Campus News

Employee Excellence Celebrated an Annual Awards Ceremony

Story posted May 03, 2002

The announcement of a surprise recipient brought the total of Bowdoin employees to seven who were presented with the 2002 Employee Excellence Award.

The first six honored at a reception held April 30 in Morrell Lounge were Anne Clifford, program coordinator for the Women's Studies Program; Mike Cobb, cook; Cynthia Johnson, academic department coordinator for the English department; Ernie Parks, housekeeper; Bridget Raynes, housekeeper; and Peter Russell, AV/computer technician for CIS and the Library.

The seventh "surprise" recipient of the award was Gerald L. Boothby, associate vice president and director of budgets and associate treasurer. Jerry, who created the Employee Excellence Awards a decade ago, will leave Bowdoin shortly for Elizabethtown College. He was honored specially for being, in the words of President Barry Mills, "a beloved figure and an exceptional person."

Another special moment opened the awards ceremony as President Mills paid tribute to Jim Brosnan, longtime Bowdoin housekeeper, who died last December. Working at Bowdoin was Jim's second career. Before coming to the College in 1984 he served 25 years in the Navy as an electronics technician. Jim was known at Bowdoin as a friendly and reliable team player. An avid basketball fan, he will be remembered for his flexibility and for splitting his shift work so that he could both fulfill his regular duties and also care for the basketball court on the days that one of Bowdoin's teams was playing a home game.

President Mills gave special thanks to the Brosnan family for their recent donation to the College of a portable defibrillator. The gift stands as a testament to Jim's and the Brosnans' commitment to the College. Jim's wife, Barbara, and family members were on hand to accept a Bowdoin chair in Jim's honor, "as a small token of our appreciation for the commitment they have shown to the College, and for all of the hard work that Jim gave to the College over the years. We hope that it will serve as a reminder to the family of our gratitude."

President Mills spoke with warmth, gratitude and humor about the Employee Excellence Award recipients. "The level of commitment demonstrated by these individuals is what excellence is all about. And to be viewed as excellent by your colleagues-that's a great honor."

Anne Clifford began as coordinator for the Women's Studies Program at a very busy time, and she is heralded for the dedication and enormous effort she has put into the advancement of the program. Over the past three years she oversaw several exhaustive and complex faculty searches, helping the selection committee search through more than 400 candidates' files. Her well organized, calm, discreet, and resourceful management played an enormous part in Bowdoin's hiring of two nationally known specialists. Among Anne's other activities are working with the Bowdoin Build (the College's Habitat for Humanity project), taking the Hewlett Grant programs under her wing, serving on the Oversight Committee on the Status of Women at Bowdoin, and helping make the Women's Resource Center an inviting place for students, faculty and staff to plan, study, and socialize. President Mills commented on his many tours through the Center with Anne, and her tireless championing of it as a building with much future potential.

Mike Cobb, celebrating 25 years at Bowdoin, is currently a cook at Moulton Union. His personal initiative makes him an invaluable member of the Dining Service staff. He has become a leader in learning the new kitchen management and inventory software system. During its implementation, he would restructure his time and work schedule to meet the project's milestones on time. He personally contacts vendors to ferret out the answers to difficult questions, and volunteers his time to teach others how to use the software. During the annual staff education program, he attended planning meetings, arranged for speakers, and personally delivered introductions. His dedication to Bowdoin is evident in his long history with the College, his continual efforts toward improvement, and his willingness to do more than expected.

As academic department coordinator for the English department, Cynthia Johnson is responsible for one of the College's largest majors, with ten full-time and four part-time faculty members, along with several faculty searches each year. Her organization and efficiency are well respected, and her cheerful, calm and thoughtful nature makes her a favorite among students and colleagues. Her professionalism is appreciated by the whole department, and she often goes above and beyond what is expected, whether it be collecting an off-campus visitor or attending departmental receptions. Cindy is accommodating of the individual needs and styles of faculty members, and her commitment to their research projects is often coupled with her expertise in editing. She has demonstrated initiative with regards to the department Web site, and attends workshops to sharpen her computer skills. Cindy helps make the English department a very special place with the sense of community she creates.

Ernie Parks and Bridget Raynes work as a team and were honored as a team. Around campus they are known as "The Dynamic Duo" as they attend to their housekeeping duties in Hubbard Hall and several department buildings. Though not originally assigned to work together, through their personal initiative they teamed up, and are well known for the proficiency and excellent quality of work. The duo take pride in their quantity of work, and it is well known that if one of them is absent, it takes two or three people to cover their workload. An example of their dedication to the College is their work on the Hubbard Hall stairway. For two weeks, they meticulously removed years of yellow waxy build up with hand-held razor blades, allowing the original color and sheen of the stairs to emerge. They are warmly welcomed into their working environments. They are referred to as a "friendly hurricane" because of the storm of activity, laughter and bantering that follows them as they make their rounds. They are upbeat, conscientious and seemingly inexhaustible, and favorites in their buildings.

Peter Russell has worked at Bowdoin for 17 years. Part of his responsibilities include installing and maintaining the AV equipment in Sills Hall and the Language Media Center. He frequently instructs faculty and staff in using the equipment. Peter's uncommon patience is legendary, undoubtedly well developmed from his years as a junior high school teacher! Often called in during particularly stressful moments when technical glitches occur at the worst of times, he always has a solution, delivered with a solid dose of cheer and goodwill. His colleagues note he is that rare person who is skilled at working with both machines and people. He has worked with many students as an advisor to WBOR, Bowdoin Cable Network, and Film Studies projects. He has left a distinct mark on Bowdoin, designing and building many news systems for the College including the C and Ku-band satellite system, and a closed-circuit system bringing foreign language television signals to campus. He also designed and built the College's cable television infrastructure.

In his remarks about Jerry Boothby, President Mills thanked and commended Jerry for the sense of community he has helped build on campus. He called Jerry a "wonderful, brilliant and creative budget director," but stated that "what is even more important is the way he cares about people on this campus." Many are the hourly employees and administrative staff members with whom he has worked to solve difficult financial challenges over the years. Whether the problem be personal or personnel related, it is usually Jerry who comes to the rescue. His calm manner and low-key style, which usually has him the background, belies a keen understanding of human nature and a great skill in his profession. He loves the College, he loves his work, and he is one of those rare people who cares not about getting credit, but about getting the job done. Jerry's enduring legacy at Bowdoin will be the thanks of the hundreds of individuals he has helped in his quiet and caring way.

« Back | Campus News | Academic Spotlight | | Subscribe to Bowdoin News by Email