Campus News

Five Retiring Staff Members Honored at 2005 Polar Awards

Story posted June 16, 2005

Related stories:
2005 Polar Awards Celebrate Bowdoin Employees
Employees Recognized for Milestone Years of Service

Five staff retirees -- with a combined 120 years of service to the College -- were honored at Bowdoin's 2005 Polar Award Ceremony June 15.

"All That Jazz" was the theme of the celebration, and as Director of Human Resources Tama Spoerri said, "Music starts with five parallel lines called the staff. And almost all musical notation requires that ongoing backbone, that staff, on which to indicate the key, the beat, the timing of the notes themselves. These employees who have retired in the last year are the staff -- the foundation -- on which this College operates."

Lucille Raymond, Donna Conrad, Peter Russell, Charles Morneau, and Pamalee Labbe were the honorees. Colleagues provided the following reminiscences, which were read at the ceremony, to honor them.

Lucille Raymond, Dining Service, Thorne Hall.

Lucille Raymond
Lucille Raymond was interested in any kind of café work when she applied for a position in the fall of 1989. She was hired, and rapidly moved from Dining Service Aide to Production Assistant where she was commended for her teamwork, cooperation and flexibility. Her dependability was legend - in 1994, she missed only six hours of scheduled work in an entire year.

Her colleagues are quick to point out that Lucille was self-motivated. She cared about her work and it showed every day. If you needed a hug, Lucille was the person to see! She managed the deli area in Thorne Hall meticulously. Throughout her 15-year career, Lu was always smiling, always willing, always professional.

Donna Conrad, Dining Service, Thorne Hall.

Donna Conrad
Donna Conrad began her 20-year career at Bowdoin as a Dining Service Aide in 1985. She was promoted to Grill Cook and then Crew Leader in 1989. Her colleagues have always recognized her as capable, congenial, and conscientious. She has demonstrated "great imagination and creativity" and has been a wonderful presence at special functions. Most recently, Donna served as Salad Department Production Coordinator at Thorne Hall. During the busiest times of the day, Donna was responsible for stocking and staffing three of the students' most important menu groups: salads, beverages, and desserts.

Behind the scenes, her colleagues will always remember Donna for her legendary Jello molds. And due to Donna's expert driving at a recent Commencement, arrangements have been made to install airbags into all of the golf carts used by Dining Service. Her positive, forward-looking attitude and outstanding dependability in the Dining Service will be missed.

Peter Russell
Peter Russell started his Bowdoin career in 1985 as a part-time audio-visual technician. His tasks were varied, but he seemed to take great pleasure in resurrecting old or damaged equipment and making it functional. His skills and creativity were key in the successes of the Language Media Center, Electronic Film Program, and WBOR student radio station.

In 1990 he assumed additional duties -- the care and maintenance of certain types of College-owned computer equipment. He saved the College untold thousands of dollars by being able to combine, reuse, recycle or just cannibalize equipment to serve a new function, rather than having to purchase new items.

Peter was the recipient of an Employee Excellence Award in 2002. His consistent diligence, knowledge and generosity made him a valuable asset not only to the Library and Informational Technology departments, but to the students, faculty and staff and College as a whole. We will miss his technical expertise, but know that in his retirement in Florida, he will volunteer at a local access cable station or soup up an old Apple IIe for a good cause.

Charles Morneau
Charles Morneau came to Bowdoin in July of 1980 as a baker -- one of the behind-the-scenes creators of Dining Service's delicious breads and muffins. Throughout his career he has been dependable, conscientious and diligent in lending a hand wherever he was needed. Over the last 10 years as the kitchens have been reorganized, Charles showed his versatility assuming varied duties as assistant cook, production assistant in the salad department, and occasionally as checker.

When Charles was addressed by his Dining Service colleagues as "Charles," he often would remind them, "I like to be called Mister Wonderful!" If he knew you very well he might say, "You don't have to say Mister, just Wonderful is fine!"

Whether whipping up a batch of scones, or interacting with students to incorporate their suggestions into salad bar offerings, Charles has been an able and affable colleague who will be missed by the entire campus community.

Pam Labbe, Chemistry Department Administrative Assistant.

Pamalee Labbe
Pam Labbe is a unique employee. She came to the College, found her niche in a single department, and then proceeded to stay there for 40 incredible years. Pam started work in the Chemistry Department in 1964. As Professor David Page wrote in 2000 when Pam was nominated for and received an Employee Excellence Award, "Since that time (1964), computers and advanced software have replaced Pam's first typewriter and file cabinet. Diverse administrative responsibilities have superceded typing exams and manuscripts. As a department, we find it difficult to imagine functioning without Pam's guidance and support."

Her colleagues have always found Pam to be exceptionally effective, the "glue," the one constant in a very busy and changing department. She has been the frontline representative of the Chemistry Department, providing a consistent, warm reception to prospective students, parents, and incoming faculty. Over her career, she has worked under 13 departmental chairs, seven academic deans, and six presidents. We were unable to ascertain exactly how many times her office has moved and how many faculty members (past and present) adore her.

Upon her retirement in December of last year, the Bowdoin Board of Trustees elected Pam as Administrative Assistant Emerita in the Department of Chemistry in recognition of her devoted service to the College. Apart from some faculty members, Pam retires as the employee with the most years of service. We honor her for her fortitude and staying power, for continued willingness to upgrade her knowledge and skills, and for her incalculable contribution to the campus as a whole.

Faculty retiring this year are James Hodge in the German Department, Wells Johnson in the Mathematics Department and Theodora "Penny" Martin of the Education Department. They will be recognized by their Dean and faculty colleagues at a separate event.

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