Thirty-five years ago, one Ball State employee began her career typing menus for Ball State Dining. After many years and several steps up the promotional ladder, that employee has gained national recognition. 

Coralee Young received the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) award for administrative excellence in November for her work as the Honors College secretary to the dean. NCHC, which has nearly 900 university members across the nation, gives this award to only one person a year. 

“Overall, I am a pretty humble person,” Young said. “Sometimes it’s embarrassing to get that recognition. To know how the students embraced the award and how they were excited about it, really made me feel cared for. It just makes coming to work easier every day.”

As secretary to the dean, Young’s job consists of a variety of tasks — most of which are directly involved with students. She works with Student Honors Council, coordinates travel for Honors College students, tracks student theses, and monitors budgets and plans special events for the Honors College.

Young said she has learned to navigate a lot in her years at the Honors College, the biggest of which is learning new systems for scheduling classes. Additionally, she had to figure out how to cope with the passing of Dean James Ruebel in 2016.

“We had a really stressful year. It was tough to keep things moving. But on a daily basis, things still had to go on,” Young said. “I took a few things on, and [current Dean] Dr. John Emert took a huge load on. Dr. Emert and I became really close.”

Young’s award is the third to be given from NCHC to Ball State employees. The Honors College publication News and Notes has been awarded twice in the past.

“She’s recognized as the best administrative partner in NCHC. She is one of the very best. It is rightly deserved,” Emert said. “She’s wonderful. She’s phenomenal. She’s indispensable. No you can’t have her. She’s always always professional. She is always looking out for how we can all do our job better. The award was well deserved.”

Overall, Young said that over the years there has been a lot of change in the Honors College and at Ball State in general, but she loves her job.

“I’m proud of where I work. I’m proud of being here,” Young said. “I’ll be here ‘till I retire — another 10 years at least. It keeps you young being here. I am not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Contact Liz Rieth with comments at or on Twitter at @liz_rieth.