A gala evening of staff recognition

In a gala evening celebration and dinner event held recently, York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, together with members of the York community, colleagues and proud family members, celebrated the exemplary service of five York University employees.

The employees were recipients of the President’s Staff Recognition Awards. One by one they were celebrated by colleagues in a moving video tribute, and as they stepped forward to receive their award, they were cheered and applauded by family members and friends.

The president & vice-chancellor presented the following awards:

The Ronald Kent Medal
Cheryl Colman – administrative assistant, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Pure & Applied Science

Left: Cheryl Colman (centre front) with family members and friends

President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald established this award in 1979 in memory of Ronald Kent, to acknowledge his unique personal commitment to the University throughout his dedicated years of service to the University. Kent exemplified the sincere and enthusiastic colleague who promoted and cultivated these qualities in others across departments, and in his external contacts he was a true ambassador for York.

This year’s recipient is Cheryl Colman, an administrative assistant in the Office of Dean, Faculty of Pure & Applied Science. Colman is described by her colleagues as an individual who is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science.

“Her interest is in helping promote York and the faculty,” said Gillian Wu, dean of the Faculty of Pure & Applied Science. “She has her eye on the mark and knows how to enhance the faculty and York.”

The President’s CPM Award
Olivia Petrie – associate director, Centre for the Support of Teaching

Right: Olivia Petrie (centre, third from the right) with family members and friends

The President’s CPM Award recognizes contributions which go beyond fulfilling the published requirements of a position and performance levels which foster a high level of professionalism and usually extend beyond an individual department into the University community at large.

This year the award was presented to Olivia Petrie, associate director of the Centre for the Support of Teaching (CST). “Olivia is the real heart of the CST operation,” said Ron Sheese, CST academic director. “She knows everything about CST, she knows what to do and she does it well.” Her colleagues lauded Petrie’s ability to work with others and to bring out the best in everyone.

The President’s Voice of York Award
Carla Zaffino – switchboard & mail clerk, Office of the Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School

Left: Carla Zaffino (centre, second from the left) with family members and friends

Switchboard and mail clerk Carla Zaffino, who works in the Office of the Dean of Osgoode Hall Law school, is the recipient of Voice of York Award.

The award is given to an individual who is employed as a receptionist or is a first-line-of-contact person at York University. The most important voice of York is the one who answers the telephone first or greets the visitor first. The quality of responsiveness in the most difficult or sensitive situations is essential to work at York University.

Zaffino is described by her colleagues as someone who truly loves her work and has a wonderful laugh. “She treats everyone with respect and kindness,” said co-worker Valerie Peticca. 

Osgoode associate dean Gina Alexandris said, “When a first impression is made, it is very important….Carla is our first impression and people walk away from Carla with a sense of community and a feeling that they are cared for.”

The Deborah Hobson Citizenship Award
Lori Sgarbossa – academic advisor, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts

Right: Lori Sgarbossa (second from the left) with family and friends

The long career of former VP enrolment & student services, Deborah Hobson, is characterized by her energetic commitment and boundless enthusiasm for York University and its particular vision of higher education. The Deborah Hobson York Citizenship Award was established in her honour.

Lori Sgarbossa, academic advisor, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts is the recipient of The Deborah Hobson Citizenship Award.

“Lori is committed to what she does, she is hardworking, reliable and dependable,” said Matthew Harper, student relations officer, Faculty of Arts. “She is truly a student advocate.”

The Phyllis Clark Campus Service Award
Rebecca Muyal – planner, Facilities Planning, Facilities, Planning & Construction

Left: Rebecca Muyal (second from the left) with family, colleagues and friends

This award, established in honour of Phyllis Clark, former VP finance & administration, is presented annually to a non-academic employee of York University who has made exemplary contributions to the operations of either of York’s campuses in terms of efficiency, cleanliness, safety, security and/or other campus or plant services.

Described by her colleagues as a wonderful individual who loves her work and as someone who is kind and a good listener, this year’s recipient is Rebecca Muyal, a planner with Facilities Planning,  Facilities, Planning & Construction.

“In the Faculty of Fine Arts over the past few years, we have had a fair number of renovations,” said Phillip Silver, associate professor & dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. “Rebecca has a wonderful way of dealing with the faculty as clients. She listens to what our needs are, she comes up with inventive solutions and she tackles the task with real joy and happiness.”