Where There’s a Wilda, There’s a Way: Elliott Award winner, proud parent and Campbell’s aide, Bleakley does it all

Every day Wilda Bleakley helps the University run smoothly. Last August, she was awarded the Frank N. Elliott Award based on nominations from her peers.By Allie Ward

Wilda Bleakley is the go-to girl. Or woman, I should say.

Like her mouthful of a professional title (executive assistant to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Tony Campbell), Bleakley’s job description is equally complex: She does it all.

“I’m basically a support person for Dean Campbell,” said Bleakley. “We deal with any student issues or problems and help run award banquets held at the end of the year; I help wherever help is needed.”

According to a Rider Newswire article, Bleakley is known on campus as a person who can find the answers to seemingly unanswerable questions.

“Ask any student; she’s always really, really helpful, always in a great mood,” said Campbell. “She’ll work tirelessly to get things done.”

Her contributions to the school earned Bleakley the Elliott Award, which she received at a ceremony during the faculty and staff convocation last August.

“I felt really honored and very amazed that people think that much of me and that they appreciate what I do,” Bleakley said. “It’s my job to help, and that people are aware of what I’m doing is just very touching.”

The Board of Trustees established the Frank N. Elliott Award for Distinguished Service in 1990 when former President Elliott retired. The award recognizes special service to the University. Three awards are given out each year, to a member of the administration, the faculty and the support staff.

Recipients are nominated by fellow faculty and staff members. Campbell and one of Bleakley’s colleagues, Maureen Kyle, administrative specialist of Student Affairs, are just two out of the many people who nominated her.

“I like talking about Wilda,” said Campbell. “She’s student- and service-oriented; she’s someone you can give a task to and be sure that it’ll get done and get done right.”

Campbell applauded Bleakley’s “can-do attitude” and said that she is well respected by the faculty and staff members.

Kyle, who works closely with Bleakley, described her as “upbeat” and a joy to be around.

Bleakley has two sons who are also a part of the Rider community. Chris Bleakley graduated in 2005 and Greg Bleakley is a senior accounting major, ready to graduate in May.

Chris Bleakley said that his mother’s friendliness and willingness are what make her a key part of the University.
“She doesn’t know how to say, ‘That’s not my job’ or ‘I don’t know,’” he said. “She goes the extra mile to make sure everyone who interacts with her has a pleasant experience.”

Greg Bleakley agreed and added that what makes her a great part of the Rider community is her devotion to the University.

“She takes the time to answer all the questions, even if it means spending the extra minute,” he said.

Bleakley has worked in the Office of Student Affairs since 1999. She especially likes the campus environment.

“Everyone looks out for everyone,” she said. “It’s a small, family community and if you need something you can always find someone to help you.”

Bleakley attributes her hardworking nature to her childhood.

“To me it’s just my personality and the way I was brought up: to go above and beyond,” she said. “It’s the same as being a parent when you just go into a job and take care of things.”

Speaking of being a parent, how did her sons feel about attending school where their mother works?

“She always made sure I was prompt in getting deadlines met, and she also introduced me to some very nice and influential people,” Chris Bleakley said. “Without her I would not be where I am today.”

Other students probably agree that he’s not the only one.

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