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Madonna Weathers to receive MSU's 2022 Founders Award

Madonna Weathers 2022 HeadshotThe Morehead State University Board of Regents has announced that Madonna Weathers will be recognized as the 2022 recipient of the Founders Award for University Service.   

Madonna Weathers (Class of 1971, 1972, 1982) came to Morehead State University with aspirations to become an educator. Growing up in Louisville, Weathers had friends and family living in the Morehead area and her visits led her to explore MSU and she was impressed by the reputable education programs.   

"I came here for college, and I never went back – Morehead became my home," Weathers said. 

Weathers completed a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1971, a Master of Arts in Education in 1972 and a Master of Arts in Higher Education in 1982. While she had plans to be an elementary school teacher, her plans changed when she was hired to complete a graduate assistantship in the Office of Student Housing while earning her first master's degree. The administration immediately recognized her leadership skills and passion, and she was offered an administrative staff position in the Office of Student Housing in 1972. 

"After I started in the graduate assistantship role, I realized that student development work in higher education was a career path I hadn’t considered,” she said. "It was an area where I felt like I could be of real service to young people and I knew that would be rewarding."    

Weathers served as the associate director of student housing for 13 years. Weather’s first husband, the late Martin Huffman (Class of 1967), served as the director of printing services. The couple thrived in the campus environment and were very active in campus life. It was during this time in her early career that she became an advocate for female students. She was the first person to suggest that MSU hire a female director in one of the male residence halls.   

"I saw the need for women to be supported because they had so much to offer, and they were in such a male-dominated world," Weathers said.  

In 1985, Weathers transitioned to the director of residence education. In 1989, she became the director of student support services. She held that position for one year before becoming director of student development in 1990.     

In 2002, Weathers assumed the position of vice president for student life. In this position, she oversaw the dean of students, student organizations, intercollegiate athletics, multicultural student services, public safety, student counseling, housing, wellness and financial aid. 

Weathers said her various roles in student life were a "24/7, 365-day-a-year job" that offered plenty of challenges. She has had to manage her fair share of student crises.   

"There were fairly regular middle of the night calls and sometimes they could be answered on the phone and sometimes it would require a trip to campus right then," she said. "I could almost guarantee no day was going to go the way it looked on my calendar."   

Even with these challenges, Weathers said the highs of her job far exceeded the lows. Anytime she encouraged a student, advised SGA or another student organization, attended an award ceremony or graduation, an athletic or a Greek life event, she saw her hard work and love for her students pay off through their success.  

“Sometimes you don’t know that you are impacting students at the time they are on campus. It is often years later when you see them at homecoming or receive wedding invitations from former students that you realize you did influence them in a positive way.”   

"It's when you get the notes after a student graduated saying ‘you may not remember me but…thank you so much. You are the reason that I graduated,'" she said. "I just had a passion for that. It was important to me that people had the opportunities and all the support they needed to accomplish their goals."   

Weathers worked alongside many different supervisors, vice-presidents and presidents of MSU during her 44-year career. She also served multiple terms on MSU's Staff Congress, was co-chair of the University's Campus Giving Campaign in 1999 and 2000, and served on the MSU’s SACS Self Study Steering Committee from 1998 to 2000 and on multiple SACS accreditation visiting team. Weathers was a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Southern Association for College Student Affairs, the American College Health Association, Mid-America College Health Association and the Kentucky College Health Association. 

While she spent more than four decades serving students and retired in 2016, she remains actively involved with MSU. She is an avid supporter of MSU Athletics attending home and away sporting events and she travels with the MSU Retirees Association.    

Weathers is also actively involved in the Morehead community.  She previously served on the board of Peoples Bank and currently serves on the board of the St. Claire HealthCare Foundation, where she was recently appointed vice-chair. She also is a member of Chapter AA of P.E.O. and Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church. 

Weathers has attended many Founders Day and Homecoming Celebrations and witnessed other notable Eagles receive the Founders Award. In 1996, she and her children, Sarah Huffman Caudill (Class of 1999, 2001) and Guy Huffman (Class of 2002), accepted the award on behalf of her late husband Martin Huffman, who received the Founders Award posthumously after passing away in 1993. Weathers is genuinely humbled and grateful to receive the honor herself. She said it feels like a lifetime achievement award for her consistent effort at helping every student succeed, which she said was the most rewarding part of her job.   

"I'm very appreciative and just feel humble that I am being recognized. When I learned of this award, I felt honored and as if they were thanking me for a lifetime of little things," she said. " And the greatest thing is I had fun doing it."   

The MSU Board of Regents established the Founders Award for University Service in 1978. The award recognizes individuals who have given superior service to Morehead State University throughout their time as an employee or volunteer. The Founders Award is presented at MSU's Homecoming in October.     

For more information about recognition and awards, contact MSU's Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email giving@moreheadstate.edu or visit alumni.moreheadstate.edu.