Upbeat virtual ceremony honors retirees and long-serving employees

More than 100 Zoom in while paying tribute to revered colleagues reaching milestones; President Sterritt praises "a determination to educate young people"

May 26, 2021
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

LorraineMore than 100 Saint Michael’s community members gathered virtually on Zoom Friday afternoon, May 21, to honor valued colleagues’ retirements and years of service. They testified to a legacy of perseverance and joy in the enterprise of education, despite recent challenges of a pandemic.

“We’re here to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our colleagues who are moving into retirement, and to recognize the commitment of other colleagues marking very significant anniversaries here at the College,” said President Lorraine Sterritt near the start of the Zoom.

She said that working in higher education generally – but over the past year in particular — has required “both perseverance and a capacity for joy in these hard times and an ability to see when the cup is half-full.” The president said she appreciated everybody’s good humor through such trying times. To her, those gathered represented “a determination to educate young people in order “to enhance the lives of all the people around them,” she said.

Father Michael

Fr. Michael Carter, SSE ’12 offered an opening prayer.

Edmundite Fr. Michael Carter ’12 offered an opening prayer near the start, saying of the honorees, “Their spirit talents generosity imagination and dedication reaffirm our fellowship and create our beloved community.”

Kendra Smith ’09, director of human resources, who officially hosted the event as virtual emcee, read from PowerPoints listing employees noting five-year increments of service. She explained that since no such event was possible last year at the height of the pandemic, those who reached milestones in both 2020 and 2021 were part of this year’s program. In normal years, community members gather in person on campus for a live event to note these milestones. (See lists for years of service at end of story following retiree honors). Part of Friday’s program was a touching video assembled by Human Resources staff, with images from this past challenging year set to reflective music (see opening image of that video below left).

Kendra

Kendra Smith ’09, director of Human Resources, hosted Friday’s employee recognition event.

A centerpiece of the program, which lasted about 90 minutes, was the recognition of retirees, many with words of praise and appreciation from colleagues. Here is a list of those retirees. Brief words or thoughts from colleagues follow the names for many, though not all had the text to share afterward; other honorees could not participate or chose not to be so publicly honored. Watch a video of the Zoom session at this link to hear more details of tributes and view the full ceremony, using this passcode: #gf6eGHa

Diana Hoppe, graduate psychology administrative assistant (24 years): David Boyton from psychology read words from Ron Miller proclaiming that Hoppe was “totally reliable in both her work and social awareness. Working for the College with all her heart. A pillar of strength” and a person who went out of her way to be kind to all.

Doug Facey, biology faculty (30 years): Colleague Mark Lubkowitz said Facey is “ever-wise, pragmatic and a center stone of the Biology Department.” He added that Facey has been a generous mentor and a talented problem-solver “who brings a student-centered lens to all solutions.”

Lorrie Smith, English faculty (34 years): Colleague Christina Root praised Smith’s “fluent and elegant” prose, “whether in an article on feminist poetry or the poets of the Black arts movement.” But her dedication to students was the most central part of Smith’s teaching, Root said before sharing some fun facts: “Lorrie’s sensibility was partly formed by having had Bruce Springsteen perform at her high school prom!” Root said — and, since those days, SMith has loved music and poetry as it connects to social action and resistance – particularly Bob Dylan. Root appreciated Smith’s generous hospitality to all, and thanked her for “tireless dedication to all aspects of your work at the College.”

Tacy Lincoln, Athletics staff (6 years)

Karen Talentino, environmental science/studies/biology faculty, former vice president for academic affairs (13 years): Professor Lubkowitz of biology said Talentino “left some thoughtful footprints on our campus …. but her passion has always been students and the environment.” He noted how the former VPAA powered student research to new heights, developed the major Academic Symposium as a venue for students to share works, brought important Commencement speakers to campus as VPAA, and “held fast to a guiding principle that what is best for the students is what is best for Saint Michael’s.”

