Staff honored with Presidential Recognition Awards
President Katherine Bergeron acknowledged members of the Connecticut College staff for their valuable contributions at the sixth annual Presidential Staff Recognition Breakfast and Awards Ceremony May 10.
Bergeron presented awards to five staff members and one team. The awards were selected from 61 nominations for individuals and teams in the rising star, service excellence, inspiration, citizenship and student support categories.
The 2019 Presidential Staff Recognition Award winners are:
The Rising Star Award, which recognizes an individual who has worked at the College for less than three years and has made a recognizable impact, was awarded to Melissa Ryan, assistant director of the Walter Commons. Ryan, who received seven nominations for the award, including two from students, was honored for her energetic and deeply collaborative efforts to make the Walter Commons a vibrant, active space on campus, as well as her leadership on the Refugee Relief and Education Committee, and her efforts to develop partnerships with local organizations. Wrote one colleague of Ryan, “She has been integral to the successful launch and day-to-day operations of the Walter Commons and continues to bring boundless energy and ideas—not to mention an exceptional work ethic and student-centered approach—to the enterprise of integrating global-local engagement into the experience of all students.”
The Inspiration Award, presented to an individual who excels at building relationships and motivating others to higher levels of performance, was awarded to Heather Romanski, director of computer support services. Romanski, who was also nominated in the service excellence category, was lauded for her ability to inspire and motivate her colleagues to meet new challenges head on. As one nominator wrote, she is “an effective leader who collaborates with others and encourages her team to grow professionally. She is an inspiration to everyone around her.”
The Citizenship Award, which honors an individual who has enhanced the quality of life and made a substantial difference for the College community, was awarded to Patricia Dallas, assistant director of the Academic Resource Center. Dallas was commended for her dedication to students and for being instrumental to the success of the ARC. “Her unwavering style and her dedication to absolutely everything that she does is unmatched. Her thoughtfulness and humor, and her love of students, make Tricia a true gem to the College,” wrote one nominator.
The Service Excellence Award, which honors an individual who demonstrates distinction in the conduct of his or her responsibilities at the College, was awarded to Angelo Urena, a custodian working leader. Urena’s nominators praised his problem solving and customer service skills. “Leading a small team of staff, he is responsible for all elements of event set up and tear down across the entire campus, a task he does with a smile, grace and functionality second to none,” wrote one nominator. Another wrote, “Angelo is the go-to person on second shift and he always meets the needs of the College by going above and beyond. When everyone else goes home, Angelo is the last to leave, making sure that every detail is spot on.”
The Student Support Award, which honors a staff member who has bolstered student success and facilitated a positive student experience, was awarded to Andrew Lopez, research and instruction librarian. Student nominators praised Lopez, who was also nominated in the citizenship and service excellence categories, for his commitment to connecting them with resources in the library and in the community to make their research projects successful. One student wrote, “When I was studying abroad during my junior year, Andrew was my primary contact when I needed help getting access to a source. He did not hesitate to scan and send chapters to me, but he went even further than that and sent me articles that I didn't even know existed.” Another supporter wrote, “He dreams big—always thinking of new ways to support students, faculty and the scholarly community at large.”
The Team Service Excellence Award, presented to the staff team that demonstrates distinction in the conduct of their responsibilities at the College, was awarded to the Catering team of Caroline Ball, catering assistant; Robin Bissell, catering kitchen stock aide; Nikki Byington, catering assistant; John Dillon, catering manager; Rachel Garofalo, catering supervisor; and Luigi Sferrazza, catering chef. The team was praised for providing outstanding service and delicious food at events across campus and at all hours of the day. Wrote one nominator, “We are well aware that there are many events that this team is responsible for on campus on any given day, yet they make us feel like our event is the most important to them.”