Michael Shivers

Spirit Award

Homecoming 2019

Michael Shivers of the custodial staff at Highlands received the homecoming Spirit Award for his kindness, thoughtfulness and positive spirit. The Office of Alumni Affairs nominated him for the award.

 “When considering the theme for this year’s Homecoming ‘The Heart of Highlands,’ Michael’s name was the first to come to mind,” said Juli Salman, Alumni Affairs director. “He’s hardworking, unfailingly positive, an ambassador with integrity, and humble as well.”

Shivers works in Kennedy Hall, which includes a residence hall as well as the Alumni Office. He has worked at Highlands since 2013.

“Michael goes out of his way to offer help to everyone he meets. He tries to always say something positive and encouraging to each student because one never knows the difficulties they are facing on any given day,” Salman said.

Salman added, “Michael takes the initiative to get to know each student living in his dormitory and keeps a watchful eye on their well-being.”

Shivers said: “The award caught me off guard and I’m very honored. I just do what I feel needs to be done. My title says custodian, but I think of myself as an ambassador for Highlands. My job is part of the bigger spectrum of the university and is important because I help students feel welcome and comfortable. I love my job and coming to work every day.”

Shivers said his ambassador skills come from his experience in the hotel industry where he once won Concierge of the Year at Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe.

Shivers said his philosophy is everything can be fixed, and borrows from the Star Trek line, “make it so.”

“If something needs fixing, I fix it whether it’s technically part of my job or not,” Shivers said.

Shivers said little miracles happen all the time.

“For example, when Highlands President Sam Minner stopped and spoke to me outside Kennedy Hall one day it changed me because I felt like an important part of Highlands. I care about where I work and take pride in making Kennedy Hall a home away from home,” Shivers said.

Shivers said that working at Highlands is like being part of a family.

“The other employees are like my family because they truly care, and if I need something done, they deliver,” Shivers said.

The San Francisco native said Highlands is a vital part of the Las Vegas community.

“I’m proud to be a Highlands employee because it’s an institution of higher learning that transforms people’s lives. It feels good to be a positive part of that. It’s very exciting to see students I knew as freshman graduating or chasing master’s degrees,” Shivers said

Shivers also said he enjoys students returning after graduation and hearing about their successes.

“They sometimes call me Uncle Mike when they share their stories,” Shivers said.

Shivers said you can travel through people because everyone is from somewhere different.

“Our students at Highlands come from all over the globe and they share their culture with me. It’s fascinating and always rewarding,” Shivers said.