Wellesley Celebrates Faculty and Staff Service and Innovation

May 18, 2017
Wellesley's Agent of Innovation Award

Wellesley is deeply grateful to all the faculty and staff members whose talents and innovative ideas enrich the experience of students and the community at large. Recently, dozens of faculty members and administrative and union staff were honored for their service and dedication.

On May 4, President Paula A. Johnson hosted Wellesley’s annual service and recognition celebration. The event, held at the Davis Museum, honored those who are celebrating significant work anniversaries this year, as well as the winners of the first peer-nominated Staff Recognition Awards.  

“I am pleased to be here to celebrate those in the Wellesley community who devote so much to the College, including the many who have given decades of service to advancing Wellesley’s mission and to supporting our students in so many ways,” said Johnson. “But first, I am excited to help inaugurate a new addition to this event: the presentation of two staff awards that recognize inventive, creative, and collaborative ways our staff do their work.” 

Elaine Igo, the advanced instrumentation specialist in the Science Center, received the Agent of Innovation Award. As Johnson explained, Igo’s “colleagues praise her for her ingenuity, persistence, and, among other things, her genius ability to repair, adapt, and upgrade all manner of technology for our students and faculty. ‘She helps to raise the level of scientific innovation at Wellesley,’ one colleague wrote.”

The facilities plumbing team of Paul Mullins, Leslie Pano, Chris Banks, Kyle William Taylor, and Ed Otowchits received the Champions of Collaboration Award for piloting and implementing new mobile technology that allows community members to request service online. The team, in turn, can track work on an iPad, allowing them to streamline their efforts and serve the College more effectively. One colleague wrote that, after the initial training, the team “always came with new ideas and a positive attitude” and were “willing to take on the challenge as a puzzle, not a problem.”

Johnson then congratulated longtime staff and faculty celebrating anniversaries this year—for a total of 2,690 years of service. “That is amazing!” she said. “To each and every one of you, thank you for all that you have done for Wellesley over the years and for everything you do every day. You are an essential part of making Wellesley a safe and supportive home and learning environment for our students. And we are grateful for the many ways you excel and all the ways you add to what is a remarkable and caring community.”

Andrew Shennan, provost and dean of the College, announced the honorees, beginning with Frank Bidart, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and professor of English, and Frederic Schultz, professor of mathematics, who are each celebrating 45 years at the College.

Carolyn Slaboden, assistant vice president of human resources and equal opportunity, said that the Staff Recognition Awards are part of the Whole You initiative the College and the Human Resources Office have introduced over the past two years to increase holistic employee wellness. The next awards will be presented at the Winter Solstice Celebration in December. A call for nominations will be announced in the fall.

“Over time, it is my hope that this award will be recognized by our community members, who will see it proudly displayed in work spaces around campus. I believe it will be a source of conversation between individuals and provide an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the achievements of others,” Slaboden said.

Sarah Willis, event manager in the Office for Special Events, was also honored this month. She received this year’s Alumnae Association Faculty and Staff Service Award.

“Sarah is routinely involved in the planning and implementation of traditional campus events such as convocation, fall and spring Open Campus, the Tanner and Ruhlman conferences, commencement, and reunion,” said Missy Siner Shea ’89, executive director of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association.

Willis was also the go-to person for several truly special events over the past year, including inauguration—when the College hosted approximately 5,000 guests under the tent for the ceremony, as well as multiple celebrations throughout the day; Election Watch Night, when about 3,500 people were hosted in the field house; and the visit of Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69 to campus in March.

Congratulations to all of the winners and honorees, and thank you to every faculty and staff member. Your tireless efforts enrich Wellesley in so many ways.