NESC Appreciation Award Recipients

2016-2017 | Shannon Hutton

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Congratulations to Shannon Hutton, a lieutenant with Public Safety, who was selected as the winner of this year's NESC Staff Appreciation Award! This award is presented annually to a non-exempt staff member who lives and promotes the Mission of the University.  Nominees for this award also adhere to and honor the seven convictions of the University, which include Pursuit of Truth, Academic Excellence, Faith and Reason, Dignity, Diversity, Personal Attention, and Gratitude.

Shannon was nominated by several members of the Public Safety department, all of whom gave her glowing reviews.

Dan Meuwissen, Director of Public Safety, wrote the following about Shannon in his nomination:

Shannon has direct responsibility for the actions and response of the Public Safety Officers as they integrate with the students, faculty, staff and guests of the campus. Her leadership of the field staff is witnessed throughout the campus as we build an inclusive campus, [one] that our community feels safe at and comfortable each and every day. You can see Shannon's influence at almost every special event or athletic event that is hosted.  Her tireless dedication to the university challenges her personal health but does not stop her from being front and center for all of the students. As you attend any function at the university you can look to the left and find Shannon talking to and assisting members of the community. I'd [also] like to bring to your attention her ability to work with the student to police their own actions and work together to be outstanding fans but under control of themselves.

Zachary DuBois, Public Safety, indicated in his nomination that Shannon lives out the mission and convictions identified at St. Thomas :

Shannon has always looked for ways to better our department and the university as a whole. [She] recently pushed for a 12 hour schedule for our department. This change has created a more positive work environment and has benefited many employees. This took a lot of work with various departments to implement.

Shannon [also] works with officers and student workers to help [them as they] pursue their education..[and] has taken on a mentoring role to many officers and students. [She] has [served as a] reference and helped students network within their desired field. Many students that have come through our department have life-long careers because Shannon took that extra time to assist them in locating a job, [especially by telling students what] recruiters are looking for in a candidate.

[Finally,] Shannon makes sure to go out of her way to let people know when they gone above and beyond. Shannon inspires people to do better everyday and keep people on track. She also helps people achieve their goals each year.

Public Safety officer Colleen Fixsen had particularly wonderful comments about Shannon, who is her supervisor:

Shannon brings her years of street and personal experience to bear in her leadership content and style. Her dealings with her staff are respectful, forthright, honest and tailored to encourage and engage us all. She allows each individual the latitude to bring their own skills and abilities to the table while actively encouraging growth and mastery. Her expectations of Public Safety Officers, which she models through her own deeds as well as through directives, are clear and absolute: a high level of professionalism in our approach to all UST contacts and the public; a high level of service to all UST contacts and the public; honesty and the maintenance of dignity in our dealings with every situation and person no matter their attitude toward us; a vigorous search for facts and truth which is communicated clearly and dispassionately. Shannon shows her appreciation for the efforts of her officers frequently. The fruits of her efforts are clearly evident in the quality, dedication, and high level of engagement of her officers at every level.‌

2015-2016 | Dennis Hollie

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Congratulations to Dennis Hollie (Physical Plant), this year's winner of the NESC Appreciation Award.  Dennis was nominated by several people in the Catholic Studies Department; below are some of the fine statements that were submitted.

We would also like to congratulate Tanisha Andrews, Henry Bishop, Jim Johnson, Lori Koneczny, Andy Leet, Diane Stahl, Anna Theisen, Kathy Tischler, and Josephine Visser, who were also all nominated this year.

Watch a video about Dennis and read the wonderful testimonials provided by Catholic Studies staff and students below.


