Campus News

Polar Awards Ceremony Offers Glitz, Glamour, and Surprise Award Winners

Story posted June 13, 2003

It was billed as being like the Emmys, Tonys, Grammys and Oscars...but BETTER, and Bowdoin's Polar Awards ceremony, held June 12, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavil...that is, Thorne Hall (elegantly decorated in gold, black and white) lived up to the hype.

Emcee duties were skillfully, and often hilariously, handled by the chicly dressed and bejeweled Lueree Horton and "Mr. Armani" Tad Macy, who announced that Bowdoin's usual spring recognition events were being combined into one fabulous occasion of fun and celebration, complete with "highly guarded names of winners."

Strolling the red carpet were Bowdoin staff and faculty decked out in formal gowns, stiletto heels, tuxes, shorts, tee shirts, sneakers - some tried to dodge the flashbulbs of the paparazzi, others posed with an eye toward next week's People magazine cover. Star wattage spotted among the crowd included Marilyn Monroe (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Joyce Mayer in the right light) and Steve Martin (Facilities Management asked him not to host this year for fear he'd find a permanent gig).

Shockingly, a streaker had the audacity to disrupt the ceremony, boldly dashing across the stage, his "embarrassment" covered with a Bowdoin banner. However, there were no Michael Moore or Vanessa Redgrave fireworks, as presenters and winners kept their political opinions bottled up for the day.

"Thank you all for coming today to honor the contributions of employees celebrating milestone years of service, employees who have retired in the last year, and the singular excellence of five employees who have demonstrated outstanding commitment, leadership, teamwork, and customer service," said Pres. Barry Mills in his welcome to the standing-room-only audience. "Today is an important day because we not only honor these particular employees, but we recognize that their service is representative of the daily contributions of all employees at Bowdoin, all of YOU!"

Of particular excitement throughout the ceremony was the presentation of the five coveted Polar Star Awards. Each spring for the last decade, employees, faculty and students nominated staff members for employee excellence awards. This year nominations from across campus were accepted in five separate categories of excellence: commitment, leadership, customer service, teamwork, and above and beyond. One-hundred-and-one nominations were received over a three-week period. Winners were not chosen by the sheer number of nominations, but by the examples of excellence and the sincerity with which the nominations were presented.

The names of all the winners were kept secret until the envelopes were opened at the ceremony. Nigel Bearman - who claims not to work for Arthur Andersen or Martha Stewart - vouched for the integrity of the vote tabulation, and swore the results have been kept under lock and key (in a pretty holey briefcase).

Winners were presented with a specially designed statuette created by Orr's Island artist Brad McFadden - a polar bear clutching a gold star, to symbolize employee excellence at Bowdoin. A four-minute film documenting the casting of the statuettes preceded the presentations.

And the Polar Star Award winners are...!

Customer Service
Presenters: Katy Longley and Mark Schmitz
To the employee who unfailingly provides great service with a smile day after day.

Janet Ridley, Campus Services

Commitment
Presenters: Mary Hunter and Jim McCalla
To the employee who always does what it takes to get the job done with determination and a strong sense of duty.

Linda Marquis, Music Department

Teamwork
Presenters: Patty Silevinac and Sue Danforth
To the employee who is the consummate team player, whose enthusiasm is contagious and infectious.

Cindy Bessmer, Human Resources

Above and Beyond
Presenters: Beth Stemmler and Jeff Nagle
To the employee who is an "unsung hero" and always strives for excellence.

Judy Foster, Chemistry Department

Leadership
Presenters: Margaret Hazlett and Craig Bradley
To the employee who steps up to the plate, anticipates needs, and makes sure the job gets done.

Tim Foster, Dean of Student Affairs Office

A ceremony like the Polar Awards could not be pulled off without the hard work of many. In his closing remarks, Pres. Mills acknowledged the excellent job done by the Polar Award committee, Dining Service, Facilities Management, and Audio Visual.

Mills also delighted the crowd by announcing that two additional holidays have been added to the 2003-04 College Calendar. This year, employees have the day off on July 3 (the day before Independence Day) and November 26 (the day before Thanksgiving).

Tune in to E! some time this month for Joan and Melissa Rivers' "Polar Fashion Round-Up" to find out who makes the Best and Worst Dressed lists. (Program may not be broadcast in your area.)

(Please see the separate Sun stories on retirees and employees honored for years of service. These stories will be posted as full information becomes available.)

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