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Meet KU's August Employees of the Month

Monday, October 03, 2016

Name: Christian Beer

Title: Communications and events coordinator, School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures

What that means: Beer is responsible for social media, events, and assisting with recruitment and development for foreign-language departments and related programs.

Notable: Beer managed the planning and execution of the Inaugural Convocation to launch the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures on Sept. 1, 2015. Beer had no prior experience or models to follow, so he spent months drawing up elaborate plans, discussed his plans at length and in detail with his supervisor, organized a small army of colleagues and student volunteers to assist, and lined up numerous special features for the event. The event was attended by a capacity crowd in the Union Ballroom consisting of campus colleagues, students, alumni, friends, and community, national, and international dignitaries. The event received an outpouring of praise and congratulations from many dozens of attendees.

With the implementation of the new school, Beer was responsible for helping solicit donations to meet the department’s financial responsibilities. Beer immediately started working as a liaison with KU Endowment and was able to meet his fundraising challenge in one year versus his two-year goal.

Beer’s position requires consummate collaboration and ability to establish rapport with faculty, students, staff, external supporters, alumni, vendors and the general public, from local to international. Moreover, he must mediate an unusually culturally variegated cohort of constituents from every world area represented on campus. Beer manages this challenge with great diplomatic aplomb.

Name: Mark Reynolds

Title: Director of finance & planning for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

What that means: Reynolds supervises a talented staff that provides full-service budget planning, strategy and implementation for the College and its more than 16,000 students, 600 faculty members and 50 academic units.

Notable: Through his skills, foresight and creativity, Reynolds has helped the College respond to extensive budget rescissions and long-term cuts in a way that ensures fiscal responsibility.  He manages the College’s budget issues while not stunting important growth opportunities by being overly cautious.  Reynolds constantly tries to say “yes” when others might find it easy to say “no,” and he puts in countless hours to make “yes” a reality.  He has the impressive ability to balance sound financial responsibility with the needs of the College, blending the reality of difficult financial times with optimistic pursuit of healthy growth to support students, faculty and staff. 

Reynolds has offered his expertise campuswide, helping the campus budget office address financial difficulties and mentoring other school-level budget officers who benefit from his wide range of experience at KU.  Reynolds provides one-on-one support to the College’s department chairs to help them not only identify savings but find creative ways to increase income.

Simply put, without Reynolds, the College would not be able to push forward and thrive during difficult financial times.