I have seen Dennis in action for the last 5 years at Catholic Studies. One year of that was as a student and the remaining as an employee. Dennis has consistently had good cheer, a dedicated attitude and efficient work in each of those years that he has been here. His joy has been benefitted by both the staff of Catholic Studies and the students that encounter him! He absolutely deserves this award! --Alessandro Marchetti

Dennis is a cheerful and conscientious member of our team. In particular, I note his care with the winter snow removal; he always makes sure that all the walks are cleared promptly and very thoroughly. This helps keep all of us (particularly our mobility-impaired students) safe. --Erika Kidd

. . . the joy he spreads each morning in preparing our offices and classrooms with a warm smile, genuine greeting, and a sporting spirit that reflects the same dedication and fatherly heart that he shows on the court each day coaching his son's team. --Ann Marie Klein

Dennis Hollie is a kind and friendly person. The pride he takes in doing his work well is inspiring. It shows up in the general look of our building and in the small details as well.  I look forward to seeing Dennis every morning. More than once he has said just the right thing, made a joke or made a thoughtful comment that stuck with me through the day.  Who doesn't appreciate Dennis?  Thanks to him, Sitzmann Hall shines! --Jeanne Buckeye

When I think of Dennis I am reminded of Corinthians 12:12: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. Dennis reminds me that we all have a particular part within the body of Christ. It is not so important what exactly our part is but that we do our part well so that the body may function as one. Dennis models this point in scripture with his excellent and consistent work ethic and humble and positive attitude. His ability to do his job well helps us all as we aim to do our jobs well. He is a kind man with a great sense of humor and has always been very pleasant to be around. I am grateful to Dennis for all his hard work in creating a beautiful environment for us to work in. --Gaby Arguello Quillan

Since Dennis Hollie has become our regular maintenance person at Catholic Studies he’s become an integral part of our team. His work is impeccable and he has amazing attention to detail. What makes Dennis so outstanding is that he goes above and beyond the normal duties of his job. When we have special events he puts in an extra effort to make everything look amazing and flow smoothly. Often we consult Dennis when planning our events and he is able to help us fine tune the details and offer suggestions to make our events successful. We know he is a devoted husband and father and we feel lucky to have him at Catholic Studies. --Mary Kay O’Rourke

When I think of Dennis Hollie, I think of Mother Teresa’s reminder to us all of the significance of doing small things with great love. He does hundreds of small things for us at Sitzmann Hall that ensure this building remains a place of transformative beauty and love. There was a lot of cleaning and rearranging of furniture for a recent event that we had, and it was such a relief for me to know I had a partner like Dennis to help me. He cared just as much as I did about making the space welcoming and beautiful. --Jessica Zittlow Aleman

Dennis is one of those employees you never want to lose.  He has a servant's heart and he genuinely cares about the environment he takes care of.  We are blessed to have him. --Mike Naughton

We are fortunate to have someone like Dennis working with us. He puts his heart into everything he does (his work, his family, the children’s basketball team he coaches …); he does it all with joy and he does it well. --David Foote

Dennis does an outstanding job! In over 30 years at St Thomas, I have never been supported by anyone better in his position. His work is excellent (I wish I did all my work as well as he does) and he is unfailingly cheerful. Simply a joy to have around. We’re very grateful for the ways in which he keeps us clean and orderly. --Bob Kennedy

Everyone’s comments are great. I would just add that he is genuine. There were a few times when his father passed away that we talked about loss and the like. Even in the midst of this he paid attention to details and brought himself to his work with a real integrity. I really admired that. --Elizabeth Kelly

Dennis is a gem. I hope that he knows that we appreciate the great work he does, his kindness, the way he anticipates our event needs, his humor and just being an all-around great guy to work with! --Maureen Huss

Dennis makes UST a better place to be. He is warm, friendly, caring, and always takes a minute to talk about basketball, our kids, our families. And he does so even though his own work, of which he is rightly proud, is more difficult and taxing than that of most other members of the UST community. He is a gem. --Billy Junker

2014-2015 | Julie Kimlinger

Congratulations to Julie Kimlinger, this year's winner of the NESC Appreciation Award.  Julie was nominated by Dan Gjelten of the UST Libraries. We've included part of Dan's nomination letter below. 

