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January 22, 2004

Winners of the chancellor’s awards for staff announced

Winners of the newly expanded annual chancellor’s awards of excellence for staff were announced last week.

One of the awardees will be honored posthumously.

This year for the first time two awards were offered, one for excellence in service to the community and one for excellence in service to the University. For the past six years, those two categories were merged under one award.

The service awards, open to all classified and union full- and part-time staff members who have been employed at the University for at least five years, are the highest awards that Pitt grants to staff members.

The new community service excellence award honors staff members for dedication and effort to improve the quality of life for others.

Winners of the new community service award are Bruce G. Haselrig, Karen F. Ianni, Anne M. Martin and Julie M. Seavy.

The University service excellence award recognizes individuals whose performance consistently exceeds standards and expectations set for their staff position.

Winners of this year’s University service award are David Paul Bolette, Rhett F. Kennedy, Christopher J. LaSala, Barbara J. Mowery and Kathy P. Tosh.

The awards carry a $2,500 cash prize and recognition at the annual honors convocation, to be held this year on Feb. 27. Winners’ names also will be inscribed on a plaque in the William Pitt Union.

Information on the award winners was provided by the Office of the Chancellor.

Chancellor’s Excellence in Service to the Community Award

Bruce G. Haselrig, director of the Student Union/Student Activities at the Johnstown campus, has been employed at Pitt since 1972, starting as assistant to the dean of students.

Haselrig’s civic activities have included membership in the Unity Coalition of the Southern Alleghenies, the Johnstown Citizen’s Advisory Police Review Committee, the Johnstown Advisory Council to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Johnstown branch of the NAACP (currently first vice president), the Cambria County Community Action Council, the Greater Johnstown Enrichment Program and the Greater Johnstown Minority Scholars Club.

Haselrig also has received numerous awards for his University and civic contributions. These include: the Association of College Unions International Regis Cox Memorial Award; the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education Outstanding Service Award; the NAACP Johnstown branch Adult Freedom Award; a citation from the Red Cross, Keystone chapter; the Hiram G. Andrews Center, Act 101 Program, Recognition of Service Award, and the Cambria County Community Action Council Paul Bennett Community Service Award.
Haselrig also is this year’s winner of the Johnstown campus’s President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service, which was announced in December.

Karen F. Ianni began her career at Pitt in 1977 as a secretary/receptionist in the Department of Psychology. She has served in various capacities in that department in her 25-plus years on the Pitt staff, currently serving as an Administrator II.

As a volunteer for Family House of Pittsburgh, Ianni oversees guests’ check in, assists with their daily needs and provides emotional support.

In addition, she works with other volunteer groups to organize special activities such as holiday dinners and crafts.

At St. Stephen’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Ianni has been the youth group leader as well as an instructor in music and religion. She has volunteered for Project Bundle-Up, WQED and the University’s Day of Caring.

She also has been involved with the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure since 1996, first organizing a walk team from the psychology department in honor of Debbie Baranik, a department administrator who died of breast cancer. Her service has expanded over the years and Ianni now serves as Race Day finish line coordinator.

The late Anne M. Martin, who died this month, had been a part-time employee of Generations Together for 13 years. In her position as job developer she assisted the director of early childhood programs in training low-income older adults to become certified in child development in preparation for employment in the child care field.

Martin had been active in many community organizations including the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP (assistant secretary), the Community Media organization (public relations committee), the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and the Centre Avenue YMCA.

She also chaired the annual Partner With Youth Campaign of the Centre Avenue YMCA, served as editor of the NAACP newsletter and was a docent at Carnegie Museum. She was past president of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, program chair of the Three Rivers Youth board of directors and a member of the Citizens Advisory Council for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. She was a recipient of the Outstanding Citizen Jefferson Medal for her volunteer work at the Centre Avenue YMCA.

In addition, Martin was a published poet, recently honored by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pierians. She had received the Annette Colbert Johnson Award to commemorate her dedication to the arts, and had been recognized by the Martin Luther King Reading and Culture Center for creative ability in crafts.

Prior to joining the Pitt staff, in her capacity as president of the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, she spearheaded a fund drive that contributed $10,000 to the completion of the African Heritage Nationality Room.

Julie M. Seavy began her service at Pitt in 1986 as coordinator of campaign information systems and office manager in University Relations and Development.

Currently, as director of library advancement, she is responsible for all fundraising, marketing and public relations efforts for the University Library System.

Seavy is being honored for her role with University, local and national organizations. These include the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the University Child Development Center, the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, St. Thomas More School, Magee-Womens Hospital and the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network (co-chair of the network’s 2004 national conference).

Seavy’s volunteer spirit was illustrated by one of Make-a-Wish Foundation’s most public wishes several years ago. A 9-year-old boy who fancied himself as Spiderman’s sidekick Beetle Boy wished to be a super-hero for a day. In less than a week’s time, Seavy planned an event that included the Pitt Panther, head football coach Walt Harris and hundreds of Pitt staff and students. The Panther was tied to the goal post at Pitt Stadium. The 9-year-old boy, in appropriate Beetle Boy costume, rescued the Panther to the chants and cheers of students and staff.

