Eintracht named USD’s Employee of the Month

Eintracht named USD's Employee of the Month Dedication, energy and hard work have earned Merle Eintracht of Vermillion the January Career Service Employee of the Month Award at The University of South Dakota.

Eintracht, director of the childcare center at USD since 1997, was honored during a ceremony Jan. 9 in the new John and Connie Vucurevich Childcare Center. USD President James W. Abbott presented Eintracht with a plaque and a check.

"It's easy for me to be committed to what I do, in as much as it enables the children's parents to complete an education and in so doing, elevate the level of the whole family's aspirations," said Eintracht. "By the time I came to USD, I had been teaching for a long time. I walked in the front door of the USD childcare center and it was like a fish in water.

"It's very energizing," she continued. "The new fun part for me is working with the 40 students and my staff. They are the best bunch of people I have ever met."

Von Stange, director of Residential Life, nominated Eintracht based on her management skills, drive and dedication to improving USD's childcare center.

"I don't think it would be a stretch to say that Merle Eintracht is the savior of daycare at The University of South Dakota," he said. "Her leadership at the childcare center has led to a metamorphosis from a basic childcare center to a program that encompasses childcare, preschool, infant/toddler care, and programs for afterschool and summer children.

"When she came to USD, the childcare center couldn't fill all their spots and the center was losing money every year," Stange continued. "Merle started by improving the inner workings of the center. She worked with parents who were going to school to get childcare assistance. She hired some staff that cared about the children and their well being."

Stange noted that Eintracht also sought out work-study students to help defray the costs of operation. She gained funding from the general activity fee to pay for the salary of one childcare worker. She went to the United Way and secured funds for appliances. She also authored and received a federal grant of $33,000 for four years to improve the center and help fund the infant/toddler area.

"She also helped in soliciting donations for the renovation of the new childcare center," Stange added. "Thanks to her dedication, the center received a total of $350,000 from two benefactors to fund building renovations. Finally, through her contacts, the center received a $100,000 grant for a play area behind the new center.

"No one has worked harder on behalf of the children than Merle," he continued. "She has done it with lots of hard, long hours and very little recognition. But, through it all, she has had one thing in mind � the welfare of the children. You see, she didn't do all this work for her, but she did it for the children and their parents who are trying to make a better life for themselves."

Eintracht, originally of Johannesburg, South Africa, began working at USD in December 1997.

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