Cynthia Patterson, administrative secretary in mathematics and statistics, and classified staff in Dining Services were honored by Classified Staff Council April 16 for their efforts benefiting students and other members of the University community.
Patterson was presented the Outstanding Service Award at the annual Classified Staff Awards Ceremony, while the Dining Services staff won the Team Award. The Outstanding Service Award carries a $1,000 cash prize and a reserved parking space for a year; winners of the Team Award share a $1,500 cash prize.
Patterson, who is retiring this year, was nominated by Diane Mott, an instructor of mathematics and statistics who wrote that “I find it very difficult to find adequate words to describe all that Cyndi does” for the department and the BGSU community.
“In my estimation, Cyndi exemplifies the best of what BGSU can and should be,” according to Mott, continuing that Patterson and her work bring the word “professionalism” and the University’s core values to mind.
“Her tremendous efficiency and knowledge are reminiscent of a machine, but what makes Cyndi’s professionalism so outstanding is her attitude,” Mott noted. “She is personable to everyone she encounters at BGSU: students, staff, faculty, and administrators.”
Saying Patterson “truly embodies” the core values, Mott explained: “She is respectful to everyone, and this respect is clearly part of the very fiber of who Cyndi is. She acknowledges and embraces people’s unique gifts. In short, Cyndi tries to see the good in every person. This leads to a spirit of cooperation and congeniality that is another integral part of Cyndi’s personality.”
“Because she has been such an integral part of the department,” Mott added, “Cyndi has touched the lives of every student who has taken a math class in the past 30 years, even the students who have never met her.”
Dr. Neal Carothers, mathematics and statistics, echoed Mott’s assessment of Patterson’s importance, calling her “the very heart and soul of our department. She is our institutional memory and our public image. We depend on her for answers, for advice, and for a sympathetic ear on everything and anything you can imagine.
“When in doubt, I’ve come to learn that the best answer to give anyone, be it student, staff or faculty, is ‘ask Cyndi, she’ll know.’”
In accepting the award, Patterson said, “So many of us give our all every day. Thanks to all of you who offer support and encouragement to students, faculty and staff of BGSU every day.”
Other nominees for the Outstanding Service Award were Deborah Bagnato, BGSU Firelands-student services; Terry Carver, recreational sports; Betty DeSilvio, Student Health Service, and Kathy Hoke, Career Center.
Nancy Joseph, associate director of Dining Services, cited her colleagues’ dedication in her nomination of nearly 100 staff members for the Team Award.
They arrive at their units before dawn, Joseph pointed out, and provide services at all hours of the day and night. “It is a collaborative effort from a wide range of individuals with varying skills, to successfully run the department and maintain all the broad and varied services it provides,” she wrote.
Dining Services staff also serve during inclement weather and over holidays. “When offices are closed and others are released due to the weather, and when given a choice, Dining employees remain on the job because they feel a responsibility and need to provide for the community,” she noted.
At the season-ending football game against Buffalo last November, with the wind-chill factor below zero, some of those employees provided a warm-meal option in a heated tent outside Doyt Perry Stadium, Joseph said.
They also believe in and support the mission of the University, as evidenced by the past year’s Family Campaign, she wrote. Dining Services was recognized for its increased participation rate—100 percent in all but one unit and 97 percent in the remaining one, she reported, calling that level of support “phenomenal” considering the number of staff involved.
“Dining employees interact on a daily basis with our customers and know many of them by name,” Joseph added. “Many students have commented the dining staff helps them feel connected to the university, as many are away from home for the first time.”
Supporting the nomination was former Dining Services employee Ann Light, who wrote of her “vivid memories of working with people who made a difference in students’ lives in ways that other people never see.
“I’ve often wondered how many students stay enrolled at BGSU because of the camaraderie and support” resulting from working with Dining Services staff, said Light, now assistant dean of Continuing & Extended Education. “Working in such close proximity with the students gives the staff the ability to lend support, give encouragement and nurture the feelings of connectivity that are so important in a large community.”
Also nominated for the Team Award were classified staff in the Counseling Center, Graduate College, and history and psychology departments.