2021 Employee Recognition Ceremony

2021 Employee Recognition Ceremony

SRU recognizes employee service with virtual presentation


April 22, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Even though Slippery Rock University cannot host a large gathering to celebrate employee service because of COVID-10 safety protocols, there are still meaningful contributions that are deserving of recognition. In lieu of its typical Employee Service Recognition ceremony, SRU has posted a video presentation on its website to recognize employees, celebrate milestone work anniversaries, and acknowledge the six recipients of the 2021 President's Awards for Outstanding Service.

"We don't see our colleagues in the hallways or around campus as much as we once did due to the pandemic, but their presence and contributions are still felt every day," said SRU President William Behre. "Our employees make our University strong and help our students thrive. We thank them for their continued service, and we especially recognize and are grateful for those employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year."

A total of 111 SRU employees are celebrating either their 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th or 35th work anniversaries at the University in 2021, including seven who started at SRU in 1986.

Here are reflections from each of the seven 35-year employees on the occasion of their work anniversary about what makes SRU a special place and/or why they enjoy working at The Rock:

  • Carrie Birckbichler, chief data and financial officer: "At SRU, all of us -- faculty, staff, and executive leadership -- work every day to create a truly caring community where our students and employees can realize their highest ambitions. In my years in many different roles at the University, what I have appreciated most is that this commitment to our community is universal, professional and intensely personal. We believe in our students and our ability to make a difference in their lives, and there is no greater reward than watching our graduates walk across the stage and into their futures as successful graduates of this great institution."
  • Carrie Kerr, clerk typist in the Residence Life Office: "The main reason I enjoy what I do at SRU is all about the students. I've enjoyed working with student employees in the various departments I've worked in, talking to them in an office setting and via phone calls. It's satisfying to see them grow in their journey as students at SRU and beyond graduation, as I've maintained connections with some of them over the years."   
  • Marcy Leeds, professor of public health and social work: "My favorite part of working at SRU is and has always been the students. They are wonderful. They are compassionate, sincere and appreciative. The students are who convinced me to accept my job offer 35 years ago, and they are the reason that I continue to work at SRU today."
  • Jeff Messer, head baseball coach: "The plan was to work at SRU for a few years and move on to greener pastures. Despite opportunities, it became apparent SRU was the right place to raise our family. Looking back on all the support, from five presidents, two athletic directors, as well as working with all the student-athletes and the friendships I've made, it was a great decision (to stay at SRU)."
  • John Papa, head track and field and cross country coach: "I love coaching track and field and cross country at SRU. I get to witness student-athletes forge lifetime skills such as teamwork, leadership and commitment. The Rock has grown in size, strength and stature in the past 35 years, and SRU is truly a great place to be for faculty, staff and students."
  • Amanda Yale, chief enrollment management officer: "SRU is a special place because it is filled will people who authentically care about our students and their success. I enjoy immensely working with the staff and faculty, and most of all, our students. Every day brings forth different experiences and new opportunities. The Rock is the type of institution that changes the trajectory of our students' lives. I was a first-generation college student from a single-parent family, so I know firsthand the value of a caring community and the impact that it can have on students as they progress toward achieving a degree and reaching their goals and dreams. Our faculty and staff are truly interested in making difference in the lives of our students. This is what makes SRU a special place."
  • JoNell Yard, fiscal technician supervisor in the Student Accounts Office: "I have worked at SRU in the same area for more than 35 years because the work is always different and exciting. It's rewarding to know you are helping students and parents, and I have been fortunate to work with wonderful people and have had many good mentors. I learn something new every day and I love to work."

The achievements of the recipients who earned the 2021 President's Awards for Outstanding Service where announced last month. They included Scott Albert, assistant vice president for facilities, planning and environmental safety; Erik Anderson, technology services manager; Kris Benkeser, director of student health services; Henry Magusiak, director of enterprise technologies; Rebecca Morrice, associate professor of theatre and department chair; and Windy Stafford, director of emergency management and University investigator.

