Six Retiring Employees Honored by Colleagues
Story posted July 07, 2003
Six employees who have recently retired from the College were honored at Bowdoin's Polar Awards last month. For those who missed the ceremony, here are some of the remarks friends and colleagues made about the retirees.
Administrative Secretary, Dean of Student Affairs
Presenters: Allyson Algeo and Wil Smith
“Julie started her career at Bowdoin in December 1976 as a secretary in the Student Aid office. In 1977 she became a clerk-typist in Admissions and was noted for her ‘excellent, warm and conscientious ways,’ and her technical skills as a secretary. In 1991 a supervisory colleague wrote, ‘If you have the opportunity to hire Julie, you will always thank yourself. You will wonder how your office survived without her. Not only will you appreciate her outstanding job skills, you will cherish her friendly disposition and her sense of humor.’
“In 1996 Julie brought her considerable talent, experience and good cheer to the Student Affairs office where she was wonderful with the students and an invaluable contributor to the office.
“Julie was unable to be here with us today. We accept this recognition on her behalf and thank her for her twenty-five wonderful years of service to the College. We wish her the best in the future.”
Telephone Console Operator/Switch Board
Presenters: Larry O'Toole and Tenley Meara
“The voice of Bowdoin for 27 years.
“With five years of experience at New England Telephone on her resume, Pat Grover came to Bowdoin in June of 1976 to become a part-time switchboard operator at Moulton Union. In 1983 her position became full time. Her record of customer satisfaction and her faithful, concerned, and courteous attitude were of note year after year.
“In 1992, the switchboard office was moved from Moulton Union to Coles Tower. Technology changed, but Pat's bright, articulate customer service and communication skills were unwavering. She continued to be cited for her outstanding job working with the public, her conscientiousness, and her reliability. In 1994, she was nominated for and enthusiastically awarded Bowdoin's Employee Excellence Award.
“A faculty member, Penny Martin, wrote these words about Pat several years ago. With her permission, we'd like to share them with you now: ‘It is not difficult to feel isolated and alienated at Bowdoin. That Pat Grover holds her particular position is telling -- she, indeed, is one of those rare individuals on campus who ties us all together and enables us to meet on equal grounds. I have met students, staff, and even other faculty members through Pat's thoughtfulness and generosity, and I have witnessed members of each group go to her for help and advice, and just plain cheer. Indeed, I have even asked Pat to "watch over" students who I know are in need of human warmth and connection. Many of us claim to "speak" for Bowdoin; Pat literally does, and I cannot think of another "voice" I would rather have representing me and my institution to the outside world.’
“Pat's work ethic, dedication and pride, coupled with her reliability, integrity and empathy are the qualities that enabled her to continue for almost 27 years as one of the finest assets Bowdoin College could present to its visitors, students and employees. We will miss all of these qualities as well as your vibrant sense of style and the annual display of your antique Valentine collection. It is our privilege to honor you today, Pat, for all of your wonderful years of service to Bowdoin.”
Associate Special Collections Curator Emeritus
Presenters: Judy Montgomery and Sue O'Dell
“Dianne Gutscher began her career at Bowdoin nearly thirty years ago when she was hired as a full time Library Clerk. In 1978 she was promoted to Special Collections Assistant and in 1980 assumed responsibility for the department and its collections. Her curatorship witnessed substantial changes in managing and developing the Library’s rare book and manuscript collections. Dianne was instrumental in writing the NHPRC grant that led to the formal establishment of the College Archives and first to recommend that we approach Senator George Mitchell to obtain his papers.
“Throughout her tenure at Bowdoin, Dianne has been active in many professional organizations related to Archives and Special Collections -- at the state, regional and national levels.
“Above all, Dianne earned a well-deserved reputation for her detailed knowledge of the collections and college history. Over the years, she has been cited for her unfailing consideration for her colleagues, library patrons, and scholars using the resources of Special Collections and Archives. Her devotion to serving researchers’ needs sets a high standard that remains her greatest legacy and we are honored to acknowledge her contributions to the College and her service to the broader research community.
“To her colleagues in the Library, Dianne brought a wonderfully wacky sense of humor, an enthusiasm for her work and an insatiable curiosity. She is a storehouse of knowledge on every topic imaginable. You may not know it, but Dianne has a special interest in the ancient world and recently explored archeological sites in Egypt during a trip down the Nile.
“We are most pleased to honor you today, Dianne, for all of your wonderful years of service.”