We congratulate Henry Bishop, Doug Brown, Janet Gould, Carmen McGahey, Maureen Murphy, Brittany Tupa, Colleen Utecht, and Reggie Wright who were also nominated this year.


Dan Gjelten wrote, in part:

Julie’s contribution to the Libraries’ work for over 25 years has made a huge difference for us. Neither her official title (Administrative Assistant III) nor her working title in the Library (Library Coordinator) do any justice to the kind and amount of work that she does.  The new academic library is an important cultural and community space on campus.  In her role supporting that part of our mission, Julie plans many events over the course of every academic year (including concerts, readings, exhibits and others) which require her to work collaboratively with others from all across the UST community (and in the larger neighborhood) and which expand the libraries’ reach to help make us a cross-disciplinary cultural and community center on campus.  Just to mention one, she works all year on recruiting readers for our annual Poetry on the Patio event, now in its 18th year, and one of my favorite annual events.  I am very proud of the role that the Libraries play as a community space on campus, and Julie is mostly responsible for our success in that area.

In other Library related activities, Julie is very involved in the work of our marketing, space and communications groups in the Libraries – any concerns that come up related to this large building we operate in ends up with Julie and she manages them very capably (they pop up nearly daily.)  The fact that our building is clean and safe is largely due to Julie’s attention.  She also is very involved in getting the Libraries’ messages out to the public, and writes regular blog posts about our activities.  This year, she is involved in a (CLIC) consortial level working group intended to improve our marketing efforts.

Julie has also contributed to the larger UST community in her work on the Non-Exempt Staff Council (as you know) as well as working with students on their events, working on the Neighborfest event, the artsound series of lecture/concerts by the Music and Art History departments, the UST Children’s Holiday party and more.

Naturally, her primary responsibility - support for me, my colleagues and all others who use the library - is of the highest quality and such that we depend on her.  She understands the UST community and she knows how to get things done quickly and efficiently – and often creatively.

It may be Julie’s welcoming, kind and generous manner that sets her apart from all the other great employees at UST, however.  I have never, in my nearly 40 year career, worked with a kinder and more loving colleague.  There is no distinction for Julie in her treatment of anyone who comes to the office, whether they are a student, a faculty member, library staff, a vice president, a neighbor, an alum.  Everyone is warmly welcomed and made to feel important.  Neither does she draw a line between what are “professional” concerns and what are personal concerns.  She really cares about the whole person in anyone she meets.  She embodies a kind and welcoming spirit and has positively influenced the atmosphere in the library for all who work here and visit.

2013-2014 | Nancy Bruggeman

Congratulations to Nancy Bruggeman, this year's winner of the Staff Appreciation Award.  Chris was nominated by two members of the UST community, Ken Goodpaster and Carol Wilkie. We've included part of those nomination letters below. 

We congratulate Henry Bishop, Rebecca Chinn, Alex Kisitu, and Pat Quale, who were also nominated this year.


Ken Goodpaster wrote, in part:

Nancy Bruggeman advances the University’s mission and convictions in her daily work on campus in so many ways.  But in the spirit of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet, “Let me count the ways!” 

  • UST’s mission emphasizes the Catholic intellectual tradition and its emphasis on developing morally responsible leaders who work for the common good.      
  • Volunteer involvement beyond the job, within or outside the University
  • Life-long learner/active participant
  • Helping and welcoming others
  • Nancy’s relationship building skills are second to none.  
  • Helps to create a positive culture.
  • Is Nancy Bruggeman a “go-to” resource, an “unspoken hero”?  If you were to take a poll in Terrence Murphy Hall, I predict that the answer would be a resounding “Yes!”