The following are the milestone service award recipients (name and department):

10 Years

  • Melanie Anderson, Accounting, Economics and Finance
  • Bob Bibler, Enterprise Application Support
  • Genevieve Bordogna, Global Engagement
  • Aksel Casson, Nonprofit Management, Empowerment and Diversity Studies
  • Rhonda Clark, Management and Marketing
  • Kris Daugherty, Heating Plant
  • Richelle Dykstra-Crookshanks, Nonprofit Management, Empowerment and Diversity Studies
  • Susan Elwell, Planning, Resources Management and Assessment
  • Matthew Erikson, Special Education
  • Jane Hale, Counseling and Development
  • Danielle Haney, Academic Records and Registration
  • Kayla Hersperger, Enrollment Management
  • Brock Jensen, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences
  • Martin Jones, Facilities and Planning
  • David Kershaw, Political Science
  • Sarah Kuehn, Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Stephen Larson Healthcare Administration and Information Systems
  • Fadoua Loudiy, Strategic Communication and Media
  • Sunita Mondal, Accounting, Economics and Finance
  • Germaine Newstrom Secondary Education
  • Jeananne Nicholls, Management and Marketing
  • Amanda Nichols, Payroll and Student Employment
  • Paul Novak, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Timothy Oldakowski, English
  • Heather Rice, Political Science
  • John Rindy, Career Education and Development
  • Ashlea Rineer-Hershey, Special Education
  • Brian Ringler, Facilities and Planning
  • Timothy Ruppert, English
  • Kurt Schimmel, Management and Marketing
  • Mike Sommers, Facilities and Planning
  • Tom Sparrow, Philosophy
  • Jonathan Tomko, Enterprise Application Support
  • Steven Verba, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences
  • Matt Williams, Facilities and Planning

15 Years

  • Erik Anderson, Technology Support Services
  • Melissa Barber, Biology
  • Stephen Barr, Music
  • Angela Bernardo, Safety Management
  • Kathy Blair, Occupational Therapy
  • Karin Brown, Campus Recreation
  • Maria Cortijo, Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Dennis Daniels, Heating Plant
  • Greg Ferguson, Student Health Services
  • David Frohnapfel, Chemistry
  • John Golden, Healthcare Administration and Information Systems
  • Dennis Hemphill, Facilities and Planning
  • Yukako Ishimaru, Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Angela Johnson, Facilities and Planning
  • William Jordan, Athletics
  • Justin Kleemook, Residence Life
  • Suna Kline, Facilities and Planning
  • Ginny Kopko, Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • Pam Mibuck, Facilities and Planning
  • Donald Mong, Healthcare Administration and Information Systems
  • Susan Patton, Payroll and Student Employment
  • James Preston, Elementary Education and Early Childhood
  • Katrina Quinn, Strategic Communications and Media
  • Paula Rieder, History
  • Youngyol Schanz, Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Cynthia Schnur, Geography, Geology and the Environment
  • Marketa Schublova, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences
  • Nancy Shipe, Physical Therapy
  • Eric Tuten, History
  • Jennifer Upton, Facilities and Planning
  • Terry Webb, Facilities and Planning

20 Years

  • Jonathan Anning, Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences
  • Kathy Burton, Mailroom
  • Aping Chen-Gaffey, Library
  • Brian Crow, Sport Management
  • Warren Davidson, Music
  • Vonda Kuhn, College of Health, Engineering and Science
  • Chris Leininger, Parks, Conservation and Recreational Therapy
  • Kathy McKee, Facilities and Planning
  • Kevin McLatchy, Library
  • Joseph Merhaut, Special Education
  • Lyn Miller, Mathematics and Statistics
  • Mark O'Connor, Human Resources
  • Gordon Phetteplace, Theatre
  • Cathy Sadler, Residence Life
  • Jennifer Sanftner McGraw, Psychology
  • Judy Silva, Library
  • Jeff Smith, Physical and Health Education

25 Years

  • Mimi Campbell, Residence Life
  • Joanne Leight, Physical and Health Education
  • Shelly Miller, Information and Administrative Technology Services
  • Randy Nichols, Physical and Health Education
  • Ursula Payne, Dance
  • Sunita Peacock, English
  • Kurt Pitluga, Art
  • Erica Scott, English
  • Tim Smith, Physical Therapy
  • Michael Stapleton, Geography, Geology and the Environment
  • Steve Strain, Biology
  • Glenn Utsch, Music
  • Michael Vigliotti, Residence Life

30 Years

  • Simon Beeching, Biology
  • Colleen Gray, Music
  • Nicole Habbyshaw, Facilities and Planning
  • Susan Kushner, Academic Services
  • Bob Ogoreuc, Physical and Health Education
  • Sam Thangiah, Computer Science
  • Deborah Whitfield, Computer Science
  • Kim Zedreck, Graduate Admissions

35 Years

  • Carrie Birckbichler, Finance
  • Carrie Kerr, Residence Life
  • Marcy Leeds, Public Health and Social Work
  • Jeff Messer, Athletics
  • John Papa, Athletics
  • Amanda Yale, Enrollment Management
  • JoNell Yard, Student Accounts

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854  | justin.zackal@sru.edu