Middlebury College honors staff
MIDDLEBURY — President Laurie L. Patton expressed her heartfelt appreciation for the valuable contributions made by every member of the Middlebury College staff at the annual event honoring this year’s recipients of Staff Recognition Awards.
With more than 100 staff members gathered in Crossroads Café on June 2, the president invoked the Sanskrit term sakshi, meaning “witness” or “observer,” and said, “In India to be the chief witness is a position of great honor, and I want you all to know how much we appreciate the work that you do.”
Whether setting up for commencement, working in the dining halls, or shoveling snow late at night, Patton said Middlebury staff members are the sakshi to our everyday lives and all of the landmark events at the college.
The president thanked the members of the Staff Recognition Awards Committee, together with Professor Emeritus of Sociology Rudolf K. (“Rudy”) Haerle Jr., who started the staff recognition program with an endowment in 2002, and she introduced the 2016 recipients: Arabella Holzapfel (Davis Family Library), Elizabeth Rheaume (Custodial Services), Charles Sargent (Dining Services), and Donna Stark (Counseling Office).
Arabella Holzapfel was saluted for serving nearly a quarter of a century “to make the library, the college, and the Addison County community a better place for everyone. In your position as electronic resources manager, you exercise great care in handling the library’s many licensing contracts, and as library systems specialist, you make certain that students, faculty, and staff always have access to the online data they need.”
Elizabeth “Liza” Rheaume, who has worked at Middlebury for 34 years, sets “high standards in Custodial Services by going the extra mile to keep our campus buildings looking their very best. Your co-workers admire how, as a team leader, you are always watching out for their best interests, how you listen without judging, how you always come to work with a positive attitude, and how you have trained legions of Middlebury employees over the years to do their jobs the right way,” said President Patton.
Charles “Charlie” Sargent, now in his 41st year with the college, is the purchasing manager in Dining Services. The president said, “Your colleagues describe you as ‘always calm, cool, and collected,’ and consider you to be one of the most knowledgeable, reliable and level-headed people in the fast-paced world of Middlebury College dining. You always have your finger on the pulse of Dining Services and you have been doing so for decades with skill and dignity.”
Donna Stark, the administrative associate and client services coordinator in the Counseling Office, could not be present at the event. The 14-year Middlebury employee was commended by the president for greeting clients “with warmth, compassion and a tone of respect in times of crisis,” and for handling “delicate and intense situations with calm and composure.” Stark’s “willingness to be truly present and truly human in the face of others’ suffering” is a supremely important attribute for a person in her staff position, the president noted.
The criteria for the award are leadership, stewardship, attitude, and community service. Each awardee receives a gift from Middlebury, a plaque, and a copy of the citation read by the president. In addition, their names are added to the scroll of previous staff recognition recipients that hangs in McCullough Student Center.
Editor’s note: Reporting by Robert Keren.