As to whether she adheres to and honors the seven convictions of the University, there is no doubt whatsoever:

  • Pursuit of truth – Nancy’s advice and counsel, when sought by me or by my Research Associate, is candid and perceptive.
  • Academic excellence – See the items listed under the first bullet point of this nomination form: “University mission. . .”
  • Faith and reason – Nancy appreciates both faith-based and philosophy-based approaches to business ethics in the classes I teach, the articles I write, and the lectures I give in venues outside of St. Thomas.
  • Dignity – Nancy not only comports herself with dignity, she treats others with dignity and respect, whether they be custodians or the Provost or the President of the university.
  • Diversity -- In her volunteer work with Loaves and Fishes.
  • Personal attention – item #3 above under “Helps to create a positive culture” reflects the kind of personal attention and empathy that Nancy regularly brings to her work.
  • Gratitude – At the end of each day, I try to catch Nancy before she heads for home just to say “Thanks” for what she has done during the day.  I’m often amused (and amazed) by her response:  “You’re welcome – but thank YOU too!”

I have had the privilege of working with Administrative Assistants and other staff for 25 years here at St. Thomas.  No one that I have known during that time has contributed more to the positive spirit of UST than Nancy Bruggeman.


Carol Wilkie wrote, in part:

I had the opportunity to work with Nancy in the Development department, where she worked for many, many years before moving back to OCB and supporting Dr. Goodpaster. For many of those years, I also served as Nancy’s direct supervisor. I consider Nancy a colleague, a friend and a mentor. She represents all that is good and humble about the human spirit and, for that reason, she quietly leads us all to a higher standard, in a calm and Mother-Theresa-kind of way. But perhaps the best way I really “know” Nancy is by observing her interactions, support and friendship toward other people. She is exactly the type of employee we want at St. Thomas – totally knowledgeable about her job, mindful of her impact on others and a highly-contagious carrier of mission-centered spirit. 

Interestingly, I think Nancy would consider the UST campus community and the external community as one in the same. She regularly gives of herself in community service (Loaves and Fishes, etc.). I have no doubt that the qualities you read about above would be exhibited in the same way toward the greater community.

Knowing Nancy has made me a stronger, gentler, humbler, kinder and all-around better person. I will be forever grateful for her friendship and can think of no better person to receive the Non-Exempt Staff Council Appreciation Award.

2012-2013 | Chris Igielski

Congratulations to Chris Igielski, this year's winner of the Staff Appreciation Award.  Chris was nominated by two members of the UST community and we include their letters below.  The first is from Bob Werner, Geography Department.  The second is from Andy Leet, English Department. 

We congratulate Lori Seavers and Henry Radford Bishop, who were also nominated.

Bob Werner shares this about Chris:

Chris has worked at St. Thomas for 20 years.  She was the Administrative Assistant for the departments of Economics, History, Political Science, and the Division of Social Sciences from 1993-2000.  From 2000-2013, she has served as the Administrative Assistant for Geography, History, and Political Science, including the programs those departments administer, which has at times included: Justice & Peace Studies, Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, and the Division of Social Sciences.  This position also includes a myriad of specific things, like orchestrating the details of the annual Havel Symposium, the History Department’s “Beyond the Classroom” speaker series, capstone seminar presentations, and the African-American history poster sessions.  The positions she has held here are Administrative Assistant I (1993-1996) and II (1997-2013).

Chris has considerable volunteer involvement within UST.  She was the UST Staff Council chair for four years and a member of Staff Council for six.  She served on the UST Mission Statement Task Force, the Bunch Who Lunch (a lecture/discussion forum that included faculty, which she co-organized for a number of years), and the University Committee on Women (as the Staff Council representative) and on the Open Doors campaign for staff.

Chris has always fostered connections among faculty and staff.  For example, when a new professor or instructor comes to the fourth floor of JRC, she ensures that members of other departments know who this person is, to welcome them and to support our community here.  Various faculty have asked her to make minor edits to their books and transcribe their interviews.

She continually monitors UST events, circulating information among the faculty, putting up posters, and letting faculty know if there is an event that aligns with their interest.  Chris is also deliberate in celebrating achievements of faculty, announcing their publications and making us aware of lectures they give or things they have accomplished.  She certainly fosters a community of respect and dignity.

