Outstanding Staff Members Recognized for Dedication to the University Community
The Administrative Staff Council’s Employee Excellence Awards and Bartels Employee Recognition Awards honored several staff members for their commitment to the University’s mission and to our students.
Sept 3, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Each academic year, the University recognizes meritorious employees for their achievements and commitment to the University community. It also celebrates service milestones in five- and 10-year increments, and recently recognized employee milestones for 2020 and 2021. In 2020, 123 employees were honored for their service milestones, including three celebrating 30 years, two celebrating 35 years, and three celebrating 40 years at the University. This year, the University recognized 94 employee milestones, including two who are celebrating 35 years.
2021 Employee Excellence Awards
Employee Excellence Awards are awarded to administrative staff members who have demonstrated outstanding service to the University community. Nominated by fellow University employees, staff winners are selected by an advisory committee made up of past award winners and members of the Administrative Staff Council.
Excellence in University Service
Sarah Gardocki, who has recently accepted a position at another institution but continues to support our COVID Task Force in a part-time role, received the Excellence in University Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to the University community. It also recognizes a staff member who makes a significant impact within their department and across the community while fostering the mission of the University.
“At a time when University employees are working above and beyond in adverse conditions,
Sarah is a standout employee whose COVID-related work over the past year has been instrumental in maintaining campus operations,” wrote a colleague who nominated Gardocki. “Sarah answers the emails and phone calls for both the COVID Taskforce and CoVerified support. She communicates (at any hour of the day) with countless students, parents, and employees, helping them navigate protocols, answering questions, and calming nerves.”
Excellence in Creativity
Laura Norris, a graphic designer in the University’s Office of Marketing and Communications, earned the Excellence in Creativity award. This recognition honors a staff member who has demonstrated creative and innovative ideas that enhance the University community while taking a creative and unique approach to furthering the University’s mission.
“She takes great pride in her work as a designer,” wrote a colleague who nominated Norris. “She is committed to the success of the University, as evidenced by the universal praise she receives from her clients and co-workers. She worked on incorporating our brand into our Instagram channel and stories to add a cohesive design, which saw increases in viewers and followers as a result. She continues to always be on the lookout for potential content for posts to schedule to keep the channel fresh."
2021 Bartels Employee Recognition Awards
The Bartels Employee Recognition Awards, sponsored by longstanding University benefactors Philip Bartels ’11 Hon., a member of the University’s Board of Governors and a former Board chair, and his wife, Susan, are presented to exemplary employees who have gone above and beyond their assigned responsibilities.
William Frazier is associate director of residential education for the University’s Office of Residential Life. His supervisor noted the impact his leadership has had on his colleagues and on students.
Frazier’s supervisor wrote, “Will has been a tremendous leader in our department and has worked to improve student engagement on campus. He is committed to creating an engaging and inclusive community through innovative programming and role modeling for our other professional staff.”
Betsy Robear is a mail center clerk who transferred from the University’s library about a year ago.
“She has hit the ground running upon her arrival,” Robear’s supervisor wrote. “She is very detailed orientated, she constantly makes sure everything is in its place and that there is a place for everything. She is very upbeat and conscientious to everyone around her, but more importantly to the students, staff, and faculty needs. She has been a pleasant addition to the mail department and the University.”
Joseph Scollo is an information literacy librarian for the University’s Marvin K. Peterson Library. His supervisor praised his commitment to students at the library and in his roles as vice chair of the administrative staff council, associate director of the Model United Nations program, and as a member of the IDEA Council’s Subcommittee on Assessment.
“Joe is a valued contributor to both the library's information literacy program as well as to the University community,” wrote his supervisor. “As an information literacy librarian, he contributes to student success by connecting students with the knowledge to understand the information resources needed to successfully complete research assignments for the disciplines that he is liaison librarian to.”
“Samantha’s performance as an employee is exemplary,” said her supervisor. “Her attention to detail and inspiring organizational skills ensure that her work is complete to perfection. Samantha’s willingness to step up and help with responsibilities outside of her job description is a part of her DNA. She is attentive to the needs of others (students, faculty, staff, and visitors) and always conveys a positive and professional image. On a regular basis, Sam is showered with letters from students expressing gratitude for her support and guidance. Her roles at the University are many and her impact is far spread. Sam’s excellence certainly deserves this recognition.”
Yvonne Velazquez is a custodian in the University’s Facilities Department. Her supervisor praised her work ethic and can-do attitude.
“Yvonne has worked for the University for almost 16 years, and she is well respected by her customers and her colleagues,” wrote her supervisor. “She has been assigned to work in several academic and residential buildings during her time with the University, her customers say she has a keen eye for attention to detail and strives to provide exceptional services. Her colleagues respect her ability to jump in and help whenever there is a need and often remark about her great sense of humor. This past year she has again brought that positive attitude and sense of humor forward to help us all have a successful academic year.”
Sarah Gardocki also received the Bartels Employee Recognition Award.
“Sarah’s work positively impacted numerous departments across the University, not just in the School of Health Sciences,” noted her supervisor. “Her work ethic was always steadfast and admirable. She consistently showed initiative and completed her work with quality and care and often implemented process improvements which benefited her area as well as others. The University has benefited greatly from her dedication and ‘get it done’ attitude. While Sarah has moved on to another institution, we are eternally grateful for her ongoing participation on a part-time basis to the myriad of required COVID-related deliverables. Sarah is most deserving of this recognition.”