Chancellor’s Excellence in Service to the University Award

David Paul Bolette began his career at Pitt in 1981 in the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) as an animal care technician. Subsequently, he was promoted to veterinary health technician and later to supervisor of veterinary technical services. In his current role, Bolette manages 12 other veterinary technicians, overseeing animal health at 10 facilities.

Bolette’s supervisor Edwin Klein, associate director at DLAR, noted that “the evolution of the research support structure allowing this University to progress from a relatively small player in biomedical funding to a top 8 NIH research funded institution is due as much to his hard work, imagination, dedication and effort as to any past or current single individual.”
Bolette has become an internationally recognized expert in the field of parasitology through self-motivated research. He has published more than 20 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Bolette was invited to speak at the International Acanthocephalan Workshop in Finland in 2001. He has acted as a scientific reviewer to seven professional veterinary journals. He serves as a parasitology consultant to the Pittsburgh Zoo and the National Aviary, and has conducted numerous training labs at local and national scientific meetings.

His ongoing research work stimulates collaboration with animal rehabilitation centers, state wildlife authorities and zoos. His latest goal is to obtain funding from the National Science Foundation.

Bolette also is working to complete two textbooks, one a comprehensive taxonomic review of reptilia and another on reptile parasitology.

Rhett F. Kennedy has been employed at Pitt-Bradford for more than seven years, first as director of residential life and housing, then assistant dean of Student Affairs, and currently, as associate dean of Student Affairs and director of housing.

In his service to the University, Kennedy has made contributions beyond the scope of his position to benefit students, staff and the campus community.

Some of those contributions include: instituting the “Alcohol 101” program to provide increased awareness in the freshman class; planning and coordinated office moves for some 40 percent of staff and faculty who were displaced due to major campus construction; implementing the USA Today Newspaper Readership Program, to increase student awareness of current events; advising the Alpha Beta Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity for men and women, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Bradford Friendship Table, which provides free dinners throughout the year to the needy.

Christopher J. LaSala started his service to the University in 1997 as the director of football operations. Currently, he serves as assistant athletics director for football operations.

Beyond his job responsibilities, LaSala works to encourage student athletes and to serve as an unofficial ambassador of the University. He erected a plaque in the football complex to recognize top academic achievers among the athletes, and, similarly, he has recognized Pitt’s Big East All-Academic team members in the Hearst Academic Center.

He encourages former student athletes who did not graduate to return to school. LaSala has organized student athletes to visit Children’s Hospital and speak at many high schools and elementary schools.

One example of LaSala’s dedication are his actions last summer following the death of student athlete Billy Gaines.

LaSala contacted Gaines’s parents and greeted them at the hospital. As Athletics Director Jeff Long noted in his letter of support, “Chris could not have handled the grieving parents and siblings with any more sincerity, caring and professionalism. Chris’s conduct in the face of this most difficult situation made me extremely proud to be part of the University of Pittsburgh athletic family.”

Barbara J. Mowery started at the University in 1972 as a secretary in the College of Arts and Sciences Counseling Center. Since then, Mowery has worked her way up to senior adviser at the Arts and Sciences Advising Center. She earned a master’s degree at the School of Education, and is working toward her doctorate in education.

Mowery served as president of the Staff Association Council (SAC) for two years, served on the CERMIS committee evaluating student data systems, made herself available on evening and weekends to speak with prospective students, participated in the United Way Day of Caring and served as the United Way representative for the Arts and Sciences Advising Center.

She also volunteers to assist at all A&S events, from the summer PittStart sessions to April graduation. Additionally, Mowery serves as the A&S Advising Center’s liaison to athletic support services where she works to ensure that services are responsive to each athlete. She was chosen by her student-athlete advisees to stand with the Panther football team as a guest coach. She also is serving as adviser to the Random Acts of Kindness program.

As president of SAC, she started a book fund for undergraduate children of staff.

Patricia Beeson, Arts and Sciences associate dean for undergraduate education, noted, “Babs Mowery is one of those wonderful people whose commitment to the institution goes far beyond the employee/employer relationship. She is part of the life blood of Pitt, exactly the sort of person this award is intended to recognize.”

Kathy P. Tosh began working at Pitt in 1994 as the operating budget manager in the Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis. In 1998 she was promoted to director of budget and financial reporting. In this capacity, she continues to oversee the budget functions from her previous job, but also is responsible for all external reporting of financial results (excluding research) and the capital and tuition budgeting processes.

Tosh also coordinates the external audit, NCAA audit and the Commonwealth audit. She is the direct staff support for the parameters subcommittee of the University Planning and Budgeting Committee as well as UPBC itself.

In addition, Tosh has served on or supported numerous committees, including the committee that assesses student appeals for a change in residency, various data warehouse committees, budget process mapping and the initial NCAA recertification. She presents a budgetary overview for the semi-annual dean’s orientation held by the Provost’s office and teaches development classes that cover the University finances, financial systems and level reports.

As many noted in support of Tosh’s nomination for this award, she is a dedicated employee who works nights, weekends and holidays — cheerfully — always willing to do whatever the task requires.

Tosh’s budget and financial reporting responsibilities formerly were divided between two staff members. As Vice Chancellor for Budget and Controller Arthur Ramicone noted this “…speaks volumes about her intellect, dedication and work ethic.”

—Peter Hart

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