The atmosphere on the fourth floor of JRC is congenial, thanks in large part to her efforts.  People’s attitudes and respect for one another are one of the most important factors contributing to job satisfaction, and certainly Chris is a big part of that.  I think that everyone who works on the fourth floor is happier knowing that they work in an environment where they respect and value one other.  That in turn affects, in some hard-to-measure-way, longevity of work, teacher’s attitudes toward students, and quite possibly, the quality of their teaching too.

David Kelley, the Geography Department chair, wrote in her last annual evaluation “Because of her many years of experience as our administrative assistant, she is able to anticipate deadlines and plan for the variety of projects and reports that need to be completed at the department level on a regular basis.”  He also writes that she stays ahead of all of her responsibilities.

Everyone in the three departments she works for recognizes her contribution to the collegial atmosphere we have.  That is partly responsible for her being awarded the Commendation Merit Award “in recognition for outstanding accomplishments” for 2002-03 and 2008-09.

Everyone who works here knows that if you give Chris a task that you can let it go, because she will follow up on it without fail.  In my 10 years in JRC, I have never known a single day when she had anything less than a positive attitude.

She also has an intuitive way of giving personal attention to any student, staff, or faculty member.  This is again something hard to provide data for, everyone on this floor would agree about that.  David Kelley, again from last year’s annual report, writes “one personal contribution for which we are grateful – and there are many – is Chris’s sense of hospitality”…and that her “acts of kindness, big and small, are a great help to faculty morale.”

Outside of UST, she has long served her parishes.  She was a lector at Transfiguration parish (Oakdale) for 25 years.   There, she was on the Home and School committee, chair of the Fall Festival, and active on the Liturgy Committee, Women’s Bible Study Group, the School Board, and Faith Formation (religious education for Junior-High students).  At various times, she has volunteered at Loaves and Fishes, Feed My Starving Children, and Habitat for Humanity.  She and her husband Tom now are members of St. Ambrose of Woodbury, where she serves as lector.

Chris currently participates in a Just Faith program at St. Ambrose, where the group reads and discusses service to the community as well as justice and peace issues.  She has attended a wide variety of lectures at UST.  She has taken Leadership Academy courses, typically about management and personnel issues here on campus, as well as a variety of IRT courses.  She gathers JRC fourth-floor faculty together for monthly birthday celebrations and invites us all to her home at the end of spring semester.  These activities very much help us to know one another.

Andy Leet shares this about Chris:

When I think of someone who wholeheartedly lives the mission of university and creates a sense of community on campus, I think of Christine (Chris) Igielski, who will be retiring at the end of this academic year after working at UST almost twenty years,  first for the Social Science Division and then for Geography/History/Political Science when those departments moved to the John Roach Center for the Liberal Arts in 2000.

According to Catherine Cory, chair of the History Department, Chris is an exemplary administrative assistant who is both a calming presence and unflappable: 

Chris is amazing!  She serves several departments on our floor and always has a smile and pleasant word for everyone, even when we are all asking for help at the same time.  She has an almost infinite amount of patience and she manages to deal with lots of interruptions from students, faculty, and department chairs all day.  Best of all, she has a wonderful gift of creating community through all the little things she does like bringing a snack for folks to share and remembering people's birthdays.  We have been so lucky to work with her.

Chris has served on staff council for three separate two-year terms and served as staff council president four of those years.  Part of her duties with the council involved serving as the liaison with the university Committee on Women and as one of two staff council representatives on the mission statement task force when that met in 2004.  In addition to serving on univeristy committees, Chris has also been an active force for good in the College of Arts and Sciences.  For numerous years, she was the volunteer scheduler for the display cases on the first floor of JRC - an important coordinating role that involved sending out email messages to College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) administrative assistants, encouraing them to highlight their departments' work and/or student projects.  She also recently joined other CAS staff members to put together a yearly calendar of CAS administrative assistant duties for a CAS BlackBoard site.  When it comes to volunteering for projects that fall outside of her regular duties, Chris is often one of the first people in line.   She really naturally feels the call to serve.

