Anyone who’s spent a moment in the presence of Paula (Whelan) Hedderick ’92 has experienced her charming Jersey sass and welcoming disposition. Whether she’s assisting a student-athlete, hosting a staff council event, or popping in to say “hello,” Paula’s vibrant servant’s heart spills over into everything she does and makes her an obvious choice for Eastern University’s 2023 Lamplight Society Award.
When asked about receiving this honor, Paula reflects, “I am still stunned. I came to Eastern as a freshman in 1988 and never went home, though I have never shed my Jersey girl brassiness. I guess I am pleased someone saw through it all how sincerely I love this place. I am honored beyond words to be included among those who have gone before me in receiving this award.”
The Lamplight Society honors a member of our alumni, faculty, staff, or administration who has left a legacy of light on the Eastern University Community.
Paula's journey at Eastern has since included work as the Executive Assistant for Institutional Effectiveness and Research, her current role as Director of Internal Operations for Athletics, and her volunteer position on staff council.
Athletic Director Eric McNelley shares, “Paula is the best and keeps me afloat! She brings a positive spirit to the office that is infectious and contagious. She loves everything about Eastern and lives out our mission daily. This recognition is well-deserved!”
“Athletics is a vibrant and dynamic department,” Paula explains, “Everyone seems to honestly like the work they are doing, and the students are the cherry on top. They challenge us, keep us on our toes, and keep us young. They inspire me as they manage the demands of athletic competition on top of their academic workload and spiritual development – this is the Eastern I attended, still spiritual, still holy.”
Paula continues, “I pray I am seen as effective and helpful to my coworkers. I want the best for them and the university and will do all I can to support that through my actions. I can lighten the load for a coworker, comfort a student in crisis, and communicate with leadership on behalf of the staff. I am embracing that little old me can effect change all around me!”