Campus News

2005 Polar Awards Celebrate Bowdoin Employees

Story posted June 17, 2005

Related stories:
Five Retiring Staff Members Honored at 2005 Polar Awards
Employees Recognized for Milestone Years of Service

The Bellamy Jazz Band entertained.

Trumpeting the theme "All That Jazz," the third annual Polar Awards Ceremony honored and celebrated Bowdoin employees June 15, 2005, in Thorne Hall.

The festive afternoon included live music by the Bellamy Jazz Band, a variety of highly coveted door prizes (including Hannaford gift certificates, Maine State Music Theatre tickets, Portland Sea Dogs "Slugger Chips," and assorted cash prizes), delicious desserts provided by Dining Service, and a make-your-own-sundae bar.

Polar Star for Leadership: Kim Bibber.

The hour-long award ceremony featured acknowledgement of five retiring staff members and 116 employees who have reached milestone years of service (5, 10, 15, 20, and 25). (Click the related story links at the top of the page to read about retirees and milestone honorees.)

As usual, excitement was running high for the presentation of the five Polar Star Awards, recognizing administrative and support staff for excellence and contributions to the "common good." Thirty individual employees and two entire departments were nominated by their colleagues this year. Nominees' names were prominently displayed on large gold stars adorning the entryway to Thorne Hall. The winners' identities were kept secret until they were announced during the ceremony.

Gold stars highlighted all nominees' names.

Emcee Jim Miller, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, welcomed the large gathering and said, "After the pomp and circumstance (and stress) of Commencement and Reunion celebrations, it's fitting that we take an afternoon to relax and celebrate the employees who make it all happen, everyday, 365 days a year."

Director of Human Resources Tama Spoerri tied the ceremony's theme to the importance and value of Bowdoin employees. "This year's theme celebrates a truly American music form called jazz," she said. "But almost all music - whether Gregorian chant, classical, swing, R&B, rock, pop, rap - uses a similar language of musical notation. It 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." Similarly, the Bowdoin staff is the "backbone" of the College.

Presentations of the awards and acknowledgements were scattered throughout the fast-paced ceremony. A moving tribute was also offered by Director of Capital Projects Don Borkowski to our late friend and colleague Dave D'Angelo, director of facilities management, who died unexpectedly last fall.

2005 Polar Stars
Nominations for the Polar Star Awards had been submitted from across campus and were accepted in the categories of leadership, customer service, innovation, commitment, and teamwork. Winners were not chosen by the sheer number of nominations, but based on many factors, including the supporting materials submitted with the nominations.

Presented to the employee who steps up and demonstrates a "take charge" attitude, anticipates needs, and makes sure the job gets done.
Kim Bibber, Day Shift Housekeeping Leader, Facilities Management
(Presented by Corey Hammond, Director of Facilities Operations, Facilities Management)

Polar Star for Customer Service: Cindy Wonson.

Customer Service
Presented to the employee who unfailingly provides great service with a smile day after day.
Cindy Wonson, Executive Secretary to the President
(Presented by Craig McEwen, Dean for Academic Affairs)

Presented to the employee who always does what it takes to get the job done with determination and a strong sense of duty.
Donna Trout, Academic Department Coordinator, Psychology
(Presented by Suzanne Lovett, Associate Professor of Psychology. Donna was not present, so Suzanne accepted the award on her behalf.)

Polar Star for Innovation: Stacey Jones.

Presented to the employee who generates and/or facilitates ideas or suggestions to make Bowdoin a better place, and always strives for excellence.
Stacey Jones, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Programs
(Presented by Margaret Hazlett, Associate Dean of Student Affairs)

Presented to the employee who is the consummate team player, the person whose enthusiasm helps rally and support others.
Donna Ricker, Production Assistant, Dining Service
(Presented by Mary Lou Kennedy, Director of Dining and Bookstore Services)

Polar Star for Teamwork: Donna Ricker.

A ceremony like the Polar Awards could never be pulled off without the hard work of many. In his closing remarks, Jim Miller acknowledged the excellent work by the Polar Awards Planning Committee, Dining Service, and Facilities Management in planning and organizing the event. Special thanks were offered to pianist Lou Macneill in Facilities Management, who entertained before the ceremony; the Bellamy Jazz Band, who played after the ceremony; and Brenna Hensley, assistant director of Events and Summer Programs.

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