Closely related to this volunteerism one finds that community and hospitality are also important to Chris, whether it be inviting administrative assistants in JRC to share a brown bag lunch together.   She always brings something to share, too, stopping by an office to say hi and ask how things are going, attending lectures on campus or attending a staff awards ceremony to suppor those being recognized for years of service.

Closely aligned with these tenets of volunteerism,  community and hospitality is Chris' connection with her Catholic faith and her awareness of social justice issues, something that was reinforced by her participation in a Catholic social teaching class taught by Dr. Bernie Brady as part of the Leadership Academy program a few years ago.   At her home parish she currently serves as a lector and in a previous parish she was a Eucharistic minister, a youth minister, an organizer of the annual church festival, and a participant in a Habitat for Humanity project.  As a precursor to her upcoming retirement, she is currently participating in the JustFaith program, which is "a 30-week process that empowers participants to develop a passion and thirst for justice, and prepares them for the work of social ministry."

One could go on and on talking about Chris' positive outlook and ready willingness to pitch in when it comes to a tough project but I'll conclude here by reaffirming my choice to nominate her for the Staff Council Appreciation Award.  Her dedication and service to the university's mission, the people of the university community, and those outside of UST are admirable and deserve to be recognized.  She will be missed when she retires!

2011-2012 | Jane Jackelen

Jane Jackelen received the 2012 Nonexempt Staff Council Appreciation Award at this year’s Staff Appreciation Breakfast March 28. The award is presented annually to an hourly staff member in recognition for living and promoting the mission of the University of St. Thomas.

Jackelen is a member of the Alumni and Constituent Relations administrative staff. She was nominated for the award by a colleagues, Colleen Casey Simonson, manager, Constituent Relations. 

In her nomination, Casey Simonson mentioned that “Jane’s gregarious and cheerful personality lends itself to excellent working relationships throughout the university. She is the face and voice that our constituents and alumni hear when they call or stop in the office for event information. She is always ready and willing to serve as a resource.”

In addition to her work for the university, Jackelen is an active member of her parish, Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville, and involved in many parish projects: the Pelican Rapids confirmation retreat; the annual, weeklong missionary visit to Guymas, Mexico; as well as raising funds for the God’s Child Project in Guatemala. She also leads a group for youth aged 15 to 20 that provides a nonthreatening environment for young people to talk about their spiritual life and also participate together in service projects benefiting the broader community. 

“Jane’s concern is not for herself but for others. She does not seek the spotlight but rather celebrates the accomplishments of others,” Casey Simonson remarked. “She is a shining example to all of us and a gift to St. Thomas.”

2010-2011 | Jeanne Parsons

Jeanne Parsons received the 2011 Nonexempt Staff Council Appreciation Award at this year’s Staff Appreciation Breakfast April 27.  The award is presented annually to an hourly staff member in recognition for living and promoting the mission of the University of St. Thomas.

Parsons is registration coordinator for all on-campus programs in the College of Applied Professional Studies, which includes the School of Education as well as Graduate School of Professional Psychology. She was nominated for the award by one of her colleagues: Jackie Grossklaus, department assistant in Leadership Policy Administration. 

In her nomination, Grossklaus mentioned that Parsons “works in an office where I am not certain how she gets anything done as there is always constant interruption.”  But Parsons always takes the time to “lend a smile and an ear to listen.”

Parsons responsibilities include entering all courses into Banner, working with students regarding registration as well as ensuring their academic program is on track for timely completion, providing training to others within the department and is said to handle all “proficiently and professionally.”

“Jeanne has been serving the university community for more than two decades,” remarked Dr. Chris Vye, associate dean in the College of Applied Professional Studies and Parson’s direct supervisor. “She embraces complexity and challenge in her day-to-day work, which exemplifies the excellence we aspire to at St. Thomas.”