Coach in the Department of Athletics Emeritus
Presenters: David Caputi and John Cullen
Accepting on Phil’s behalf was Tom McCabe
“Philip Soule arrived at Bowdoin College in August of 1967 to become the Assistant Coach of Football and the Coach of Wrestling. For thirty-five years he has been a dedicated and loyal member of the coaching staff, committed to his students and his sport. He will always be remembered for his enthusiasm and passion in his work with students. Although Phil was a longtime employee of the College, he never rested on his laurels and has always remained positive and receptive to new ideas.”
John Cullen said that if there is one thing that stands out about Phil it is “his enthusiasm for everything. He coached every game as if it were a championship final. He paddled every race like it was a national championship. Any job, great or small, was just the most important thing on Phil’s agenda at that moment. All this energy, and his pride in the state of Maine, are the two most enduring qualities that I associate with Phil.”
Evening Switch Board Operator
Presenters: Patrick Jensen and Jennifer Snow
“Madeline A. Turcotte, was known on campus simply as ‘Alice.’ She began her career at Bowdoin in 1987 when she was hired to be a switchboard operator in the Moulton Union. The majority of us who work during the day never saw Alice around campus or even had the chance to meet her since she was the evening switchboard operator. Alice was always cheerful, upbeat, and friendly and she was noted for her telephonic congeniality and helpfulness to students, parents, and guests alike. Supervisors and colleagues felt that her ‘gregariousness and professionalism exemplified the personal touch needed at Bowdoin,’ and her ‘effective blend of humor, empathy, and knowledge’ will surely be missed. We wish the best to Alice as she enters retirement!
“Alice is unable to be here with us today. We accept this recognition on her behalf and thank her again for her many wonderful years of service to the College.”
Secretary, Communications & Public Affairs
Presenters: Peggy Schick Luke and Sara Lewis
“Joan's employment at Bowdoin College began in September 1965 when she took the position of secretary to Don Lancaster, director of Moulton Union and Centralized Dining Service. In July 1969 she moved to the Centralized Dining Service Office, again working as secretary. She remained in that position until 1973. She returned to Bowdoin in September 1985 working as secretary and receptionist with the departments which evolved from News Service, to Public Relations and Publications, to College Relations, and finally to the Office of Communications & Public Affairs. Joan's dedication, reliability, institutional knowledge, and good humor are well known by all.”
The following letter by Scott Hood in honor of Joan was read:
"Joan Viles has been a familiar face in the Office of Communications for so long, that it's still odd for all of us to know that she has retired. I think Bill Torrey is among those who misses Joan most.
"Bill was frequently heard to say how much he appreciated Joan's dedication and ingenuity. What Bill actually liked best was the certain knowledge that he could count on Joan to find me, no matter the time of day or where I was. She was our version of the legendary White House operators who could find anyone, anytime. All it took was a call from Bill, and Joan would snap into action. Within moments, my pager would go off and my cell phone would ring. 'Call Torrey!!' would be Joan's electronic demand. It didn't matter if I was in another meeting, walking across campus, or in the shower at home. And then, once I had returned to the office, I would be confronted by a breathless Joan Viles -- not to mention her Post-it Notes stuck to my computer monitor -- seeking assurance that I had not let her down by ignoring Bill's call.
"Joan also had a way of intimidating me. As someone who is frequently running from place to place on and off campus, I have been know to dash out the door only to realize that I had forgotten my car keys. The first time I did that 14 years ago, the response from Joan as I rushed back in the door was: ‘Well...THAT was a short meeting.’ The 100th time I did it -- and every time in between -- I heard the exact same thing. It got to the point where I would sneak around and pound on someone's window, rather than endure the embarrassment of passing Joan's desk as the absent-minded PR director.
"Three months after her departure, we are only now coming to realize how many things Joan took care of in the Office of Communications. Every day, it seems, I learn about another task that Joan did for us in a quiet and efficient way. She was a big help to all of us -- including Bill Torrey -- and we are glad to honor her here today. I think we'll really miss Joan most on Halloween -- the day every year when each of us arriving at work could count on greeting the black witch, complete with pointed hat and broomstick, sitting quietly working at our office reception desk. Joan's playfulness and matter-of-fact nature was a fun part of working where we do. And while we don't have her around nowadays, I'm told that we can expect a visit from the Wicked Witch of East Brunswick next Halloween.”
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