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Currents: celebrating service

Faculty and Staff Service to Colby-Sawyer Recognized

Technology Specialist David Levine was named Colby-Sawyer College's 2008 Employee of the Year in a Celebration of Service that also honored faculty and staff who have served the college at least five years. The Feb. 13 event was followed by a dessert social in Wheeler Hall.

Every year, Colby-Sawyer invites its students, faculty and staff to nominate a non-faculty member who has made a significant effort or contribution to the college for Employee of the Year. The nominee must exemplify the characteristics valued at Colby-Sawyer (honesty, integrity, high quality work, productive resourcefulness, teamwork, initiative, respect for the individual, and a sense of humor); have made a significant effort to help fellow employees or students; enhanced the college environment in a significant manner; exhibited particularly high standards of conduct or job performance, and been actively involved in the life of the college.

And the Nominees Are …

Twenty-seven individuals, and one entire operations group, were nominated for the 2008 title of Employee of the Year: Georgann Armstrong; the Admissions Operations Group; Cindy Benson; David Blaisdell; Jeffrey Cable; Ruth Clark; Ted Craigie; Dick Gosselin; Jim Hanlon; Marty Hebert; Terri Hermann; David Levine; Bonnie Lewis; Michael Lovell; Kristine Macagba; Angela Maliar; Donna Marszalkowski; George Martin; Sue Maurer; Carole Parsons; Shirley Paquette; Kelley Perron; Kimberly Slover; Peter Steese; Pam Trostorff; Kristin Tupper; Jerry Volpe and Heather Zahn.

President Galligan awarded David Levine, a technology specialist in Information Resources, the distinction of Employee of the Year. Levine's name will be added to the plaque commemorating all the winners since 1988 that hangs in the hallway outside of Financial Services in Colgate.

Levine, who before coming to Colby-Sawyer in 1998 was a special education aide for Kearsarge Regional School District and provided Macintosh computer support, was nominated by a staff member who wrote, “This was a transitional year for IR ... with several changes along the way. Through this period David continued to be a solid anchor in the department. The changes brought David additional work, but one could hardly tell. He remained positive and upbeat, always tackling each service call with professionalism and enthusiasm.

“David is often seen early in the morning and after hours, as well," the nomination continued. "He takes the time to work with each client as if they are the only one. I always appreciate his creativity and inventiveness on problem solving. Additionally, he takes the time to teach.”

Demonstrating his creativity and upbeat manner, Levine took the opportunity while on stage to capture a group shot of his colleagues as they applauded his accomplishment.

“I've been witness to the Employee-of-the-Year process for two years at Colby-Sawyer,” says Director of Human Resources Sharon Beaudry. “What I am struck by is the deep sincerity of those people nominating fellow colleagues. Additionally, the committee that selects the honoree reflects upon those nominated and considers all aspects of the person's contribution to the college. They take it very seriously. It is quite impressive.”

The Complete Package

Leading up to the announcement, President Galligan promised that the winner more than met all the requirements of the award, and shared more thoughts on the mystery employee gathered from his colleagues:

• “He takes the time to get to know the students and shows interest in their everyday life.”

• “He takes an active role in the college community, serving on committees and attending many functions on campus. He has been right there helping out behind the scenes at many of those on-campus events.”

• “He possesses the work ethic that we all strive for at Colby-Sawyer. His presence and work not only benefit the students but faculty and staff alike. We are fortunate to have him as a great role model and proud to have him as our colleague and friend.”

• “He has been, is now and will be in the future the most caring, helpful and most deserving person for Employee of the Year. Just being who he is on a daily basis says it all. He is the complete package.”

• “He makes us all feel at ease even when we're in a panic. Without his problem-solving efforts, I don't think that most of us could do our work as well as we do! He makes us all look good.”

• “He is an advocate for all Colby-Sawyer [computer] users and often keeps the user experience at the forefront of his thinking. In short, he is one class act. We are fortunate to count him among our ranks.”

• A past award recipient said: “He never wanted to be recognized for this award. He always wanted his nomination withdrawn so that he could sit on the committee and give the award to the next deserving individual.”

Levine accepted his honor with humor and the humility his nominators predicted.

“It's embarrassing to be the center of attention, but the recognition means a great deal,” he said after the award ceremony. “It reaffirms my commitment to the college and validates my working style. The nature of my responsibilities gets me out into the world, and I've gotten to meet just about every staff and faculty person, as well as plenty of students. This exposure has lead to frequent nominations for Employee of the Year, which are an honor in themselves.”

Levine's responsibilities revolve around what he calls the “desktop experience” that campus users enter into when they log on to the college's computing network. He helps design, deploy and maintain that desktop environment, and provide support to students, staff and faculty. It's changed quite a bit over the years, he says, with new software and hardware, and the increasing availability brought about by the campus network and the Internet at large.

“I'd like to extend a huge thank you to the campus community for all the kindness and appreciation that you've shown me in the decade that I've worked here,” says Levine. “I could not hope to find better people or a better place to work!

Off campus, Levine keeps busy with gardening, road cycling, and recently, his blog, which you're welcome to visit.

As Time Goes By

Mike McMahon, associate professor of Humanities, came to Colby-Sawyer in 1968, and his 40 years at the college were celebrated, in his absence, with Professor Ann Page Stecker reciting a McMahon poem that she declared “a gift then as it is now.” Honored by their colleagues with memories and anecdotes, Loretta Barnett's 30 years at Colby-Sawyer were celebrated, as were the 20 years that Jerry Bliss, Sally Morse, Ben Steele and Peter Steese have each dedicated to the institution. LaVonne Batalden shared that carpooling with Ben Steel included random bird identifications en route.

Honored for 15 years of service were Laura Alexander, Karin Berthiaume, Peter Berthiaume, Lisa Lacombe, Kelley Perron, Tony Quinn, Miriam Shumway, Olivia Smith and Pam Trostorff.

Marking their ten-year milestone were Georgeann Armstrong, LaVonne Bataldan, Beth Camp, Maureen Connelly, David Elliott, David Levine, Angela Maliar, Chris Reed, Peter Shanks, Jude Shedd, Kristin Tupper, Mark Wildermann, and Margaret Wiley. From President Galligan, we learned that David Elliott worked on a dairy farm when he was 12, but only for one day, because the farmer said he made the cows nervous. We also discovered Chris Reed is “the only employee to date who has, in a day's work, not only successfully executed the Annual Fund and student-calling program, but who has also successfully executed the five-meter scrum.”

Five years of service to Colby-Sawyer have been completed by Janet Bauer, Leigh Bears, Thomas Blinn, Michelle Boyce, Hester Fuller, Landon Hall, Semra Kilac-Bahi, Cassandra Lavertue, Norbert Leavitt, Margaret Lewis, Leslie MacGregor, Tracey Perkins, Basia Pietlicki, Gina Reich, LuAnne Ryall, David Sauerwein, Peter Thurber, Thes Thurber, Mike Welch and Tom Wilkins.

To close the ceremony, in what Kathleen Karr describes as a fitting ending to a wonderful afternoon, President Galligan invited Professors LaVonne Batalden, Janice Ewing, Jerry Bliss, and Marc Clement to the stage to announce their retirements at the end of this year. Professor McMahon will also retire this year.

“It was wonderful to hear the different voices of colleagues honoring each other through humor, respect and affection,” says Beaudry of the event.

-Kate Dunlop Seamans, with assistance from Kathleen Karr