2009-2010 | Helen Hunter

Helen Hunter received the 2010 Nonexempt Staff Council Appreciation Award at this year’s Staff Appreciation Breakfast March 31. The award is presented annually to an hourly staff member in recognition for living and promoting the mission of the University of St. Thomas. Previous award recipients are Mary Jean Loomis (2006), Mary Kay O’Rourke (2007), Pat Alexander (2008) and Barb Dunker (2009).

An administrative assistant since 2005 in St. Thomas’ Office for Mission and Office of Institutional Diversity, Hunter was nominated by for the award by one of her colleagues: Dr. Lawrence Potter, executive director and chief diversity officer. Her other “boss,” Father John Malone, vice president for mission, presented the award.

Formerly a secretary in the joint Social Work Department of the College of St. Catherine and what was then called the College of St. Thomas, Hunter began her academic career in 1983 at St. Catherine’s. She became a St. Thomas employee in 1984. After eight years in the St. Thomas social work office, she moved to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, where she worked until 2005.

In his nomination, Potter noted Hunter’s “impeccable organization skills, effective interpersonal skills and a great sense of humor.” He cited her leadership and support with two programs organized by the Office for Mission, Welcome Week and Heritage Week, along with her “impeccable customer service.”

“Time and time again, UST community members and visitors comment on how they appreciate Helen’s generosity and smiling face,” Potter wrote. “She is always enthusiastic about new opportunities to learn skills that will enhance her working relationships with others … . I have found Helen to be an inspiration to faculty, staff and students.”

Sharing her time and talents beyond the office, Hunter has been a volunteer visitor to UST international students and helped at numerous weekend projects and programs on campus and in the community. “Helen is truly an exemplary employee when it comes to giving back,” Potter added.

It probably would not surprise people to know that Hunter has been a teacher at a Catholic elementary school (St. Mary’s in Winona) as well as a secretary to a parish (she was the first parish secretary at St. John Neumann in Eagan) and companies in Chicago and the Twin Cities. She brings skills from each role to her job at St. Thomas.

At the Staff Appreciation Breakfast she told a story about one of those previous jobs ­­– as a church secretary some 25 years ago. She invited a certain priest to apply to be pastor of the parish. He turned her down because he was going to become pastor of the Basilica of St. Mary. The priest? Father Dennis Dease, who would next become president of St. Thomas.

“Over the next 18 or so years, he turned me down to be his secretary no less than three times,” Hunter said. “I recognized a ‘good thing’ 25 years ago, and I haven’t changed my mind.”

Was she disappointed he never hired her as his secretary? “Not anymore,” Hunter said. “I never would have gotten to work for Father Malone – and he’s terrific!”

Hunter and her husband of 42 years, Ned, are parents to two adult children and live in Inver Grove Heights.

2008-2009 | Barb Dunker

Congratulations to Barb Dunker, who received the 2009 Staff Council Appreciation Award at this year's Staff Appreciation Breakfast on March 31. The award is presented annually to an hourly staff member "in recognition for living and promoting the mission of the University of St Thomas."

On behalf of the UST community, NESC extends its gratitude to Dunker for everything that she has done to promote the mission of the university and for being a role model in her effort to "educate students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good."

2007-2008 | Pat Alexander

Congratulations to Pat Alexander, who received 2008 Staff Council Appreciation Award at this year's Staff Appreciation Breakfast on April 15. The award is presented annually to an hourly staff member "in recognition for living and promoting the mission of the University of St. Thomas."

Alexander has been a member of the St. Thomas community for nine years, working in both the Luann Dummer Center for Women and the Center for Faculty Development. In her acceptance remarks at the Staff Appreciation breakfast, Pat thanked her colleagues and friends for making St. Thomas a very special place to work: "I have discovered that we have a very dedicated group of people connected with St. Thomas. You are loyal, hard-working and committed to the mission of the university and your actions are reflected not only in your service on the campus but to the community in general."

