Five honored with annual Staff Awards at Thursday assembly

Winners for 2021 are Sean Umansky (IT), Paula Gratton (Campus Store), Joel Ribout (Facilities), Jane Eustace (Registrar's Office) and Tacy Lincoln (Athletics)

September 10, 2021
Staff report

During a Staff Assembly the morning of Thursday, September 10 – attended by many Saint Michael’s staff members in-person in the McCarthy Recital Hall and by scores more via Zoom – community members heard the announcement of this year’s annual staff award winners following remarks from President Sterritt and other College leaders and Staff Welfare Committee members.

Here are this year’s winners.

The Unsung Hero Awards, given to a member or members of the staff who “diligently, wisely, efficiently, and humbly, not for recognition or praise, but because of integrity and purpose. This recipient is a team-player, a quiet leader, not often (if ever) seen in the spotlight, who profoundly makes our community stronger.”

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Shawn Umansky

Winners: Shawn Umansky, Assistant Director of IT Data Center. The citation stated: “Shawn has been part of our community for almost 10 years, always working tirelessly behind the scenes in IT, and now, with staff reductions and work flow changes, his colleagues share that his quiet leadership has been an important part in the stability of IT service on our campus … Shawn is an incredibly kind and humble presence, patient and calm. He has great organizational skills, shows attention to detail, and goes above and beyond, when asked, and when not asked.”


Paula Gratton is congratulated as an Unsung Hero by presenter Anna Lester at Thursday’s assembly.

Paula Gratton, Customer Service, Campus Store. According to the citation, “For more than 25 years now, those who enter the Campus Store in Alliot have been greeted with the warm, authentic kindness of Paula. Customer Service is her title, but she has represented so much more in her role. Whether greeting students and asking them about their days, conversing with prospective students and sharing why they will love St. Mike’s, taking orders from student families and alumni alike, finding just the right item to meet their needs. Paula will remember your uncle’s name, your mom’s illness, the class you were struggling in, what newspaper you read, what snack you like.  If you know Paula, you are KNOWN in the most beautiful way.” And, “It is fair to say Paula brings customer service to a whole new level – she is friend, confidante, cheerleader, counselor to those who encounter her on a regular basis.”

The (Buff) Lindau Leadership Award, given to “a member of the staff who is seen as a relationship-builder and servant-leader; one who offers space for various perspectives and encourages collaborations. Named in honor of Buff Lindau, one of the first female leaders of the College who spent 40 years building and nurturing relationships to share the stories of our community, this recipient embodies the understanding that leadership is grounded in respectful relationships, honest communication, and hospitable inclusion.”


Joel Ribout

Winner: Joel Ribout, director of facilities. The citation noted, “Almost a decade of service with our Facilities department, first as our architect and assistant director before becoming Director, Joel’s roles have him working across departments, establishing relationships with his clear knowledge, approachability, and sense of humor. Joel’s ability to listen with an effort to truly understand leads to thoughtful responses that make a difference.” And, “Cited also for his leadership during the COVID pandemic, organizing safety protocols throughout campus, Joel collaborated in a response that was both efficient and attentive to the varying needs of the College. He listened, researched, and responded as part of a team.”

The Edmundite Founders’ (Seed-Planter) Award, given to “a member of the staff who thinks creatively, outside-the-box, and very often ‘plants seeds’ that flourish. Named in honor of the small group of Edmundite founders who took a farmhouse and created a transformative, educational institution, this recipient thinks thoughtfully and critically, with equal parts intellect, heart, and faith, resulting in impact both big and small.”

Jane Eustace

Jane Eustace

Winner: Jane Eustace, Course and Registration specialist. The citation stated: “More than 20 years in the Registrar’s Office, Jane’s behind-the-scenes-leadership has planted many seeds, supporting process and systemic changes to best meet the needs of our students and faculty. She cares deeply about how her efforts impact others and time and again will go beyond to get a job done, a need met, a question answered.” Also, “…throughout last year, she had to reconfigure classrooms space and class modes with COVID restraints. She has always been incredibly responsive to needs and requests, and last year, despite increased needs and requests, she still managed to respond with care.”

The (Fr. Maurice) Ouellet Service Award, given to “a member of the staff who is dedicated to service and committed to justice in the St. Mike’s community or broadly in the wider community. Named in honor of Maurice Ouellet, SSE,’48 the first director of the Student Resource Center, who fought for justice as he served in Selma, AL during the civil rights movement and closer to home when he returned to campus, this recipient is an example to others of action, dedication, humility, and authentic presence in service to our world.


Tacy Lincoln

Winner: Tacy Lincoln, recently retired Associate Athletic Director. The citation noted: “Tacy arrived at St. Michael’s not so long ago, but from the start, it was clear she had always been a Purple Knight at her core, committed to the vision set forth by Fr. Ouellet of dedication and authentic service to others …Tacy was set to retire in June of 2020, but held off for a year, understanding the needs of her colleagues and the College.” It further noted the award recognized “her clear dedication to our students and entire community, for her humble, holistic approach, and for… her tireless work in service of others.”

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