Debra D. Hendershot '88
Outstanding Professional Achievement
In her mid 30s, the 2009 Distinguished Alumna for Outstanding Professionalism was the mother of two small children and helping her husband build the family business. She decided to re-enter the workforce full-time, but realized the computer had replaced the typewriter and she needed to up-grade her skills. Being a non-traditional student, she was a bit anxious about going back to school. So, her original plan was to take just two courses at Washington Technical College to get enough computer skills to get a job.
Those two courses turned into four and ultimately an Associate of Applied Business in Secretarial Science in 1988, a bachelor’s degree in business education from Glenville State College in West Virginia, in 1990, and a master’s in library and information sciences from the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 1996.
In 1992, she returned to Washington State Community College as an instructor, made her way up through the ranks, and now is not only a full professor but also the chair of the business department. Her professionalism is acknowledged by students, colleagues, and the community alike. As others have said, she works feverishly hard at whatever she does and truly takes pride in the success of others. She has high expectations for her students and even higher expectations of herself. She never stops learning, exploring, advocating, and creating so she can mentor and support the efforts of others. Her energy is directed toward the success of others at home, at school, at church, and in the community. As one person said, “She possesses the ‘it’ factor. She has an energy about her that lets people know that she is giving her very best. She is a dedicated leader whose integrity, honesty, and self-assurance give others the confidence they need to succeed no matter how demanding or pressing the situation. She is the ultimate professional.”