Outside of St. Thomas, Alexander is an active member of Hamline United Methodist Church and serves as the chair of the Church and Society Committee, the active service outlet for the church, which works with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Paint-a-Thon, and the Dorothy Day Center. Susan Anderson-Benson, who works in the Center for Senior Citizens' Education, nominated Alexander: " Pat was the first person outside of my department that I met when I arrived at UST … . When [Pat] learned I was a knitter, she invited me to join the campus Yarn Tamers group, which I did once I was settled into my position."
Anderson specifically noted how Alexander's leadership of Yarn Tamers promotes the university's mission: by promoting interaction and support between the faculty, staff and students as they work on personal and group projects; by continually reaching out to others both within out outside the UST community to join Yarn Tamers; and by choosing an annual cause for the group to support with their knitting and crocheting handiwork. Anderson-Benson also said she has appreciated "Pat's skillful coordination of events under the women's center's auspices."

On behalf of the UST community, NESC extends its gratitude to Alexander for everything that she has done to promote the mission of the university and for being a role model in her effort to "educate students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good."

2006-2007 | Mary Kay O'Rourke

Congratulations to Mary Kay O'Rourke, recipient of the 2007 Staff Council Appreciation Award. The award was presented at the staff appreciation breakfast on April 17. This award is presented annually to an hourly staff member who lives and promotes the mission of the University of St. Thomas.

O'Rourke, program coordinator for the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought, started at St. Thomas in August 1999 as an administrative assistant for Catholic Studies. For several years she also worked as circulation manager for the journal Logos.

Kathy Fell nominated O'Rourke for this award. In her nomination statement, Fell recognized some of the things that O'Rourke does within the St. Thomas community: "As coordinator of the Ryan Institute conference in October in Rome, her attention to the needs of all those participating was appreciated and acknowledged by the over 250 people attending from all over the world."

Fell also recognized O'Rourke's volunteerism in her parish church and the local community, from supporting a children's orphanage in Cuernavaca, Mexico, to assisting the Latino scholarship students by establishing a support group for Hispanic women who are new to the country and need empathy in their adjustment to a new culture. In addition to several other volunteer activities, O'Rourke served on the board of the Guadalupana Residence, a residence for Hispanic people in transition.

2005-2006 | Mary Jean Loomis

Congratulations to Mary Jean Loomis, recipient of the 2006 Staff Council Appreciation Award. The award was presented to Loomis at the Staff Appreciation Breakfast April 5. This is the first year this award was presented. In the years to come, it will be presented annually to an hourly staff member “in recognition for living and promoting the mission of the University of St. Thomas.”

Loomis has been a member of the St. Thomas community for 26 years. For more than 24 years she was an administrative assistant for seven different directors or associate deans in the College of Business. In 2004, she started working part time as the administrative assistant for the executive director in Alumni and Constituent Relations. In her acceptance remarks at the Staff Appreciation breakfast, Loomis noted how appropriate it was to receive this award during "Gratitude Week" an expressed her appreciation for everyone in the UST community, stating "what a blessing it was" in her life. Loomis concluded her talk with a quote from Mother Teresa.

Three UST community members nominated Loomis for this award. In her nomination statement, Helen Hunter noted that: "[Mary Jean Loomis] is one of those people who does the little things that make the world and St. Thomas a better place." Marie Klein concluded her nomination statement with: "Mary Jean's personal dedication to the truth as well as her gratitude for belonging to the UST community makes her a perfect candidate for this award." Barb Dunker nominated Loomis because: "There is no one who is a better 'ambassador' for this institution... who better to create and leave our alums and other constituents with a positive, good feeling about UST."

On behalf of the UST community, the Staff Council extends its gratitude to Loomis and all of the award nominees for everything that they do to promote the mission of the university and for being a role model in its effort to "... educate students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good."