Employees recognized at Service Recognition and Retirement Celebration

May 9, 2024
By: Rebecca Cross

Faculty and staff of Worcester State celebrated milestones and achievements on May 7 at the university’s annual Employee Service Recognition and Retirement Celebration.

“We have a lot of traditions here at the university, and I think this employee recognition event is one of the most positive traditions of this university,” President Barry Maloney said. “Despite some challenges, we had a very successful year. We welcomed this past fall the largest class in our university’s history. I want to thank all of you for your work on behalf of our students.”

This sentiment of appreciation for the way employees help make students’ experiences positive was expressed by other presenters. “We recognize that all of us, regardless of the position we hold, can contribute to the experience of students on our campus,” said David Ayotte, payroll director in Employee Services. “This recognition has resulted in increased graduation and retention rates and a more vibrant campus experience. This is our charge and our purpose as employees here, and today we are here to recognize those who embody these values.”

President Maloney extended special thanks to employees working in Student Affairs for their efforts during challenges, employees in Facilities for their ongoing work to keep the campus clean and beautiful, administrative assistants who make sure that every student who walks into an office is welcomed and helped, employees who have worked on diversity and inclusion efforts, and faculty who have adapted their methods to meet the needs of students who are still affected by educational disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Eighty-six employees celebrated milestone anniversaries of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30  years. “I value your commitment in a very tough labor market,” President Maloney said. “Thank you for continuing to bring your talents to the state universities.”

To the 12 employees who retired, President Maloney said, “Thank you for your service. I wish you the best as you make the steps towards the next chapter of your life. Please know that you are always welcome to come back.”

Five faculty received special awards. Frank Boardman, professor and chair of the Philosophy Department; Yan Hu, biology professor; and Julia McNeil, nursing professor, were awarded tenure. Stephanie Chalupka, retiring faculty in the Nursing Department, was awarded emerita status. Adjunct Faculty in Communication Herman Servatius received the Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Diversity and Inclusion Award was presented to Mary Dillon, clerk in the Visual and Performing Arts Department; Mary Fowler, mathematics professor; and Raynold Lewis, dean of Education and Liberal and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Jonathan Walker, director of operational excellence and institutional risk and compliance officer, received the Campus Collaboration Award for his work with colleagues in every department.

The Extraordinary Dedication Award was presented to Bledi Demirazi, institution security officer with University Police; Juliet Habjan Boisselle, staff associate and faculty development specialist in Academic Affairs; Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier, professor and chair of the Biology Department; Sandra LaCroix, clerk in the Criminal Justice Department; Karen Tessmer, associate director of Athletics and women’s head basketball coach; and Janice Yee, business administration and economics professor.

Photos by Matt Wright ’10

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