Published: May 15, 2018

MSU employees to receive Jack Breslin award May 21

Contact(s): Bethany Balks Residence Education and Housing Services office: 517-884-1752

Six staff employees will receive the 41st annual Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award, and one staff employee will receive the 2017-18 Ruth Jameyson "Above and Beyond" Award on May 21.

This year's reception is scheduled for 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center's Big Ten Rooms.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award winners:

John Boyse

Boyse is the research assistant II in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. In this role, he assists with field research projects studying plant diseases in soybeans, corn, wheat and dry beans. For 30 years, prior to 2017, Boyse managed the state Soy Performance Trials, which involved managing large soybean variety trials at various sites around Michigan, as well as providing project assistance for the soybean breeding program.

Boyse's dedication and attention to detail have led to many equipment improvements, all of which have resulted in more efficient and accurate data collection. The planter used for standard soybean trials was essentially built by Boyse, using parts from a selection of other planters, as well as a platform that he created from scratch. Many programs would keep research ideas within the confines of their equipment, but with Boyse, anything imaginable is possible.

Boyse is an active member of the University Methodist church and has served many terms on its administrative board and is currently on the Facilities Task Force. He is also a key volunteer in maintaining the Memorial Gardens at the church.

At the research farm, Boyse is go-to-guy when someone has a problem, and he especially likes working with undergraduate and graduate students. Boyse's meticulous work, warm personality and genuine care for other people exemplify what being a Spartan should be.

Nancy Creed

Creed is an office assistant in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In more than 40 years of service at MSU, Creed has dedicated her career to doing things the correct way, treating others with respect and embodying Spartans Will.

Throughout Creed's career she has been a mentor, friend and colleague whose advice is often sought by faculty and many others. Throughout her time at MSU, Creed has served on a number of committees and taskforces assigned with improving the policies and procedures at MSU. Her insight on these committees have led to improved efficiency and collaboration across the university. Creed's dedication to her team has not gone unnoticed; she was awarded the AFRE's Distinguished Lifetime Service Award, marking the first time a non-faculty staff member was given the award.

Creed's depth of experience is an asset to the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics and MSU. For the past 40 years, her dedication to the staff and students of MSU have made a lasting impact.

Don Donagradi

Donagradi is the Brody Neighborhood dining manager, overseeing Brody Square and Heritage Commons at Landon. A graduate of MSU with a human nutrition and food science degree, Donagradi began his professional career as a food supervisor in Holden Hall. The position was a perfect fit with his educational expertise and personality. Thirty-three years later, he has found himself back at Brody where it all began at MSU.

Throughout his career at MSU, Donagradi has demonstrated his passion as a leader and willingness to collaborate through many initiatives and strong partnerships. Serving on the committee that developed the initial neighborhood concept, he represented residential dining and worked with partners across campus to consider their ideas, input and viewpoints. Additionally, Donagradi helped lead planning for the inaugural fall Sparticipation picnic that welcomed nearly 10,000 Spartans. He was responsible for designing the original field layout, creating a staff scheduling model and collaborating with MSU Food Stores to organize food production and delivery.

Donagradi currently assists with neighborhood-based programming, including providing food and culinary for a neighborhood collaboration with the College of Music to bring a La Boheme performance to the Brody Grotto. He understands the value of positive and enriching experiences for students, and he goes above and beyond to enhance the living, learning and nutritional environment at MSU.

Beth Koivisto

Koivisto is the administrative associate I/S in the Department of Mathematics. In this role, she is called upon to administrate all financial, human resources and facilities functions for the department, as well as supervise the support staff.

During her three years in the mathematics department, Koivisto refurbished the existing financial records systems and established new procedures, including a complete modernization of the record system. As a result of her efforts, any faculty member can now obtain an exact amount of unencumbered funding that remains in any particular grant.

Koivisto is committed to the development of her staff. She constantly promotes the progress of each staff member, providing concrete suggestions about how to grow, assume more responsibility and handle the stress of their jobs.

Koivisto serves as a member of the Olivet College Parent's Advisory. She has also been active in East Lansing Middle/High School sports and served as the secretary for the East Lansing Baseball Club, a non-profit youth baseball organization in the community.

Jeffery Magnuson

Magnuson is the Executive Development Center manager for the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development. In this role Magnuson manages the financial, personnel and operational activities of the Executive Development Center in accordance with the mission of Executive Development Programs in the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management.

Since 2007, Magnuson has created a truly healthy work environment that values individuals and authenticity. Under his leadership, The Henry Center has become well known for providing exceptional service to its customers through unique partnerships and a focus on solutions. Magnuson's exceptional interpersonal skills have led to strengthened collaboration between The University Club, Candlewood Suites and Forest Akers Golf Course.

Magnuson's dedication to his role at The Henry Center have made lasting impacts on the students and staff at MSU. He manages a successful student employee program and also serves on a workgroup focused on creating a new systematic approach to developing leaders at MSU on all levels. Magnuson is a valuable partner and resource for MSU.

Sharon Ruggles

Ruggles is the academic program coordinator I in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences. In this role, she oversees all office operations in the graduate office and serves as the liaison with students, faculty, parents, alumni and constituents on behalf of the geography graduate program.

After spending more than 35 years at MSU, Ruggles' exemplary job performance has led to enhanced efficiency within her department. She saw a need to transition from paper graduate applications to digital and undertook the challenge of successfully developing a web interface that saved time in the review process. She also was at the forefront of developing the annual GEOCamp, an orientation program hosted for graduate students.

Ruggles has been heavily involved in planning this event and has worked dutifully to increase its effectiveness and efficiency each year to save time and money and to provide students with positive experiences.

Ruggles also has been dedicated in her service to graduate students, informing them of opportunities for funding and awards, registering them for classes and serving as their mentor, advocate and where appropriate, taskmaster. To say that she is totally dedicated to her students is an understatement. Her door is always open, and she greets all students with a welcoming smile.

Ruth Jameyson "Above and Beyond" Award winner:

Melissa Congleton

Congleton has served as an officer with the MSU police department for the past 19 years. She is currently assigned to the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams as the Homeland Security Officer. At FRIB, Congleton has successfully started a new security force for the laboratory. Her work with FRIB ensures the world-class facility can conduct its research in a safe and secure environment.

Throughout her career as an officer with the MSU police department, Congleton earned the designation of professional emergency manager through the Michigan State Police. Through this designation, Congleton led a group to have MSU be the first university in Michigan and the Big Ten to obtain accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program. Earlier in her career, Congleton supervised the Greencoat Security program. There, she developed a recognition system, enacted a discipline system and revamped the training program.

Congleton is currently working to earn her masters of divinity degree at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit. In order to accomplish this, Congleton drives to Detroit to attend night classes after working a full day at MSU. She currently holds a 4.0 in the program and plans to serve as a priest in the Episcopal Church upon degree completion.

Congleton's body of work exemplifies MSU's mission of advancing knowledge and transforming lives. Her commitment to MSU is evident in all aspects of her distinguished career and dedication to her studies.