Campus News

Polar Awards Celebrate Bowdoin Employees

Story posted June 23, 2004

Bowdoin employees were celebrated and acknowledged at a gala afternoon event June 16, as the College held the second annual Polar Awards ceremony. Thorne Hall, elegantly decorated in black, white, and gold, once again served as the backdrop of this eagerly awaited midcoast Maine version of the Academy Awards.

The fast-paced ceremony (clocking in at about three hours shorter than your typical Oscar night) included acknowledgement of seven employees who are retiring this year, and 127 employees who have reached milestone years of service (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 25+).

Excitement was running high for the presentation of the five coveted Polar Star Awards, recognizing administrative and support staff for excellence and contributions to the "common good." The names of the winners were kept secret until the envelopes were opened at the ceremony.

In his welcoming remarks President Barry Mills said, "We are recognizing these employees today, but we know, as an institution, that the work of these employees is representative of the daily contributions of all employees at Bowdoin. Bowdoin is a special place for many reasons but certainly its employees are one of the major reasons, and we thank you!"

Ceremony arrivals were captured by a live Webcam and broadcast inside, as staff and faculty strolled the red carpet - Bowdoin's own Hollywood Walk of Fame, adorned with gold stars and the names of last year's Polar Star Award winners. The paparazzi were on the prowl and flashbulbs popped, while employees relaxed and mingled with their colleagues over sumptuous refreshments provided by Dining Service.

Invited back to handle emcee duties (their record is already better than Letterman's) were the chic-in-pink Lueree Horgan and elegantly tuxed Tad Macy, who promised plenty of fun and surprises throughout the afternoon.

Indeed, Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett O'Hara, and Obi Wan Kenobi all showed up to help honor "the people who work for and care about Bowdoin." Many employees were lucky enough to find themselves the recipients of such varied door prizes as gift certificates from Home Depot, Sears, and the Great Impasta, as well as Sea Dogs tickets, gasoline coupons, and hats and tee shirts.

Nominations for the Polar Star Awards had been submitted from across campus and were accepted in the categories of customer service, leadership, innovation, commitment, and teamwork. Seventy-six nominations were received, and all nominees' names were prominently displayed in the Thorne hallway. 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 honorees 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. (The four-minute film documenting the casting of the statuettes was replayed during the ceremony.)

And the Polar Star Awards went to...!

Customer Service
Presenters: Nancy Riley and Scott MacEachern
To the employee who unfailingly provides great service with a smile day after day.
Guy Saldanha, Interlibrary Loan Supervisor

Leadership
Presenters: Mary Lou Kennedy and Lisa Fox
To the employee who steps up and demonstrates a "take charge" attitude, anticipates needs, and makes sure the job gets done.
David Crooker, Head Chef

Innovation
Presenters: Karl Fattig and Tama Spoerri
To the employee who generates and/or facilitates ideas or suggestions to make Bowdoin a better place, and always strives for excellence.
Kristin Steinman, Human Resources Representative

Commitment
Presenters: Scott Meiklejohn and Roberta Davis
To the employee who always does what it takes to get the job done with determination and a strong sense of duty.
Del Wilson, Director of Facilities Administration

Teamwork
Presenters: Gail Stankiewicz and Jim Miller
To the employee who is the consummate team player, the person whose enthusiasm helps rally and support others.
Yvette Lloyd, Administrative Secretary, Admissions

A special Polar Star Award was presented to Mary Lou Kennedy, Director of Dining and Bookstore Services. Earlier this month at Reunion, Kennedy had been honored by the Bowdoin Alumni Council with the Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff. Since most staff did not have the opportunity attend that presentation, Kennedy's award was acknowledged again during the Polar ceremony. Director of Alumni Relations Kevin Wesley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Katy Longley made the presentation.

A ceremony like the Polar Awards could not be pulled off without the hard work of many. In his closing remarks, President Mills acknowledged the excellent job done by the Polar Award committee, Dining Service, Facilities Management, Audio Visual, and the Events Office. He also offered special thanks to artist Brad McFadden, to Sarah Morgan for her creativity in the video productions, and to all those who served as presenters.

"To all the Polar Star winners, retirees, and service award recipients - my congratulations, best wishes and thanks for your dedication and hard work," President Mills concluded.

Since fashion critics Joan and Melissa Rivers were barred from the ceremony, E! will not run their special "Polar Fashion Round-Up" this year. However, you can check out ceremony highlights and the gamut of fashions spied on the red carpet (from tuxes to tee-shirts, from stilettos to sneakers, and a variety of gowns and jewels) by clicking here for the Polar Star Slide Show. Thanks go out to photographers Joyce Whittemore, Mike McDermott, Guy Saldanha and Cindy Bessmer.

(News stories on retirees and employees honored for years of service will be posted separately on the Sun/News Gateway. Click here for the story on years of service. A story on retirees will be posted soon. Please check the Sun front page for updates.)

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