Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices

Home > Offices > News Office > News Releases > News Release

News Releases
Campus Update

Fifteen "Excellent Employees" to be Honored at Smith Ceremony September 30

New Recognition Program Lets Students, Faculty And Staff Nominate Employees Whose Contributions Might Otherwise Go Unheralded

When Kimberly DeJesus was a little girl, she remembers, she often accompanied her mother, Olga Perez, to Talbot House at Smith to help her set up a special dinner for the students Perez called "her girls." That was nearly 20 years ago, and the residents of Talbot are still coming home to Perez's candlelight dinners, fresh flowers, and home-made cookies. The dining room assistant has even been known to provide pinatas and sombreros, if she's decided the students need a Tex-Mex Night. DeJesus herself is now a Smith employee, and her mother's example still sets the standard for the service she tries to provide to students.
. . .

Most employees know the feeling: "If this phone would just stop ringing I could get some work done!" Amazingly, for Liz Anderson, this phrase doesn't seem to apply.

As administrative assistant in Smith College's Student Affairs Office, Anderson fields scores of phone calls each day, answers dozens of student and staff questions, and juggles tasks ranging from running the student parking lottery to organizing interviews for prospective house staff. In the meantime, she mentors other support staff, remembers colleagues' birthdays, and does it all, in the words of a colleague, with "a smile and an enthusiastic attitude that is very contagious."
. . .
These days, e-mail and other forms of online communication are key to productivity and morale in any organization. But staff members in service functions -- maintenance workers, custodians, tradesworkers, for example - often don't have ready access to computers. The words "technology" and "computer" appear nowhere in Charlie Conant's job description -- he's a project manager in Smith's physical plant department -- but he has nonetheless become the department's unofficial PC network expert, spearheading the installation of public access computers in the department's break area. As one co-worker explained, "Anyone suffering with a computer problem can count on Charlie."

Perez, Anderson and Conant are three examples of employees who set a standard for performance at Smith. This year, they join 15 other honorees as members of the first "class" of excellent employees to be recognized for their contributions. The twelve winners of the first-ever Employee Excellence Awards will be feted at a community celebration 2:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday, September 30, in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall. The award ceremony will be followed by a reception. Also recognized at the ceremony will be employees with milestone years of service ranging from 10 to 35 years.

Ninety-one staff members were nominated by their peers for the Employee Excellence Awards, with nominations or letters of support submitted by 151 individuals. In contrast to most conventional recognition programs, in which bonuses are bestowed by supervisors, the new program was designed to enable all Smith employees to recognize the contributions of their peers or colleagues.

"There are so many people doing such a good job here at the college," explained Gaynelle Weiss, associate director of human resources, who oversees the program. "We wanted to send a message that Smith values excellence and is strengthened immeasurably by employees who aspire to excellence in their work."

Recognizing that employees contribute in varied ways, nominations were sought for excellence in six categories: service, diversity, community, teamwork, cost-effectiveness, and supervision. Winners received a $1,000 after-tax honorarium in June.

Winners of the 1999 Employee Excellence Awards (listed by town of residence):

Naomi Curtis Sturtevant
Interlibrary Loan Specialist
Award for Service

Janet Gracia
Administrative Assistant
Health Services - Student Counseling
Award for Service

Diane Garvey
Major Gifts Assistant
Award for Teamwork

Valerie Schumacher
Student Employment/Fund Coordinator
Financial Aid
Award for Community

Charles Conant
Project Director
Physical Plant
Award for Service (Enhancing Operations)

Alan Bloomgarden
Assistant Director of Faculty Grants and Government Relations
Advancement/Corporate and Foundation Relations
Award for Community

Sylvia Crafts
Dining Room Assistant
Residence and Dining Services
Award for Service

Sarah Lazare
Coordinator of Tutorial Services
Jacobson Center
Award for Service/Diversity/Community

Eric Loehr
Library Systems Coordinator
Award for Teamwork

Olga Perez
Dining Room Assistant
Residence and Dining Services
Award for Service

Rita Singler
Assistant to the Costumer/Cutter
Dance /Theatre
Award for Service

Julie Van Doren Thomson
Educational Technology Specialist
Science Center Office
Award for Teamwork

Donna Gunn
Academic Secretary
Wright Hall - Humanities
Award for Service

Felicia Leveille
Administrative Assistant
Wright Hall - Humanities
Award for Service

Elizabeth Anderson
Administrative Assistant
Student Affairs
Award for Service

September 15, 1999


News Release Directory // News Office Home Page // Smith College Home Page

© 1999 Smith College // Please send comments to:
Page maintained by the Office of College Relations. Last update: 9/15/99.