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Fisher Honors Staff Award Winners


On Tuesday, April 26, over 100 staff members from the St. John Fisher College community attended the Staff Appreciation Ceremony, to honor five staff members for exemplary performance.

Last year, the Staff Recognition Committee unveiled the program which includes five awards: the Freshmen Award, Cardinal Award, Good Samaritan Award, Lifelong Learner Award, and the Students' Choice Award.

The winners of the awards were announced by Dan Borrello '02, a Communication/Journalism graduate who now works as an executive producer and sports director of 96.5 WCMF's "The Break Room."

Freshman Award
Given to the employee who: has been employed for 3 years or fewer; "hit the ground running" – made a positive and immediate impact on the College community; embraces the Fisher spirit; and shows imagination, creativity and innovation.

The winner was Jennifer Gantress, who joined the Biology Department in 2008. She was recognized for the "invaluable experience" she brought to her department and the College. In addition, she was described as "self-directed," and someone who "holds herself to a high standard that includes meeting all her work obligations in a timely manner."

According to her nominator, Gantress did hit the ground running in her first months at Fisher, when she initiated regular meetings with all course program directors to ensure consistent and effective preparation of classes and smooth department operation. She was also recognized for "cordial and productive working relationships with a wide variety of faculty and staff at Fisher and with external constituents."

Gantress is responsible for training and supervising student assistants. In addition, she has written training guidelines for students that help to ensure student safety and to keep the College in compliance with national safety standards.

Cardinal Award
Presented to the employee who: fosters positive attitude; has a Fisher focus; bridges lines across departments; and demonstrates initiative.

The Cardinal Award recipient was Betsy Christiansen, Program Coordinator for the Ed.D. Program. She was described as an "honest broker that all parties trust" and the "go-to person" for the program. She was praised for her consistency, sincerity, attention to detail, and professionalism.

Christiansen was also recognized for her creative problem-solving and organizational skills, as well as her resourcefulness. In addition, her dedication to the students within the program was called "limitless." As her nominators pointed out, "when introducing her to one of our cohorts in class, she often receives heartfelt applause from students, demonstrating their sincere gratitude for her helpfulness and attention to detail."

Externally, she works closely with the Rochester Leadership Academy and Rochester City School District, assists guest lecturers from around the state, and supports executive mentors working with the College's doctoral cohorts.

In the words of her nominators, this individual is "the epitome of the complete Fisher employee, demonstrating the Fisher mission on a daily basis through her positive, collaborative, and proactive working style." She "demonstrates, on a daily basis, her professionalism, dedication, and collaborative spirit with all those with whom she comes in contact at St. John Fisher College."

Good Samaritan Award
Recognizes an employee who: gives of their own time to make a difference in others' lives; provides outreach to the Fisher community or the greater community; leads by example; reaches out to others to join in the effort; and serves as a natural way of living and not out of obligation.

The award was presented to Dale Stoker, Assistant Director of the Fisher Fund. He was described by his nominators as kind and considerate, and always willing to offer a helping hand to everyone. He was also credited with increasing his department's productivity through his ideas and initiatives, particularly in reference to his supervising and mentoring of students as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Stoker's involvement with the Teddi Dance, when he was a student and now as an alum and employee, was highlighted in his nomination. In addition, he has participated in the recruitment of potential service scholars, and was recognized for his passion for and commitment to both programs.

He was also recognized for his participation as a chaperone in three Fisher student community service trips, two to Washington, DC, and one to Kingston, Jamaica. It was noted that Stoker used vacation time for these trips, and that his hours of service impacted the children of Washington and the children of Kingston.

Stoker's involvement off campus with Foodlink and a variety of charity races including the Rochester Marathon was also applauded at the event.

Lifelong Learner
Given to an employee who: continually seeks further education, networking opportunities or professional development to enhance his or her own position; brings back the knowledge gained to enhance the performance of the department.

Carol Ziegler, Assistant to the Dean in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, received the award for her time management, critical thinking skills, and informed judgment. Her loyalty, integrity, trustworthiness, and confidentiality were also highlighted.

She was honored for her efforts to attain her Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership and Human Resource Development, all while keeping ahead of the demands of her job. It was noted that through her continued education and insight, she has suggested and implemented new strategies that have enhanced the operations of the department.

Her nominator also indicated, "The degree was certainly not a requirement of her job, but her abilities stretched her far beyond her job title, so seeking further professional development engaged her mind and talents in ways that immediately raised her leadership in this organization. She took all of this upon herself, but the entire School of Education has benefitted from her professional development."

At the end of the ceremony, the committee introduced the surprise Basilian Award. The Basilian Award is an award for which a candidate from the nomination process is selected. The award was developed to recognize an employee whose hard work, efforts and achievements, as outlined in the nomination form, may have surpassed the criteria of the other awards. Each year, the committee determines when and if this award will be given, based on the nominations that are submitted. The Basilian Award is given to a nominee who: works to make St. John Fisher College a better place by being genuine, creative and enthusiastic; lives by the mission of the College; maintains a high level of performance by being self-motivated and does the job well all the time; and has a student-first mentality by reaching out to and being an advocate for the student.

The winner was Brian Shaffer, HVAC Technician, from the Facilities Department. He was noted as someone who takes his job here at Fisher very seriously. His nominator said, "He is always willing to work the job until it is complete, no matter the time. He is a resource for his peers, even when he is home on the weekends. He not only does his own job well, but is always willing to assist his peers with their projects as well. He is polite, friendly and calm, no matter how big or stressful the situation, and he is excellent at using his wonderful sense of humor to diffuse some of those stressful times."

Shaffer was recognized for all of his volunteerism efforts, which include many active roles in his church, and serving as a youth soccer coach for 17 years. He is also involved in a Community Dinner program, and has worked on grant writing and fundraising projects for a homework assistance program in his hometown.

On campus, he can be seen assisting our students with the annual Teddi Dance for Love, as well as other functions hosted by faculty, staff, and students.

The additional nominees who received honorable mention were:
-Jeffrey Fredericks, Senior System Administrator, OIT
-Kevin Johnson, Director of Poster and Sign Studio, Auxiliary Operations
-David Roberts, Associate Director of Freshman Admissions
-Kate Torok, Senior Communication Specialist
-Laurie Valentino, Assistant Director of the Career Center

Staff Recognition

Back Row L to R: Betsy Christiansen, Laurie Valentino, Kate Torok, Dave Roberts, Kevin Johnson, Jeffrey Fredericks, Brian Shaffer.

Front Row L to R: Jennifer Gantress, Carol Ziegler, Dale Stoker.

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