Staff members honored for outstanding contributions

On Thursday, March 14, 12 Emory staff members were honored as recipients of the University's 12th annual Awards of Distinction. The program, which honors employees who have made outstanding contributions of service to Emory, is open to all regular general staff and presidentially-approved principals who have worked at the University for at least a year. Each recipient received a certificate and a U.S. savings bond from President Bill Chace during a dinner ceremony at Cox Hall.

Essie Blakely

Supervisor of Auxiliary Enterprises, Campus Life
As an Emory employee for close to 30 years, Blakely has gained a thorough knowledge of the University, its events and infrastructure, and has brought guidance and leadership to her co-workers. "She has provided a level of loyalty and service to the institution that is exemplary in every way," said President Bill Chace, who also called her "a model worker and an inspiration to countless others. Let us, for her, do the right thing, just as she has done, so many times, the right thing for us."

Sheila Conner

Executive Secretary to the Dean, Oxford College
The first recipient of Oxford's Fleming award for exemplary service, Conner has been at Oxford College for 30 years, longer than any other employee. She has worked for four deans, and "her contributions to the work environment of the college go well beyond normal expectation," according to Dean William Murdy.

Paulette Dilworth

Assistant Director, Equal Opportunity Programs
Even though she began working at Emory on April Fool's Day, her contributions to the University have been anything but a joke, according to Associate Vice President Bob Ethridge. Calling her a "most valuable colleague and friend" and "a consummate professional and leader in my office," Ethridge said that Dilworth "listens patiently and assists [faculty, staff and students] in finding their answers by enabling them to focus on the real issues rather than getting lost in the extraneous issues which make decision making so difficult."

Ruth Fincher

Executive Administrative Assistant, Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs
Fincher "represents all things that Emory employees should be: knowledgeable, compassionate, kind, efficient, respectful and dedicated," according to Assistant Vice President for Health Affairs Gary Teal. "One of her responsibilities is to respond to numerous patient complaints . . . usually very irate and even hostile. She will take the time to listen to everything they have to say. Her compassion and kindness usually calm the patient. She will then give this complaint her immediate attention and contact whoever is responsible and make sure the problem is resolved."

Carol Gee

Admini-strative Assistant, Center for Public Health Practice, School of Public Health
While her duties with the Center for Public Health Practice are broad and numerous, Gee fulfills those in a "quality fashion" and goes the extra mile to "make the life of her faculty and students better in some meaningful way," said Joyce Essien, director of the center. Her efforts have been integral to the success of the center and in particular, a multi-community project funded by the Kellogg Foundation. "Over its four-year history," said Essien, Gee has "made sure that the faculty and students ...stayed connected to their community tasks and involvement."

Jan Gleason

Director, Office of News and Information
When President Bill Clinton and his entourage came to Emory last year for the Economic Summit, Gleason was at the center of the details, coordinating activities that ranged from arranging the construction of a large U-shaped table to soliciting and instructing volunteers to serving as the primary contact with the White House. One of the driving forces behind the development and organization of Emory's presence on the World Wide Web, Gleason "has an unusual ability to combine vision and organization," according to Sylvia Wrobel, director of Health Sciences News and Information.

Helen Jenkins

Senior Liaison to Food Services, Campus Life
With a 52-year tenure at Emory, Jenkins is "a nationally known and respected leader in the field of food delivery services," said Brit Katz, assistant to the vice president and dean for Campus Life. When Campus Life created "a life-time achievement award to best recognize a professional for donating successful and long-time service," it was named the Helen W. Jenkins Award, and she was the first recipient. Since 1945, "she has overseen the development, construction and operation of every food service area on the Atlanta and Oxford campuses," said Katz.

Lee Ann Lloyd

Secretary, Institute for Women's Studies
Nominated by colleagues, professors, former colleagues and even a retiree, Lloyd was noted for her organization, efficiency and ability to respond "creatively and independently to unexpected developments." For example, said Director of Women's Studies Martine Brownley, when Lloyd realized "before Women's Studies administrators did, that our graduate application numbers were falling, on her own initiative she produced a detailed plan for graduate recruitment to rectify the situation," a plan that resulted in a 37 percent rise in applications the first year.

Thomas Millen

Associate University Registrar
Enthusiasm, humor and professionalism were qualities of Millen's that were noted in the several letters of nomination. "Quite simply," said Associate Dean of Emory College Peter Dowell, "Tom is someone I know I can count on, whether it be in carrying out the day-to-day, nitty-gritty details that make things go well or in dealing with major problems or changes." Last year, Millen "implemented the Online Student Schedule Change system for all undergraduates," said Jody Usher, associate dean of the Graduate School. "This process brought students into the technological age, requiring hundreds of e-mail notes and personal conversations. Mr. Millen rose to the occasion."

Charles Scott

Manager, Roads and Grounds Branch, Facilities Management
A "consummate team player," Scott is in charge of approximately 50 employees involved in grounds, streets, moving, staging, construction, landscaping, pest control, waste management, recycling and vehicle maintenance. In the past year, he has researched and implemented two initiatives that will save the University more than $35,000 a year in set-up and take-down costs. He also was instrumental in starting up the FMD-Emory Recycling program from scratch, hiring a recycling coordinating, and assisting the coordinator in designing a comprehensive recycling budget.

Mike Wilhoit

Assistant Director of Network Operations, Information Technology Division.
In an unusual nomination, Wilhoit was endorsed by 42 of his fellow workers in a letter that recognized his leadership in developing Emory's present computer network, "known across the country as one of the finest." His co-workers noted that, "If you go anywhere on campus and ask about Mike Wilhoit, two things will come up in almost every case: the quality of the network and the quality of the person. Of all the people we have had the chance to work with, none can compare to Mike Wilhoit. He has built a "network family" where working is like being at home away from home."

Mary Louise Wright

Administrative Assistant, Yerkes Field Station
One of only three remaining members of the Yerkes staff who relocated from Orange Park, Fla., in 1964, Wright was praised by Yerkes Center Director Tom Insel as "a vast reservoir of information about the Yerkes Field Station and the primates that live there . . . She can coax a reluctant chimpanzee into taking his medication and persuade neglectful mothers to pick up their babies." Described as "dedicated, intelligent, versatile and above all, very well liked and respected," Wright supervises the clerical staff, prepares reports, maintains personnel and budgetary records and prepares manuscripts and grant applications, all the while being "unfailingly cheerful and helpful."

Compiled by Nancy M. Spitler

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