Susan Ouellette, history faculty (23 years)

Liz Inness-Brown, English faculty (31 years): The words of colleagues shared by Kendra Smith told of Brown being “an exemplary teacher, advocate and mentor for students” since 1988, noting, “Armed with faith in the power of language to illuminate, query, shape, and inspire, she understood that attentiveness to detail and the courage to revise were integral components of meaningful discovery.”

video start

This image opened a touching video featuring photos of the past challenging year on campus, created by Human Resources staff.

Lloyd Simons, mathematics faculty (33 years): Colleague Jim Heffernon from the mathematics department spoke of Simons’ “love of intellectual life, love of mathematics and love of teaching.” He noted his colleague’s years as department chair and coordinator for engineering, as well as his work on countless College committees as a “pragmatic voice of reason.”

Ronald Begley, classics and philosophy faculty (34 years)

Dan Evans, Applied Linguistics faculty (34 years): Longtime colleague Mahmoud Arani told how Evans was asked to direct the English Language Programs for a decade “because of his incredible managerial skills, teaching and Peace Corps experiences.” Arani reviewed the many achievements of Evans through three-plus decades of serving students from around the world, saying to colleagues “He has always been a source of calmness and reassurance” and always willing to help.

Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Applied Linguistics faculty (35 years)

John Izzi, philosophy faculty (36 years)

Ron Miller, graduate psychology faculty (37 years)

George Dameron, history faculty (38 years): Kathryn Dungy, chair of history, spoke of Dameron’s strength as a colleague, scholar and person (more on Zoom recording).

Richard Gamache, applied linguistics faculty (50 years): Colleague Mahmoud Arani called Gamache “the heart-center of the applied Linguistics Department” for nearly 50 years. Everybody who has passed through the department’s programs remembers Gamache fondly, he said, adding that the retiree’s greatest achievement was in the area of student advising, which perhaps accounted for his always-crowded office. Arani reviewed the many key roles through many decades that Gamache has played at the College, not least of which was “just being there” for students and alumni in big and small things.

Al Sutton, technical trades (40 years): Joel Ribout from Facilities called Sutton “The go-to-guy within Facilities. He has the knowledge and capacity to do what is needed and is happy to do it … he is whatever the College needs him to be,” informed by a lifetime of experience, while remaining ever humble, Ribout said.

Joyce Stowell, library acquisitions clerk (45 years) – Library Director Laura Crain called Stowell “quiet, ship smart and easygoing,” working behind the scenes with the one goal of purchasing and delivering what people need, when they need it. Crain said Stowell shows great skill and patience in locating items for people while staying right on budget. The director said her colleague loves literature and film and can apply new technologies and train others well, while bringing an “easy laugh, institutional knowledge, wisdom and kindness” to her work.

together

Another slide from the video that participants saw, of COVID testing volunteers from last years with the words “Together We Serve.”

Years of Service

The employees being honored for Years of service were read during the Zoom by HR Director Kendra Smith as she showed PowerPoint slides (she noted that certificates are being sent to honoree’s homes along with gifts in some cases).

Years of Service Being Recognized from 2020:

5 Years: Kristyn Achilich, environmental studies/science/Farm; Rachael Allen, IA; Douglas Babcock, public safety; Alessandro Bertoni, marketing & communications; Timothy Dusablon, academic technology; Ruth Fabian-Fine, biology/neuroscience; Erik Haversang, fire service chief; Pauline Jennings, fine arts/theater; Jacob Joseph, admission, Sarah Klionsky, counseling; Christopher Lei, IT/MarCom; Tacy Lincoln, athletics; Ryan Long, physical services; Barbara O’Donovan, mathematics/engineering; Joel Ribout, facilities; Michaela Rivers, IA, Scott Robar, dispatcher; Janel Roberge, VT EPSCoR,, Shirley Sebo, welcome center; Laura Singer, graduate education; Jamie Slater, library; Tom VanDzura, business/accounting; Benjamin White, applied linguistics; Laura-Jean Wolf, facilities.

10 years: Angela Armour, alumni/parent relations; Jamie Benson, public safety; Kathleen Butts, counseling; Jonathan D’Amore, academic affairs; Meggan Dulude, athletics; Kathryn Dungy, history; Martha James, custodian; Angus MacLeod, athletics/ alpine ski head coach; Maria Sciancalepore, classical/modern languages/literature; Melissa Tourville, business/controller office; Adam Weaver, biology.

