Uncommon Achievements

There are many "unsung heroes" in the college who demonstrate extraordinary dedication and deliver outstanding performance every day. This year, four of the best received "uncommon recognition" for their "uncommon achievements."

Chancellor's Staff Award

Mary Martin has brought "competency, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and dedication to every task every day," for the ten years she has worked at Commerce Career Services. This year, her outstanding performance was publicly recognized when she received the Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award for 1999-2000. Her boss and nominator, Lois Meerdink, assistant dean for CCS, said in her nomination, "Mary consistently exercises superb judgment, organizational, interpersonal, and time-management skills. She carefully thinks through the necessary processes and procedures for completing a task before jumping into action. Because of this thoughtful, thorough approach to projects and tasks, she is efficient in her execution of all of them. She handles assignments well the first time and is very accurate and precise in her attention to detail."

"Mary is professional and personable in every way as she meets with students, staff, faculty, college and university administrators, corporate representatives, alumni, parents, prospective students, and the general public. Approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students register annually with CCS and between 500-600 employers recruit business students on campus each year. Thus Mary has extensive contact with a variety of clientele.  Her representation of the unit, college, and university are stellar."
In serving as the CCS liaison with student organizations that sponsor the twice-yearly Commerce Career Fairs, Mary Martin really shines. "Mary has provided the guidance and coordination that bring students together and help them run a highly professional, extremely successful fair semester after semester," wrote Alice Waldoff, director, Commerce Publications and advisor to Commerce Council, one of the sponsoring organizations. "These fairs are truly team efforts and Mary is the coach . . . . The more I work with Mary Martin and observe how she interacts with recruiters and students, the more my admiration grows."

In response to receiving this award, Mary was characteristically modest and thoughtful. "I really think this award should be shared by everyone in the office; we all work together as a team and I could not do what I do alone," Mary told InSight. "And, I feel privileged to have been able to work with the kids, especially those I've gotten to know through the Career Fairs. I feel reassured that the future will be secure in their hands."

Mary Martin with Chancellor Aiken

The Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award is given annually to seven members of the university staff in recognition of the important contributions they make to all aspects of university life on a daily basis. Competition is fierce, especially in the secretarial category. Recipients were recognized at a banquet on March 28th, and Mary Martin was again recognized at the Commerce Awards Banquet on April 30. The names of these award winners are placed on a permanent plaque in the Personnel Office. Each recipient also receives a personal plaque and a check for $2,000. Mary Martin is the second person in the college to receive this award. Connie Shaw, from the Department of Business Administration, is a previous winner.


CBA Academic Professional Award

The college is pleased to announce that Valerie Berry (MBA '93) has been awarded this year's Commerce Academic Professional Award. Berry, who is administrative database administrator in CBA's Office for Information Management (OIM), has worked for the college for ten years. She joined OIM as a software consultant while also a student in the Illinois MBA program and, after graduating, became a full time staff member. In 1994 she was promoted to manager of administrative DBMS and in 1995 she assumed responsibility for the research services group as well.

Presented by the Commerce dean, upon recommendation of a special committee chosen by the Commerce Academic Professional Advisory Committee (CAPAC), the award recognizes outstanding performance. What follow are some selections from the nomination letters for Berry, showing the high caliber of her work and the esteem in which she is held.

"Her biggest impact is on the college's two main administrative systems: the Comprehensive Career Services System (CCSS) and the Student Tracking and Request System (STARS). Both are crucial systems which cannot be allowed to fail . . . . These systems are innovative and unique products which provide the means of delivering service to Commerce students."

Val Berry
"Val and her group are responsible for building, maintaining, and supporting most of the administrative databases in the college, for maintaining the large, research-related business databases, and for developing new research-related software programs. The work she does is critical to the mission of the college. Keeping these databases operational at all times is a demanding, tedious, and, quite often, thankless task, especially in a resource-poor environment, where the burden falls on a small number of individuals. Under Val's leadership and personal example, her small group provides that service admirably."
"In every organization there are those few who set the tone and atmosphere, carry the load, and quite often are unsung heroes. Val Berry is the unsung hero of OIM. Her dedication to her job, her rapport with the college staff and faculty which she serves, her leadership in managing her group, and her superb relations with her colleagues within OIM are among the reasons for OIM's success over the past five years."

CBA Outstanding Staff Award

Congratulations to Sharon McLeod, who has been recognized with the CBA Outstanding Staff Award. McLeod, who is administrative aide for the Department of Accountancy, has been on the Commerce staff for thirty-three years. Having begun her university career as a stenographer in the accountancy secretarial pool, she was promptly promoted to supervisor. The retirement of a long-time departmental secretary, Mildred Brumfield, created an important vacancy and an opportunity for McLeod, who became departmental secretary. She performed her new responsibilities well, gaining the respect of each of the department heads whom she has served. As a result of her excellent performance, her abilities, and her willingness to take on additional responsibilities, she was promoted to staff secretary, and then to administrative secretary: she now holds the title of administrative aide. Highly valued by the faculty and staff for her thoroughgoing familiarity with university, college, and departmental procedures, she is also esteemed for her organizational, managerial, and supervisory skills. Her exhaustive knowledge of the Department of Accountancy has made her an invaluable staff member, as have her consistently positive attitude, good cheer, and friendliness.

Sharon McLeod


Emerson Cammack Award

Winner of this year's Emerson Cammack Outstanding Service to Under-graduate Students Award is Alice Waldoff, director of the Commerce Office of Publications. Waldoff, who has worked for the college for over twenty years, has given long, faithful, and varied service to the undergraduates of CBA, proving a resourceful and tireless advocate on their behalf. Her achievements have included helping start and serving as advisor to the Council of Presidents, launching the annual Commerce Awards Banquet, and instituting the yearly Club Officers Luncheon for the student leaders of CBA. Since she became advisor to Commerce Council in 1993, it has grown into CBA's premier student service organization, providing major support of Commerce Career Fair and of Winter and Spring Convocation, as well as funding a college-wide scholarship and an extra ordinary range of service initiatives. "For Alice, as with all truly caring advisors, there is no arbitrary line between professional support and personal concern," noted one of the letters nominating her for the award. "Rather, she has assumed the role of mentor, whose involvement with her students ranges from faithfully attending club meetings and helping develop innovative ideas for new initiatives, to offering encouragement and help to students in times of stress or crisis."

Alice Waldoff