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December 6, 2001

Winners of chancellor's award for staff honored at reception

Five winners of the annual Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for University of Pittsburgh Staff Employees were honored at the long-term staff recognition reception last week. (See pages 8 and 9 for long-term staff acknowledgments.) This year’s winners are Janet “Dolly” C. Biskup, administrative assistant in the Office of the President, Greensburg campus; Louise M. Gargis, petty cash custodian in the Student Payment Center of Student Financial Services; Margaret L. Jonnet, administrator I in the Katz Graduate School of Business; Monika L. Losagio, administrative assistant in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures, and Deborah L. Walker, a community relations/crime prevention specialist on the University Police force.

The service award, the highest award that Pitt grants to staff members, honors staff who demonstrate dedication to their units and community service beyond their job responsibilities.

This year, 25 staff members were nominated. The selection committee was chaired by Robert G. Houston, business manager and interim director of judicial affairs in the Division of Student Affairs.

There are two main criteria for the staff service award, according to guidelines issued by the chancellor’s office. First, candidates must demonstrate “a consistent pattern of extraordinary dedication to the University above and beyond the candidate’s job responsibilities.”

Second, the candidate must demonstrate voluntary service activity at the University or in the local community or with professional organizations.

The award carries a $2,500 cash prize and acknowledgment at the annual honors convocation. Winners’ names will be inscribed on a plaque in the William Pitt Union.

Biskup has been a Pitt staffer since 1979, when she worked at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She transferred to the Greensburg campus in 1980.

According to the award selection committee, Biskup was instrumental in administering the BASH (business after standard hours) program, a Greensburg/Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce program held at the Greensburg campus.

Also at Greensburg, Biskup is a member of a group that is creating a quilt to chronicle the ongoing history of UPG. She is an active fund-raiser for the Frank Tosatto and Guy Rossetti memorial endowments at Greensburg.

Biskup also is active with local charities, such as the Westmoreland County Food Bank, the Salvation Army’s Adopt a Family Program, Scouting for Food and the American Heart Association, as well as with her church.

Gargis, of the cashier’s office, has been at Pitt since 1994. As a staff member on the frontline of student financial services, she has advised thousands of students and parents on financial aid matters.

She also has been active in the United Way and Scouting for Food campaigns and is a seven-year member of the Pitt Volunteer Pool.

Among her activities in the community, Gargis served on the board and as president of the Elizabeth Seton Elementary School Parent-Teachers Guild for nine years, and has been affiliated with the Girls Scouts of Western Pennsylvania for 17 years.

Jonnet, of the Katz school, has worked at Pitt since 1969. She has been a member of the Katz Participation Team (KPT) since its inception in 1987. KPT is a group of Katz school employees who meet voluntarily to discuss work problems, analyze causes and recommend solutions, as well as implement activities for the enjoyment of fellow employees.

According to the staff award selection committee, KPT has recommended several actions that resulted in increased efficiency at the Katz school.

An avid bird-lover and nature enthusiast, Jonnet is a member of several community organizations, including the Greater Pittsburgh Cage Bird Society, the Erie Cage Bird Society, the Greater Pittsburgh Cactus and Succulent Society and the Greater Pittsburgh Water Garden Society. She has established an adoption program for unwanted cage birds.

Losagio serves as the administrative assistant to the French and Italian department’s chairperson.

The selection committee cited Losagio as “a family member away from home for the department’s graduate students.” Her volunteer positions include adviser to the Italian Club and secretary/treasurer for the Italian Nationality Room committee, where she is active in raising scholarship money.

She has served as a United Way representative for 11 years and is active with her community’s Cub Scouts.

Lasagio earned her Bachelor of Arts at Pitt in Italian and business administration in 1987, the same year she joined the Pitt staff.

Walker of the campus police came to Pitt as a guard in 1983. In 1984 she was promoted to police officer and since 1999 has served as a community relations and crime prevention specialist.

Walker has helped develop several crime prevention programs in the department, including Operation Campus Watch and the Residence Officer Program. She helped initiate the FBI-sponsored Adopt-a-School Program, which takes crime prevention education into local public schools.

Walker has contributed time and effort in support of Milliones Middle School, Upward Bound, the NAACP, the Hilltop Partnership Initiative and the Oakland Business Improvement District.

Her volunteer efforts include America’s Promise, the Colonel Colin Powell Initiative, the Urban League and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

The selection committee also cited Walker’s “dedication to helping to provide safe avenues for disadvantaged women and children.”

Walker earned her B.A. through Pitt’s College of General Studies and is enrolled in the master of public policy management program at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, specializing in nonprofit management.

— Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 34 Issue 8

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