Norwich staff recognized for years of service

staff_recognitionNorwich is well-known for its emphasis on service, and that is taken seriously not just by students.
Those who are employed by Norwich also keep close the guiding values, which are a part of each and every staff member, according to the administrative assistant at College of Graduate and Continuing Study (CGCS), Jesse Drown.

That was evident as Norwich University honored staff members on Wednesday, March 25, at Plumley armory on campus. The celebration honored staff members reaching benchmark years of service, retirees and the announcement of the 2015 Kathleen (Kay) Bowen Award winners – one of the highest honors a Norwich employee can receive (the second being the Meritorious Service Award.)
“The Bowen award is a way to recognize staff members for dedication, spirit and a caring attitude above and beyond normal duties. Folks that bring a spirit and passion to their job and the people around them, be those students or other faculty/staff members,” Drown said.
The award is given annually to three employees in three separate categories: Service, administrative support and manager/senior professional or administrator/professional.
The 2015 winners of the Bowen award, who were nominated by their peers, were Jean Larocque for administrative support; Beth Bowles for manager/senior professional, and Dan Carroll for administrator/professional.
To this day the actions and values of Bowen echo in the halls of Norwich. The Bowen award was started in 1999, according to Joseph E. Byrne, associate vice president for academic affairs. Past winners are displayed on a plaque on the wall across from HR, outside the Galloway Room in Jackman Hall.
“We have been doing these awards since 1999. I chair the selection committee and this year’s members were Tom Vibrin, Tom Carter, Jessie Drown, Ellen Liptak, Steve Hull, Meghan Oliver and Kelly Driscoll-Smith,” said Bryne. The members are the Bowen recipients from the prior two years and a representative from the Staff Council, according to Byrne.
“Kay dedicated her life to helping students and being a kind and caring influence on them. Bringing that level of service to your job is so meaningful and creates an atmosphere of support and compassion that benefits everyone,” Drown said.
“It is one thing to do your job and do it well; it is another to go above and beyond to spread joy and kindness to those around you,” said Drown. “An employee like this will brighten the day of a student who has had a rough semester, will change the outlook of a staff member who is feeling blue, will lift spirits of anyone they interact with.”
“As students navigate what can often be stressful times. It can make all the difference to work with kind and compassionate people who are looking out for your best interests,” Drown said.
Before the three were honored in the highlight of the evening, Norwich recognized those who have and continue to serve the university community as they reached five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 plus years of service.
What proved to be an impressive display of dedication to Norwich was the announcement of retirees who have given more than 120 combined years of service to the school.
Service can be exemplified by the Associate Director of Sports Information Charlie Crosby, who has over 50 years of association with Norwich as a student and employee.
The Director of Sports Information, Derek Dunning, addressed Crosby’s dedication to Norwich in his farewell speech to Crosby, who is retiring.
“Charlie has always been an advocate for the students. The number of students he has helped or guided in a time of need during his tenure here in various capacities would fill this room,” shared Dunning.
Dunning highlighted Crosby’s history and some personal background and service to Norwich even while he was fighting a difficult illness.
“Despite battling leukemia for the last 14 years, Charlie has been a staple at Norwich Athletic events interacting with the student athletes, alumni, parents, fans and coaches,” according to Dunning.
“He’s been an athlete, a coach, an administrator, an NU athletic hall of fame inductee, but always at heart a die-hard fan of Norwich athletic programs,” Dunning said.
Retiring from facilities operations is Hollis “Rick” Ricker whose “family” values of work ethics and dedication will surely be missed, according to Bizhan Yahyazadeh, director of facilities operations and conference services.
“He is old school. He is a very hard worker and he never brings any attention to himself,” said Yahyazadeh. “He is dedicated, intelligent, honest, and hardworking and very loyal to Norwich University. I strongly believe dedication runs in the Ricker family.”
The Ricker family has created its own legacy at Norwich with “187 years of service and loyalty and dedication to Norwich University,” Yahyazadeh said.
William Barnard, a biology professor for 41 years, was praised by Karen Hinkle, associate professor of biology. Hinkle spoke about how Barnard’s randomness, along with his enthusiasm, will be sorely missed.
“While this is bittersweet for me, and it’s bittersweet for the biology department and for Norwich University, it’s wonderful to know that Bill has had such a tremendous impact on our students, our faculty, our department and the university. What a legacy,” Hinkle said.
As part of a transformation in the technology field, Peter Stephenson has been a trailblazer at Norwich as he helped Norwich students become the only college students to work on 2016 Superbowl computer security, according to Aaron Tempkin, dean of the college of professional studies.
Stephenson, an associate professor for Computer Information Systems (CIS), will also be leaving the Norwich family and was honored by Tempkin in a farewell address.
“It’s been my pleasure to learn of his work and his accomplishments and to see the seemingly boundless momentum that he puts behind his many efforts. Peter is often seeking the edges and reaching the boundaries,” said Tempkin. “He is an entrepreneur and trailblazer, and occasionally, a steamroller.”
Under his tutelage the CIS degree and millions of dollars of technology have become available for not only the university but for student growth in the field, stated Tempkin.
“Without Peter there would not be a program of the quality and caliber that exists at Norwich,” said Tempkin. “His tireless efforts to connect with the students and improve the reputation of the school have been instrumental.”
A walk through the bookstore would not be complete without the warm smiling face of Mary Freeman, according to Dave Magida, chief administrative officer.
Freeman roamed the aisles of the bookstore for 22 years, ensuring that students not only received supplies they needed but a friendly face at an institution as rigorous as Norwich, stated Magida.
“Your service to the community has been the type of service that is so appreciated and will be so missed,” said Magida. “You seized the opportunity to help set up the bookstore as a place where customers, especially students, and especially the rooks, can find assistance, a smile, and a friendly comment to help ease the stress of their lives.”
Altogether retirees from Norwich during the last year amassed over 150 years of service to the University during their tenures. It is dedication which students can look to as inspiration for their own future.
President Schneider presented a certificate and a check for $2,000 to the three winners of the Bowen Award and closed the event with this message for the Norwich staff: “Many know that you make a profound difference in the lives of students but I think you also recognize that we make a profound impact in each other’s lives. So enjoy the time. Norwich Forever!”

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