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St. Bonaventure University

Five employees at St. Bonaventure win Presidential Staff Excellence Awards

May 21, 2021 |

Five devoted staff members were honored Tuesday, May 18, with Presidential Awards for Staff Excellence at St. Bonaventure University.

The awards were created, and first handed out in 2020, to honor the work of people across the university workforce who had long been overlooked for their efforts.

The five winners were announced at a virtual event Tuesday that also recognized employees celebrating milestone anniversaries and retirements, faculty award winners, Fr. Joe Doino Award winners, and MLK Justice Award winners. Click here to view the recording of the event; the passcode is yhn3b.&L.

“In a year with so many challenges, there was no shortage of worthy candidates, so choosing the winners was extremely difficult,” said Dr. Joseph Zimmer, acting president and provost.

The award for Outstanding Staff Achievement, presented to a staff member who has provided exemplary support or service to the Bonaventure community and/or to their individual area or team, was won by Caitlin Webster, director of the Office of Events & Conferences.

The list of accolades was long from several people who nominated Webster.

“Thoughtful. Efficient. Innovative. Creative. Problem solver. Always willing to help any department. One of the hardest-working people on this campus. Always striving to improve herself and her team. Encourages others around her. Calmly handles challenges as they arise.”

“Every compliment on almost every event at Bonaventure can be traced back to her customer service skills,” one nominator said.

Webster and her colleague Jen Burkardt were instrumental in the planning and coordination of Commencement Week events for the Class of 2021, culminating with six separate ceremonies on May 15 for each of the academic schools.

“For all the complexities involved in planning events during the pandemic, what they pulled off was a small miracle,” a colleague said. “I’ve never seen an event planned with such level of detail, and the students and parents I talked to were so grateful for the effort that went into it.”

The Customer Support Award, presented to a staff member who provides timely and professional service to both internal and external constituents and is responsive to their needs and requests, was won by Tim Hill, media support specialist in Technology Services.

“In more than 20 years at Bona’s, Tim has been the consummate customer service-oriented employee who will drop anything — any day, any time — to help faculty and staff with a wide range of issues,” a nominator said.

“The demands on him are high, especially during this year of virtual reality, but he is always thorough and displays great patience, not leaving the scene until he’s confident the person he’s helping knows what they’re doing. I have never seen him lose his patience under pressure and always has acted in a professional manner.”

The Advocacy Award, presented to a staff member who has contributed to improving the work environment, was won by Kathy Boser, longtime administrative assistant in the Jandoli School of Communication.

“For more than 35 years, Kathy has devoted countless hours working to improve the lives of staff members at St. Bonaventure,” a nominator said. “She is committed to representing other staff members to ensure each one is treated with dignity and respect.”

Boser has served on the Staff Affairs committee for more than 20 years, 10 of them as chair. She served on the retirement sub-committee in 1998, which gained approval for staff to receive TIAA-Cref Retirement benefits. She has also served on several other committees, including the University Presidential Task Force on Faculty & Staff Development, President’s Governance Commission, CODAH and many others.

The Innovation and Change Award, presented to a staff member who helps develop new and improved processes, methods, systems, products, or services and encourages others to do the same and who makes innovation a priority, was won by Tom Donahue, webmaster in the Office of Marketing & Communications.

“Tom’s leadership and hard work in the implementation of a brand new university website was remarkable,” a nominator said. “At a time when collaboration with colleagues was a much greater challenge, he was able to keep the website overhaul team from Marketing & Communications and Tech Services on task and on track for a fall 2020 launch.”

The Rookie of the Year, presented to a staff member who has been with the university for less than three years and who has demonstrated responsibility, growth, commitment to the university and leadership in their position, was awarded to Sandy Eberle from the university’s Facilities Department.

“From the start of her time with St. Bonaventure, Sandy has shown determination, pride and satisfaction in her work. She constantly volunteers when we are in need of coverage when we are short staffed and is the first person to ask if we need help for an upcoming event,” one nominator said.

“Since August when she came to Bonaventure, Sandy has demonstrated her commitment to the success of the university by coming to work with a positive attitude, and has worked more overtime in support of critical functions than anyone in the department. ... Her areas of responsibility — in Robinson Hall and the Walsh Science Center — are always very clean, she works well as a team, and has shown great leadership traits when given a task.”

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About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.