15 years: Andres Correa, custodian; Jeffrey Gosselin, custodian; Kristen Juel, classical/modern languages/literature; Ari Kirshenbaum, psychology; Elizabeth Peterson, education; Anthony Richardson, psychology; Heidi St. Peter, academic affairs.

20 years: Alain Brizard, physics; James Byrne, religious studies; Maria Rinaldi, admissions; Jeffrey Vincent, student life.

25 years: George Ashline, mathematics; Steven Doyon, business/accounting; Kristen Hindes, library; Megan Ohler, student life; Raymond Patterson, religious studies; Jane Viens, academic affairs.

30 years: Doug Facey, biology (retiring); James Hefferon, mathematics; Elizabeth Inness-Brown, English; Naomi Shapiro, graduate psychology.

35 years: John Izzi, philosophy (retiring)

45 years: Joyce Stowell, library

Celebrating 2020 retirements during Zoom recognition event: Lorrie Smith, English and Diana Hoppe, graduate psychology administrative assistant.

2021 Years of Service anniversaries recognized:

5 years: Alaba Apesin, business/accounting; Mallory Breiner, fine arts/art, Erin Grainger, fine arts/music; Amy Knight, education; Bhuttu Matthews, counseling; Ken O’Connell, student veteran services; Steven Ragno, technical trades/HVAC; Lauren Read, marketing & communications; Amy Redman, sociology; Joan Robinson, graduate education; Trevien Stanger, environmental studies/sciences; Theresa Stimson, MJD; Ryan Swisher, biology, John Tapper, education.

together stronger

Another image from the program proclaiming “Together We Are Stronger.”

10 years: Christina Chant, chemistry; Brian Collier, fine arts/art; Clarita Concio-Pinga , study abroad; Emily Copeland, English, Sean Dailey, applied linguistics/intensive English; William Ellis, fine arts/music; Joshua Kessler, athletics communications; Michael LaPierre, trades: HVAC and electrician; Brian McCarthy, fine arts/music; Laura Stroup, environmental studies and sciences; Pater Vantine, classical/modern languages and literature; Shelley Vermilya, gender studies; Dennis Wolcott, custodian.

15 years: Allison Cleary, MJD; Peggy Imai, study abroad; Katherine Kirby, philosophy; Mark LaFountain, custodial supervisor, Shane Lamos, chemistry, Crystal L’Hote, philosophy; Timothy Mackin, academic affairs; Molly Peters, athletics/ Nordic ski/cross-country coach; Jen Purcell, history; Ella Shortsleeves-Becker, custodian; Warren Sides, mathematics; Melissa Tomasulo, psychology; Patrick Walsh, economics, Eben Widlund, adventure sports.

20 years: Valerie Bang-Jensen, education; David Boynton, psychology, Allison Close, mail clerk; John Devlin, fine arts/theater; Mary Beth Doyle, education; Bret Findley, chemistry, Traci Griffith, MJD; Angela Irvine, advancement; Brian Lee, student life; Mark Lubkowitz, biology, Declan McCabe, biology, Tara Natarajan, economics/dean; Elizabeth Scott, library/archives; Lori Usle, custodian.

25 years: Laura Crain, library; Fr. Brian Cummings, Campus Ministry; Mark Hagerstrom, custodian; Todd Johnstone Wright, undergraduate endorsement programs, Adrie Kusserow, sociology/anthropology; Sherry Pachman, classical/modern languages/literature; Laurie Savage, staff accountant in business office.

30 years: Mahmound Arani, applied linguistics, Peter Harrigan, fine arts/theater, Richard Kujawa, geography; Antonia Messuri, academic support; Susan Summerfield, fine arts/music.

35 years: Christine Bauer-Ramazani, applied linguistics (retiring); John Hill, special events; Reza Ramazani, economics; Alayne Schroll, chemistry; Leslie Turner, academic enrichment.

40 years: Alan Sutton, technical trades

50 years: Richard Gamache, applied linguistics (retiring)

In wrapping up, Smith from Human Resources said she hoped the community could gather in person next year to honor retirees and years of service.

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