York employees celebrated for their contributions to the University

Five exceptional York employees were honoured at a special dinner presentation on June 17. They were the recipients of the 2008 President’s Staff Recognition Awards. The awards were presented by York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, as proud family and colleagues looked on.

This year’s recipients include: Regina Pinto, administrative assistant, School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health; Debbie Kee, director of Student Housing Services, Campus Services & Business Operations (CSBO); Jane Crescenzi, executive officer, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Education; Raul Dionisio, operator team leader, Grounds, Fleet & Waste Management, CSBO; and Paulette Burgher, administrative secretary to the chair, Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.


Above: The recipients of the 2008 President’s Staff Recognition Awards. From left, Regina Pinto, Paulette Burgher, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, Raul Dionisio, Debbie Kee and Jane Crescenzi

Regina Pinto has worked in the School of Health Policy & Management since it was initiated in July 2001. She has been a part of the York community for almost 17 years and started her career in 1992 with Atkinson College. Pinto has also worked as a program assistant in the Department of Dance and as a graduate program assistant in the Department of Economics. Her colleagues describe her as a wise individual who constantly goes out of her way to accommodate students and who does an exceptional job of welcoming them and explaining York’s policies and procedures. She also provides assistance to faculty and administration and ensures the department runs smoothly. Pinto is the recipient of The Voice of York Award, which is given to an individual employed as a receptionist or who is a first-line-of-contact person at the University. The most important voice of York is the one that callers or visitors hear first.

Debbie Kee (BA ’85) came to York University in 1975 as a student and has never left. Her career at York spans almost 32 years. In 1977, as a student, Kee was employed in Mailing Services. Since then, she has worked in many areas of the University. She has been the communications officer for facilities construction; the director in facilities and support services and the executive assistant for the Seneca@York project. For the past 15 years she has been employed with Student Housing Services, CSBO, where she started as a manager, and where she is now the director. Kee has launched many initiatives to solicit direct input from students, including the Residence Life Advisory Committee. After becoming director of undergraduate housing in 2006, Kee introduced workflow and process management to housing operations and administration. Her impressive experience is a key component to the success of undergraduate housing at York. Kee is the recipient of the Deborah Hobson York Citizenship Award, which celebrates a commitment and enthusiasm for York University and its particular vision of higher education.

Jane Crescenzi (BA ’99) started her career with the University in 1982 as the coordinator of the University Word Processing Centre. She is now the executive officer in the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Education, a position she has held for the past 10 years. She has also been involved in various committees on campus associated with the York University Staff Association. Crescenzi has taken on many challenges over the years and works hard to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the Faculty of Education. Her colleagues and staff, in their nomination, applauded her absolute reliability and dedication to her work. Her vast institutional knowledge of the University plays a critical role in the smooth operation of the office. Crescenzi’s frequent involvement in different areas at York has served as an inspiration for her staff. In 2006 she went back to school at York and, as a student, she says she learned how the University functions from a student’s point of view. Crescenzi is the recipient of the Confidential & Professional Management (CPM) Award, which recognizes an individual for contributions that go beyond the published requirements of a position, and for performance levels that foster a high level of professionalism and usually extend beyond an individual department into the University community at large.

Raul Dionisio has been working at York for the past 33 years, 25 of those with CSBO. His colleagues notice the pride he takes in his work on a daily basis and describe him as a hard-working and impressive person. As an operator team leader, Dionisio always leads by example while ensuring his team runs efficiently and abides by high standards. Recently, he worked closely with management to research and purchase upgraded waste and recycling vehicles and infrastructure, which increased sustainability at York. Dionisio consistently provides exceptional service to the York University community. He is the recipient of the Phyllis Clark Campus Service Award. The award was created in honour of Phyllis Clark, former vice-president finance & administration at York University, and is presented to a non-academic employee who has made an exemplary contribution to the efficient, clean, safe and secure operation of campus services. 

Paulette Burgher (BAS Spec. Hons. ’03) started as a student at York University in 1998. She is currently completing her master’s degree in human resources management. She has been employed in various departments at York since 1999 and started her career as a research assistant in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. Her colleagues describe her as an individual with extraordinary commitment and immense institutional knowledge. Her positive attitude and calm patience, they say, serves as a crucial influence in the planning and operation of initiatives undertaken by the Department of Social Science. Burgher’s professional attitude in dealing with students and the public are essential to the department. She also promotes a spirit of collegiality by strengthening the connection between retired faculty members and the University, which is evident in the level of attention she gives during the organization of the annual Social Sciences Student Awards Ceremony. Burgher is the recipient of the Ronald Kent Medal. President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald established this award in 1979 in memory of his driver, Ronald Kent, to acknowledge his commitment to the University throughout his years of service. Mr. Kent was an enthusiastic employee and a true ambassador for York. 

For more on the awards, visit the Office of the President Web site.