June 29, 2009
Campus pavilion named after retiring finance chief
More than 200 well-wishers -- friends, family, co-workers, faculty, staff and public officials -- gathered Friday afternoon, June 26, in the newly re-named Raymond J. Courter College Park Pavilion to honor Ray Courter, Northwest's retiring vice president of finance and support services.
Courter, whose last official day is Tuesday, June 30, joined the University's administrative team in 1972 -- 37 years ago -- as director of accounting and payroll. He subsequently served as internal auditor and controller before being promoted to his current post in 1996.
As a member of the President's Cabinet, Courter has acted as Northwest's chief budget officer and shouldered overall responsibility for the management, development and maintenance of the University's physical plant and service operations. Those functions involve nearly 200 employees and touch on nearly every aspect of campus life.
Inspiring dedication and loyalty in co-workers has been a hallmark of Courter's leadership style, said University Controller Dan Edmonds, who will become interim vice president, and who served as master of ceremonies at Friday's reception.
Edmonds noted that ten employees in the University's finance and administration unit have served under Courter for at least 25 years, and he described his boss as an exceptional manager who was also a "a great teacher, a great leader and a great friend."
President Dean L. Hubbard, who is also retiring, praised Courter's many contributions to Northwest, especially his legacy of more than $200 million in new construction and other capital improvements.
"It wasn't just his professional skills, but his appreciation for the aesthetics," Hubbard said of projects ranging from new residence halls and academic buildings to small memorials and gardens. "Ray was always interested not just in getting it done, but in making it look good and making it feel good."
Others offering tributes to Courter and reminiscing about his decades of service included state Rep. Mike Thomson, Maryville, who presented Courter with a House of Representatives resolution, and Athletics Director Bob Boerigter, who gave Courter a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association watch.
Representatives from administrative offices and units supervised by Courter, including Campus Safety, Environmental Services and Dining Services, also spoke and presented their outgoing boss with a variety of mementoes, plaques and gifts.
Courter said he was "deeply honored and deeply touched" by the tribute and the re-naming of the pavilion in his honor.
"Perhaps I'll find words someday to express what this means," he said. "Thank you so much."
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