Campus News

Seven Staff Retirees Recently Honored

Story posted August 03, 2004

Seven Bowdoin employees who have recently retired from the College were honored at this summer's second annual Polar Awards ceremony. Following are some of the remarks friends and colleagues made about retirees Gerlinde Rickel, Clive Douglas, Gail Berneike, Don Bernier, Elsa Martz, Beverly Reynolds, and Theresa Bernier.

Gerlinde Rickel, Academic Department Coordinator, Philosophy and Latin American Studies
Polar Award Ceremony Presenters: Denis Corish and Allen Wells

Gerlinde Rickel of Topsham was hired in August 1980 to serve as the Academic Department Secretary for Religion and Philosophy. Over the years her departmental chairs have run out of superlatives to describe her performance - "...dependable, cooperative, someone who takes responsibly imaginative initiative...." Ten years ago, Denis Corish commented that Gerlinde was "...indispensable and an unfailing source of sensible advice and sympathy for both faculty and students." During her tenure at Bowdoin, she has served as departmental coordinator for Film Studies and the Latin American Studies program, lent a hand to The Writing Project, and has been a member of the Budget Committee and Children's Center Committee. Her apple pies are legendary, her knitting exquisite and her heart huge.

Clive Douglas, Preventative Maintenance Technician, Facilities Management
Polar Award Ceremony Presenters: Tim Carr and Joyce Whittemore

Clive Douglas of South Harpswell was selected to fill the position of Boiler Operator in January 1987. As his responsibilities grew, his title was changed to Heating Plant Engineer. When five independent shops were consolidated into a single area, Clive stepped up as Mechanical Services Coordinator. In 1995, Clive transferred to the newly created position of Preventative Maintenance Technician and he was recognized for "...his ability and willingness to adapt to change, work well with others, and contribute as a team player." Facilities Management is reluctant to let this very valued member of the department step down. In the enthusiastic words of his supervisor, Clive has just been a "great person to work with!"

Gail Berneike, Coordinator, and Don Bernier, Coordinator/Chef, Breckinridge Center
Polar Award Ceremony Presenter: Bill Torrey

The husband-and-wife team of Gail Berneike and Donald Bernier of Great Barrington, Mass., accepted a joint appointment as Resident Manager/Chef at the Bowdoin College Breckinridge Public Affairs Center in York, Maine, in 1988. This talented couple managed the budget, marketing, coordination of meeting details, planning and preparing meals for guests, supervising staff, and overseeing property management - all with graciousness and good humor. Their affection and pride for the Patterson/Breckinridge/Goodrich family home (also known as River House) showed in their care and the enthusiastic quality of service they provided guests for 15 years. They assumed "personal responsibility for the history and character of Breckinridge and became not only overseers of the property, but in a real sense, part of the place." While some at the College may not have had the opportunity to meet these two valued employees, if you've ever been to Breckinridge Center you'll never forget them and the wonderful work they did.

Elsa Martz, Academic Department Coordinator, Physics and Astronomy
Polar Award Ceremony Presenters: Dale Syphers and Steve Naculich

In applying for a position at the College in 1989, Elsa Martz of Harpswell remarked that her strengths included "...organizing, attending to detail, following up, and thinking creatively to find resources or solve problems." Little did she realize that she would be using these skills on a daily basis in the Department of Physics for the next 15 years. During her career she has garnered kudos for her outstanding work as well as her interactions with students and the general public. It is rumored that her department could never have carried out the move from Searles Hall during an academic year without her extraordinary organization and planning. She served as Advisor to the Student Volunteer Programs in 1994 and as a member on various campus committees. She is an accomplished photographer, community activist and habitat restoration advocate. With her retirement, the Physics Department will never be the same!

Beverly Reynolds, Secretary, Alumni and Development Operations
Polar Award Ceremony Presenters: Julie Shields and Bill Torrey

In 1980, Beverly Reynolds of Durham heard that there might be a position at Bowdoin involving some typing work. She sent in an application and was hired in 1981 as a secretary in the Alumni Office. She assisted Robert Cross, Secretary of the College, and he noted that "...she is one of the best typists who has ever worked for me in 39 years, both in respect to the volume of work she turns out and in respect to the quality of that work. Each year she types more than 10,000 letters, obituary accounts - cheerfully, willingly, accurately, and rapidly." Ten thousand letters! With computers and printers and mail merge that may not sound daunting, but Beverly was working with an IBM Selectric and carbon paper. While working for Harry Warren, Bev continued to pump out a "high volume of work in a conscientious and industrious way." After a stint in Alumni Relations, Bev accepted a position as secretary in Alumni and Development Operations, handling massive numbers of routine and special-situation letters. Throughout her professional career at Bowdoin, "Bev's remarkable inner strength has helped her maintain her good humor and a forward-thinking, positive outlook." She'll be one of those retirees who will be so busy in retirement, she won't know how she ever had time to work!

Theresa Bernier, Administrative Secretary, Student Aid
Polar Award Ceremony Presenters: Steve Joyce and Pam Labbe

As part of the acknowledgement of this year's longest tenured retiree - 41 years at Bowdoin! - the presenters offered a look back at what was happening in the world the year Theresa Bernier was hired. It was 1963. President Kennedy was assassinated; the first artificial heart was implanted in a human by Michael DeBakey; Lawrence of Arabia took home the Oscar; the Emmys went to "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Defenders"; and the year's big song was "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett. At Bowdoin, Bo Diddley gave a concert and Hal Holbrook performed Mark Twain. The College installed a color TV in the Moulton Union Lounge so the campus could watch its student team appear on "College Bowl." A first-class stamp cost 5 cents.

Speaking of first class, Theresa Bernier of Brunswick was hired that year as a temporary clerk for Grounds and Buildings. Almost immediately, she transferred to become a Receptionist in Admissions and from there, slid over into Student Aid. In 1967 Hubert Shaw, Director of Admissions at the time, commended Theresa for "her loyalty, discretion, and integrity." Twenty-seven years later, we gather to honor these same traits - her loyalty, discretion, and integrity. Besides her administrative office proficiencies, Terry is a warm, sensitive colleague who has "...listened well and counseled effectively." In 1993, she was honored as one of the College's Employees of the Year for her outstanding work as Administrative Secretary in the Student Aid office.

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