Campus News

Bowdoin Employees Celebrated at Polar Awards

Story posted June 23, 2006

Bowdoin employees were celebrated and acknowledged at the College's fourth annual Polar Awards ceremony -- a festive event dubbed "Dancing With the Stars" -- held June 14, 2006. Thorne Hall, elegantly decorated in black, white, and gold, once again served as the backdrop of this eagerly awaited celebration of Bowdoin employees. (Visit the Photo Gallery...)

Memorable dance music (swing, Latin, even disco!) filled the air during the one-hour welcome reception, which featured performances by Latin dancers Elizabeth Palmer (academic department coordinator, Economics) and Braulio Peguero (junior assistant researcher, Biology); Joyce Mayer (housekeeper, Facilities Management) and Rich Johnson (groundskeeper, Facilities Management); belly dancer Lorica Cummings (administrative secretary, Athletics), along with "secret sultan" Terry Meagher (coach and hockey director, Athletics); and hip-hop dancer Kate Wyman, professional dancer and teacher from Bath.

Bowdoin President Barry Mills addressed the gathering several times, and spoke warmly and with great appreciation for the ongoing daily contributions of all the College's employees. He also rewarded all employees with a special announcement: July 3, 2006, has been designated an additional official College holiday.

To the strains of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," emcee Elmer Moore (assistant dean, Admissions) made a memorable entrance, strutting down the center aisle and up onto the stage to start the ceremony.

Between presentations, Moore led Steve Keller (housekeeper, Facilities Management), Eric Foushee (Director of Annual Giving), and Lawson Wulsin (assistant director, Residential Life) in a stomp dance celebrating Bowdoin's dining service ("This Food Rocks!"), and introduced tap dancer "Rod Vane" (Lou MacNeill, carpenter/painter, Facilities Management), who recreated a tap dance class, ca. 1948. The spirit of the event moved a few other employees to go into impromptu dances, as well. Retiree Lucie Teegarden performed a little soft shoe, while Sharon King, facilities management, and Jim Ward, mathematics, showed off a mean Macarena.

The ceremony included acknowledgement of seven employees who are retiring this year, and over 110 employees who have reached milestone years of service (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 25+). The continuing accomplishments of employees with greater than 25 years of service were also celebrated: combined, 58 current employees have clocked a total of 1,808 years! Five employees were honored with Polar Star Awards in the areas of innovation, commitment, customer service, leadership, and teamwork.

Lucie Teegarden, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, joined the College in 1983. "Throughout her twenty-three year career, Lucie has been responsible for staggering volumes of substantive, highly visible projects. I've worried about the day when Lucie decides to retire. Now that day is here. So I've decided to retire, too!" joked Scott Hood, vice president for communications and public affairs.

Jane Collins, library bookkeeper, started at the College in 1989. "Jane demonstrated unusual energy and dedication to all aspects of her job. In 1996, she began to focus on her work as Library Bookkeeper in Technical Services where her accuracy and organizational skills came to the fore. When she retires at the end of June, the entire Library staff will miss the quality and quantity of her work through seventeen plus years," stated Sherrie Bergman, College Librarian.

Harriet Richards, academic program coordinator, Africana Studies, was hired as a secretary for 1983 to 1984, and was rehired in 1985 to her current position. "The Program has been the beneficiary of her outstanding work for over 21 years. As the Africana Studies Program has grown, so has the scope of Harriet's work. She will be missed by scores of colleagues and students and we wish her well as she begins a whole new set of adventures in retirement," said Randy Stakeman, associate professor of history and Africana studies, and program director.

Blinn LeBourdais was hired as a groundsman in 1975: "That's what they called the groundskeepers back then, groundsmen. Over his 31 years at the College, Blinn has been a great team player. He takes with him an incredible knowledge of our grounds, and how long it takes to mow each and every parcel of grass," remarked Ted Stam, director of facilities operations and maintenance.

Arthur Dunlop, security officer, retired last December after 37 years of service to the College. "Over his long tenure Arthur was recognized for his willingness to be of service, strong work ethic, and his dependability in any situation. It didn't matter whether he was responding to a propane gas leak, assisting a citizen or student to the hospital, or holding the fort during a contentious hockey game with Colby, his colleagues in Security could rely on Arthur," said Randy Nichols, director of Safety and Security.

Doug Pollock, Dining Service, came to the College in 1968 and retires after 38 years, during which time he served as head chef (1999-2005), among other roles. "His loyalty to the College has been legion. He has seen the budgets change, the kitchens change, the menus change, and the students change over his tenure, but his attitude has always been fresh and positive," noted Mary Lou Kennedy, director of Dining and Bookstore Services.

Though he was not in attendance at the ceremony, John Hersey, Facilities Management, was also acknowledged with a loud round of applause for his 21 years of service at the College.

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." One hundred nominations were received this year nominating 54 different colleagues for excellence. The names of the winners were kept secret until the envelopes were opened at the ceremony. The 2006 winners were:

Polar Star Award for Teamwork
Jan Day (housekeeper, Facilities Management)
"Industrious, conscientious and compassionate, she gives her all in everything that she does, and is considered a joy to work with. The entire Bowdoin community is also in her debt for her recent actions that resulted in the apprehension of a vandal who was damaging property at Hawthorne-Longfellow Library."

Polar Star Award for Customer Service
David Francis (web programmer, Information Technology)
"Whether he's fielding requests to automate Residential Life's Housing Lottery, streamlining online job applications for Human Resources, or helping Athletics make their frequently changing website easily updatable, he approaches all challenges enthusiastically, with a sincere interest in finding and implementing solutions."

Polar Star Award for Innovation
Eileen Sylvan Johnson (program manager, Environmental Studies)
"Her energetic and innovative approach to supporting, building and expanding the Service Learning program on campus has been crucial to Bowdoin's ability to reach out effectively to the community through the Environmental Studies Program and through the Community Service Resource Center."

Polar Star Award for Commitment
Randy Shaw (vice president for Development and Alumni Relations)
"He is an exceptional role model, fostering the growth and advancement of an entire generation of Bowdoin development officers for 15 years. He is widely respected as a person who can 'get things done' by Bowdoin alumni and the Board of Trustees. He is an ambassador of goodwill both on and off the Bowdoin campus and one of Bowdoin's most outstanding administrators."

Polar Star Award for Leadership
Rick Disch (steward, Dining Service)
"I've lost count of the number of letters Dining Service receives each month thanking him for providing support and direction to make sure their dining experience was a pleasant one. This 25-year veteran has been called 'the perfect host,' an 'extraordinary employee,' and a key reason Dining Service has its exceptional national reputation."

Door Prize Winners
A bevy of exciting door prizes were given out throughout the ceremony. The employees taking home the prizes were: Doris Ouellette, Julie Shields, Ann Ostwald, Deb Miller (Maine State Music Theatre tickets); Lori Quimby, Toby Brewster (Target gift certificates); Logan Powell (Seadogs tickets); Ann Schaff (sea kayaking trip); Beth Levesque (Chocolate Church performance passes); Dan Hall, Phil Hamilton (Irving gas certificates); Herman Holbrook (L.L. Bean gift certificate); Ginny Hopcroft, Alicia White (movie passes); Linda Hatstat (Hampton Inn gift certificate); and the grand prize winner, Michael Grimm (box seats and luxury transportation to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park).

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