Six staff employees will receive the 37th annual Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award and one staff employee will receive the fifth annual Ruth Jameyson "Above and Beyond" Award April 22.
This year's reception is scheduled to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Jack Breslin Student Events Center Auxiliary Gym.
Following is a list of awardees.
Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award
Brenda Nelson works for Culinary Services as a dining services complex manager II, East Neighborhood Residential Dining, where she leads a team of 60 regular and 800 part-time employees. Nelson is best known for her motto and philosophy: "Serving it with love." This approach creates a culture of love, respect and service to the customer and others with whom she interacts.
Among other roles, Nelson has served the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services for more than 31 years as a night manager, dining services manager, residence hall manager, guest service manager and operations coordinator. In addition, Nelson has supported the university and RHS as a member of the MSU Recruitment Team, the RHS Strategic Planning Implementation Workgroup, the Neighborhood Initiatives Committee, as an RHS Celebrate State facilitator and more.
Nelson was recognized in 2004 with the Dorothy Millbrook Staff Award sponsored by the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, and she is a member of the Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association. Since 1995, she has volunteered as a staff adviser for the MSU Gospel Choir. Nelson will receive a master’s degree this spring.
Kurt Simon is an HVAC mechanic II in the Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities Energy Mechanical Systems A&I Department. With 35 years of service to the university, Simon is well-versed in maintaining mechanical systems in campus buildings as old as 1855 and as new as 2013.
Simon is one of only two team members responsible for upgrading and replacing the electronic and pneumatic control cabinets for the buildings automation systems.
In his work, Simon is quick to respond to tasks and patient when teaching and assisting others. He has built trusting relationships with staff in other IPF departments, always recognizing the team effort, having the devotion and drive to do what is best for the university. His dedication to finishing the job, no matter how long it takes, shows in his understanding of the importance of commitment and meeting customer service goals.
Kurt’s hobbies involve hiking, fishing and hunting. He is a member of Pheasants Forever, volunteers at his church and was a certified soccer referee for his children’s games.
Patricia Grauer is communications manager for the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, handling community and public relations. Her responsibilities include writing, editing, media relations and public production. Grauer is also editor of MSUCOM’s magazine Communique and helps manage the college’s Web page along with contributing to its social media efforts. With more than 40 years as the lead communications manager for the college, Grauer has worked to stay current in an ever-changing industry and university environment while still managing to take her skills to the next level.
Grauer has served on numerous committees including; MSUCOM’s scholarships and animal welfare committees and the Michigan Osteopathic Associations communications committee. She has represented her college and MSU at several alumni events and numerous after-hours events that have recognized former colleagues, faculty, administrators and students with whom she has built and maintained relationships.
Grauer is committed to diversity and social justice. She has demonstrated this by being part of a team that established and hosted the college’s “Slavery to Freedom” lecture series and by assisting with the Diversity Series offered to MSUCOM students. Grauer is also involved in numerous charity activities she has brought forth to MSUCOM. She spearheads the college’s “Simple Gifts” program for which small items are collected and distributed to local or state chapters of nonprofit organizations.
Robert Ceru is a chemical safety officer for Environmental Health & Safety, overseeing the development, implementation and monitoring of comprehensive programs to control and/or eliminate chemical and occupational hazards in compliance with local, state and federal rules, regulations and guidelines. He has worked for the university for more than 20 years.
Ceru is proactive in his role, seeking improvements in his department and the university. Recently, he improved EHS’ practice of dispensing and story ether—a very flammable substance, initiated the chemical inventory system that serves all research labs, found the funds to upgrade the liquid nitrogen system and worked to revise and update the Chemistry Department safety training and lab procedures. Ceru has also CEM 444 Chemical Safety at MSU for more than 10 years.
Ceru is active in many committees, including the Chemical Hygiene Subcommittee at EHS, which he was instrumental in initiating and implementing, and has directed the MSU EHS after-hours emergency response team for many years. In addition, he has forged strong working relationships with the East Lansing Fire Department and the MSU Police.
Evette Chavez Lockhart
Evette Chavez Lockhart is an editorial assistant II for the Women’s Resource Center, where she edits documents, oversees and updates the website, drafts news releases, manages the WRC monthly newsletter, maintains the listserv and more.
Chavez Lockhart plays a key role in the WRC’s Mildred B. Erickson scholarship committee, handling all applications turned in by students and organizing all applicant files. She has also planned many MBE fundraising events.
Over the last six years, Chavez Lockhart has spearheaded WRC’s involvement in adopting a family for the holidays through MSU Safe Place.
In addition to her roles at WRC, Chavez Lockhart has donated her personal time to the Parents Action Committee on Minority Academic Concerns (PACMAC) Spelling Bee, co-sponsored by the WRC. She has also served as a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff at MSU, was a union representative for the Clerical-Technical Union of MSU and volunteers her time to Teen Challenge and Sister’s Maternity Center.
Russell Werner is an information technologist II for the MSU English Language Center, where he is responsible for software development, customer support, database administration, systems software support and more.
Werner developed the ELC student information database, which has changed the way the ELC manages information. The database based was designed and built by Werner, and he continues to manage it.
More recently, Werner also designed and built an online faculty annual evaluation system whereby all ELC team members can organize annual self-reports, attach supportive documents and add comments, streamlining and providing uniformity to the process.
Werner has represented the ELC on technology discussions with the Office of Admissions, the Office for International Students and Scholars and college advisors regarding how to best manage the intake of the steadily increasing number of international students.
Ruth Jameyson "Above and Beyond" Award
Sarah Carroll is an administrative assistant at the W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. With 10 years of service, Carroll is described as being extremely well-organized, always prepared, detail-oriented and “in control” of the situation as she oversees the growing administrative operation.
Her work includes coordinating and training more than 60 volunteers at the bird sanctuary who provide tours, programs and other vital services. Since 2008, Carroll has assisted in growing the membership at the bird sanctuary by 30 percent annually, which helps to support equipment and supplies necessary for school tours and programs for adults and families.
Carroll also has recently taken on new responsibilities working with the director at KBS on development activities including planning and development of marketing materials and organizing events to help inform current and prospective donors about what is done at KBS and its importance. Donor funds are critical to providing student scholarships, facility improvements and research at KBS.