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June 17, 2022

MSU celebrates 2022 staff award winners

This year, Michigan State University celebrates staff for their hard work and dedication by awarding the annual Retirement and Service Recognition, the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award and the Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award. The recipients were honored at a ceremony on May 17.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards honor six MSU support staff members annually. Colleagues submit nominations of individuals who demonstrate the qualities of Jack Breslin, who served MSU as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate, personifying “Spartan Spirit.” Awardees display overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude, and contributions. Following are this year’s awardees:

Linda Cornish

Linda Cornish is the director of operations and division administrator in the Division of Public Health in the College of Human Medicine. She has more than 17 years of executive management experience and oversees operations for the building, education, research and community mission of the division. Linda is known for her transformational leadership, facilitating critical conversation and her ability to focus on long-term operational business strategies. Linda’s colleagues had this to say about her:

“Linda’s many skills, commitment to excellence, and attention to detail were valuable during the transition to remote work due to the pandemic. Most appreciated throughout this crisis has been Linda’s obvious care and concern for people and their needs – especially the MSU faculty, staff, and students she serves.”

“As a new employee, Linda was the consummate professional who helped me with any of my questions or concerns. Now that I have been here for three years, I know I can always depend on her to answer questions, even if they do not relate to her areas of responsibility. In short, DPH could not function as it does without her.”

Sandi Cox

Sandi is a secretary III in University Advancement and provides administrative support for regional advancement staff. She has been with MSU for over 13 years and with University Advancement for more than five years. Sandi has an outstanding work ethic, takes a collaborative approach and goes above and beyond for her team. Sandi consistently exhibits excellence in her job performance, and her willingness to take on additional responsibilities is noticed and appreciated by all of those she supports. Her colleagues had this to say about her:

“Sandi has a curiosity and readiness to learn, which benefits those around her. She spends time perfecting new tools and gaining experience with new procedures and systems. She is a lifelong learner seeking new challenges personally and professionally. She has completed two degrees while working at MSU – one in Kinesiology and one in Communications.”

“Sandi goes out of her way to make colleagues feel valued and appreciated by sending thoughtful cards and care packages. If someone has a tough day, she is the first to reach out with encouraging words.”

“We believe that Sandi Cox exemplifies all you wish to recognize through the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award. Sandi has an outstanding work ethic, a collaborative approach, a strategic mind, and, most importantly, a kind and generous spirit that is a joy to have in our office and part of our team.”

Jill Cruth

Jill is the academic program coordinator in Fisheries and Wildlife. She coordinates the administrative functions for post-graduate academic programs, including admissions, academic advising, academic progress and graduation, and more. In her 21 years with the department, Jill has had increasingly more responsibilities, all of which are critical to the successful operation of the department. Jill is also very active in outreach and engagement at the university and within the local community. She has served on multiple committees, including but not limited to the Women’s Advisory Committee for Finance, Personnel, and Operations, CANR Staff Advisory Committee and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Graduate Committee. Here is what her colleagues had to say:

“Jill is a dedicated professional respected by faculty and adored by students. Her commitment to student success and well-being is beyond compare.”

“Jill consistently finds opportunities to improve how she does her job, which translates into overall improvement for the department. She identifies and attends appropriate professional development opportunities. Her commitment to learning on the job has been particularly evident this past year as the university continues to implement new systems such as Slate and Campus Solutions.”

Matthew Jackson

Matthew Jackson is the managing director for the Management Education Center in Troy. He manages the financial, personnel and operational activities of the Management Education Center. Matt provides outreach, engagement, and conference center services to the Detroit area business community on behalf of the MSU Eli Broad College of Business. He is the fiscal officer for the unit and leads the MEC team in sales, event management, and technical services. Matthew has served in various capacities with the facility for more than 40 years, integral to its continued transformation into one of the top meeting destinations for organizations in southeast Michigan. Here is what his colleagues had to say:

“Over the years, Mr. Jackson has developed broad expertise and deep insight into all aspects of the facility, allowing him to develop innovative solutions to the challenges of a nearly 50-year-old building. Every day, he amazes me with his dedication to excellence and willingness to go above and beyond to seek perfection in an imperfect world.”

