When you look back on your Madison experience what will you remember? Most students will answer this question with professors, classmates, roommates, and faculty that have impacted them. One of those people whose name students continually recite is Donnie Mix, Equipment Manager of UREC. In fact, Donnie has not only made a lasting impression on students but many of his colleagues, prospective students, and the administration. This was very apparent when I had the opportunity to meet Donnie and announce he would be an All Together One recipient. So many people were excited for him and a big group of UREC office employees, housekeepers, students and other friends walked out to the basketball court to congratulate him. Donnie is frequently described by his peers as enthusiastic, outgoing, generous, energized, and influential. Kim Wheeler, UREC student employee and Welcome Center Manager sums it up best by saying, “Donnie has this undeniable energy and passion for life that is absolutely contagious and inspiring. I have known him for almost three years now, and every single time that I see him my day gets a lot brighter.”
Donnie Mix has been at JMU since 1993 and has served as the Equipment Manager of UREC since the building opened in 1996. He serves on numerous UREC and divisional committees. Donnie is also a huge supporter of JMU athletics. He attends all the different sporting events and can be found singing The Star Spangled Banner before many games. Donnie is a member of the football chain-gang and can be seen running the chains down the field of all the home games. Donnie finds a way to assist others in any way he can and volunteers his time with club sports, attends many UREC events and is known for his grilling at UREC picnics. It is also rumored that Donnie plays Santa’s helper during the holidays for Warm a Winter Wish, the UREC GA Holiday Celebration, and the UREC Holiday Party. Donnie is an active member in the community as well, playing an active role in his church and the choir.
However, it is not only these achievements but Donnie’s extraordinary attitude that captures the JMU spirit. He can be seen on a daily basis throughout UREC fixing machinery, mentoring student employees, or greeting prospective students. He does all this and more with a huge grin on his face the entire time and according to co-workers, when asked what he is up to he replies “Taking care of business” or “TCB.”
Donnie works side by side with many types of students at UREC. Some work to fulfill practicum requirements, others have internships at UREC, and some choose to work there as a part time job. Dr. Julie Wallace Carr, Senior Associate Director and Associate Professor, is in charge of placing these students within UREC and states, “ I make it a point to have our students work with Donnie so they can experience someone with his attitude about work and serving the JMU community.” And Donnie’s dedication and love of his job has definitely worn off on those surrounding him! Reid Frye says Donnie was a large factor in encouraging him to pursue a career in the recreational field at a collegiate level, and John Karabelas says Donnie has inspired him to be more active within the JMU community and attend events that he would not have gone to otherwise.
It is clear to me after reading Donnie’s nomination and meeting with those close to him that Donnie exceeds all the characteristics of the All Together One Award. He is a sincere friend, inspiring role model, and dedicated fan. He is building the JMU community within UREC and all around campus. His JMU spirit and big heart are contagious and rub off on all those in his presence. The selfless acts and sincere gestures Donnie considers part of his daily routine have left a lasting impression on those people whose lives he has touched. So many of his friends had such high praises and remarks about Donnie that I would like to share some of them with you all today. Donnie is described as “the mayor of UREC and JMU,” “instrumental in keeping the fitness center running,” “inspires me to find my passion for life every day,” “embodies what it means to serve the community,” and lastly “our equipment manager, energy booster, and chief ambassador to UREC.”
I am honored to be given the opportunity to share with you Donnie Mix’s contribution to the JMU community and the importance it has played in the lives of those around him. It is with great respect and admiration that I present him with the All Together One Award.
Omicron Delta Kappa