'Instrumental Leadership' Recognized with Employee of the Year Award
NEW LONDON, N.H. He's the perfect team player who cannot say no and does his job to perfection. He's the go-to guy who gives 110 percent to everything and consistently works beyond his job description, stepping up to assume leadership without being asked, simply because he recognizes the need.
He is Jerry Volpe, operations manager in Student Development, and Colby-Sawyer College's 2009 Staff Employee of the Year. Colby-Sawyer President Tom Galligan awarded Volpe the honor Feb. 11 in a Celebration of Service that also honored faculty and staff who have served the college at least five years.
Every year, Colby-Sawyer invites its students, faculty and staff to nominate a non-faculty member who has made an outstanding contribution to enhancing or improving the institution and, therefore, enabling the college to meet its mission. The nominee must exemplify characteristics valued at the college (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.
Exceptional Dedication to Colby-Sawyer
Twenty-eight individuals were nominated for the 2009 Employee of the Year award for their exceptional dedication to Colby-Sawyer: Cindy Benson; Jodi Bonewald; Karen Bonewald; Beth Crockford; Diane Driscoll; Dick Gosselin; Karen Gould; Jim Hanlon; Terri Hermann; Kathleen Karr; Liz LaBelle; Bonnie Lewis; Angela Maliar; George Martin; Sue Maurer; Bob Morse; Rachel Parsons; Kelley Perron; Chris Reed; Ben Reeder; Kathy Taylor; Carrie Thomas; Kristin Tupper; Jerry Volpe; Cally White; Harriette Yazzie-Whitcomb and Heather Zahn. The winner was selected by a committee comprised of past Employees of the Year.
Volpe, who received four nominations from fellow staff members, came to Colby-Sawyer in 2002 as a resident director in Danforth Hall where, President Galligan said, his eye for detail and a notable streak of empathy kept him in touch with his residents. He worked as a tutor and designed a database to track appointments. As operations manager for student development, he was heavily involved in the preparations for last year's Global Beginnings program, and was on campus to help when the students arrived.
Rumor has it that he sacrificed some of his leave time with his efforts to help this exciting new program's successful launch, said President Galligan. On behalf of all of us and all the students you have helped, I can say it is a great pleasure to work with you and follow your example.
Volpe, who accepted his award to a standing ovation, says the title is a great honor and a complete surprise. I keep coming back to a feeling of great pride in working at such an incredible place where I love the work I do and the people I work with, says Volpe. So many of us do what we do here at the college because we really believe in our common purpose and mission, and that what we do truly makes a difference likely in ways that we will never even be able to fully quantify.
Volpe, who grew up in Haledon, N.J., and graduated from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., with a B.A. in psychology, says he's been replaying one moment from the afternoon. Just after Tom [Galligan] asked me to the podium, I had a few seconds to turn and face everyone in the room and make eye contact with friends and colleagues it was a somewhat surreal moment filled with my heartfelt appreciation for everyone, Volpe said. It's a moment I am not likely to forget. I just can't say enough how grateful and appreciative I am.
Volpe's name will be added to the plaque commemorating all the winners since 1988 that hangs in Colgate Hall.
A Wealth of Experience
Representing a combined 625 years of service to Colby-Sawyer, faculty and staff members marking their 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year anniversaries at the college were recognized with thanks and locally hand-crafted gifts.
For their five years of service to Colby-Sawyer, President Galligan thanked Maryann Allen, Nick Baer, John Bly, Mike Buote, Jeff Cable, Deborah Campbell, Lisa Dow, Phillip Eller, Anne Goucher, Craig Greenman, Delphine Hill, Elizabeth Jablonski, Judith Joy, Beth Krajewski, Sandra LeBeau, Molly MacNaughton, Shirley Martin, Melissa Meade, Catherine O'Brian, Brittany Pye, Ben Reeder, Shawn Royal, Ryan Smith, Matt Timmons, Brenda White and Lisa Windsor.
With humorous anecdotes and serious appreciation, President Galligan lauded David Blaisdell, Heather Bressette, Koreen Bennett, Jodi Bonewald, Sophie Call, Kathy Carroll, Dick Gosselin, Bonnie Lewis, Sue Maurer and Lee Woodworth for offering ten years of service to the college.
Honored for 15 years of service by a friend or special colleague were Tania Biron, James Broughton, Shari Goldberg, Margaret Harrington, Leon Malan, George Martin, Joe Stearns, Janet St. Laurent and Kathy Taylor.
For their two decades at Colby-Sawyer, Goldie Burroughs, Doreen Gareau and Pam Sanborn were recognized with thanks and fond memories by Mike Heffernan, Karen Bonewald and Doug Atkins, respectively. Warmly expressing appreciation for Linda Varnum's 20 years at Colby-Sawyer, including her recent contributions as office manager for the President's Office and secretary of the college, President Galligan said, I want my friend, Linda Varnum, to know how much I and we appreciate her The college would not run without her. And, she always has my back. That makes me feel secure and it makes me feel very, very lucky.
Calling him the voice of reason, President Galligan next highlighted Treasurer Doug Lyon's contributions to Colby-Sawyer over the last 20 years and noted that every evening, Lyon bids farewell saying, Good night lizard-faced criminals! Stay out of trouble!
Lyon, famous for concluding campus meetings with a capella renditions of the hot topic of the day, has over the years offered classics such as You've Got to Grow Your Enrollment and All I Want Are Some Beds Somewhere.
We all look forward to his a capella and hilarious productions and have learned to expect the unexpected from him, said President Galligan. So there really is no more fitting way to honor the man than in that vein. Performing for the first time stateside, here are Doug Lyon's Lizard-Faced Criminals!
Doreen Gareau returned to the stage with the rest of the Financial Services staff, all clad in red and black and donning sun glasses to serenade their boss with a customized version of For the Longest Time as in, Doug Lyon's been here for the longest time.
There were, however, two more staff members honored for being at the college even longer. Professor of Humanities Ann Page Stecker came up on stage to recall Nancy Teach's quarter-century at Colby-Sawyer. Teach, director of student affairs, is an alumna, a past Employee of the Year, winner of the Town-Gown Award, and, as Professor Stecker emotionally recalled, has been involved in nearly every sector of the college's activities.
Finally, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Dave Sauerwein paid tribute to the 30 years of service by Nancy Staszkiewicz, senior staff assistant in Student Development. For three decades, Staszkiewicz has offered her help and expertise in many areas of the college, working all hours until a task was completed and done well. Vice President Sauerwein noted that Staszkiewicz, an avid kayaker and gardener, may never actually sit in the rocking chair with which she was presented as she is always on the go.
Regardless of what is put into the Shaker boxes, or where the prints are hung or the Colby-Sawyer lamps are placed, or the rocking chair parked, the gifts presented at the Celebration of Service are small yet visible gestures meant to convey the gratitude and respect that college community members feel for colleagues whose dedication comes not just from a love of their jobs, but a love of Colby-Sawyer itself.
Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Students learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with professional experience.
Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000