“When he assumed leadership for the facility, he created a more open, transparent, and collaborative relationship amongst his team, which created a client-focused, trust-based environment. He has nurtured relationships with many external organizations that support the facility.”

“Matthew lifts the entire staff at MEC to excellence, and he does so by truly leading by example. His kind and hands-on approach to tackling all problems helps alleviate stress and restores calm.”

Rebecca Kegler

Rebecca is the assistant director for Recreational Sports and Fitness Services. She administers every aspect of the Group Fitness program, including up to 30 instructors at a time. She coordinates all spaces in multiple buildings and outdoors to organize a robust group fitness program of over 20 disciplines and formats. Rebecca collaborates with multiple on-campus units to reach a diverse audience of students, faculty, staff, and retirees. She has a great relationship with her peers and campus collaborators. Student organizations and academic units reach out to her for special classes for their specific populations. Here is what Rebecca’s colleagues had to say about her:

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rebecca sought and utilized shared knowledge of colleagues across the State and B1G Ten to identify and act upon the needs of the new world of Virtual Group Fitness. What resulted from this effort was a new group fitness program, Fresh Air Fitness, that used our beautiful outdoor gardens and other scenic outdoor spaces for group exercise.”

“Rebecca is a person who volunteers and expresses a willingness to undertake service to the campus community and professional organizations. She currently is a member of the MSU University Well-Being Coalition Steering Committee, which is a network of university partners working cross-functionally toward creating and strengthening a culture of sustainable and equitable health and well-being at MSU.”

Dale Schmitt

Dale is a welder II for the Maintenance Services Electrical Utility Crew in Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. His crew supports installing and maintaining high voltage cabling, street lights, and associated equipment. He could be welding a safety handrail, piping, or a football goal post on any given day. He may operate heavy equipment to dig a hole, bore in an electrical cable, jump in during an emergency to repair a water main break, or haul snow during a winter storm. Here is what Dale’s colleagues had to say about him:

“Dale possesses a unique ability to create solutions for particularly challenging projects. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences recently requested we remove a large satellite dish that collapsed. Dale was the first to come to mind for this job. He arrived and minutes later, sketched out his plan and completed it in half the estimated time. Dale takes this approach to every job. He creates solutions, finds efficiencies, and delivers excellence.”

“Dale provides excellent customer service with a can-do attitude that builds trusting relationships between building occupants and IPF. When there is a commitment to a customer, he understands the importance of their needs and strives to meet them. Dale recognizes the university is a team, and the trust he built has resulted in others eager to assist him in return.”

Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Ruth Jameyson, going “above and beyond” expectations in supporting the mission of MSU. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s pursuit of a graduate degree, while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU.

The recipient this year is Elizabeth (Lizz) Duran. She is the MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator for the Children and Youth Institute. She has been with MSU for nine years and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts from MSU in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education. Lizz is a colleague who stands out in her leadership, professionalism, and passion for community service. Her colleagues have this to say about her:

“Lizz is a reliable leader committed to providing quality programming to her community. She is responsible for a large and diverse county and has often been the only staff person in her county. During these times, Lizz successfully balances her time to engage and develop youth and adult volunteers in her county from various programs. She always goes above and beyond to make sure youth and adult volunteers have opportunities to engage in programs, training, and opportunities that fit their needs and interests.”

“Lizz is patient and persistent with her family and community partners. She remains courteous, professional, and optimistic, even through challenges. The families and partners she works with know that they can count on her presence.”

“Lizz is genuine and is a joy to be around throughout my time working with her. She creates a welcoming and friendly environment for every project we have worked on together. She is always positive and willing to help other colleagues stay motivated and forward-thinking. She is a true representation of the Ruth Jameyson Above and Beyond Award.”

Congratulations to all award winners once again for their outstanding work. MSU would not be where it is today without the help of our incredible staff. We invite the colleagues and friends of these receipts to congratulate and appreciate these individuals.

This story originally ran on the HR Source Live website.

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