildings and the beautiful grounds are a lasting tribute to a patient, capable, great and good man. His work shall continue to praise him."