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University recognizes staff and faculty at year end ceremony

2015 Teaching and Advising Award winners Monica Brown (right) and Kristine West.
2015 Teaching and Advising Award winners Monica Brown (right) and Kristine West.
Photo by Julie Michener.

St. Catherine University acknowledged employees with years of service awards and also presented Staff of the Year and Faculty Teaching and Advising awards at the annual end of year event in Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium. More than 55 employees were recognized for their years of service to the University — several with up to 35 years of dedication to the University.

Staff of the Year Awards

Staff of the Year awards are presented to professionals for exemplary service, professionalism and contributions to the campus community. Candidates are nominated by colleagues and following nominations, staff members campus-wide submit letters of support. A committee comprised of past winners and campus leaders makes recommendations to University Cabinet for the final decision.

The 2015 Staff of the Year award in the Service-Support category was presented to Katherine Goldenstein, administrative assistant in the O’Neill Center for Academic Development.

Colleagues’ support letters describe her as a “day brightener,” a “calming influence,” and “the face of the O'Neill Center.” She was recognized for creating an invigorating and uplifting environment for students, faculty, and staff at the University and for her demonstrated commitment to the St. Catherine values of social justice and caring in everything she doe.

Staff of the Year awards in the Administrative category were presented to D’Ann Urbaniak Lesch, assistant director of the Office of Community Work and Learning, and Kelly Povo '09, chapter relations coordinator in the Alumnae Relations Office.

Lesch was recognized for her energy, creativity and leadership in developing partner relationships and student employment opportunities for the University. She has also presented at regional and national conferences on civic engagement and student leadership.

One supporter wrote, “I am a better person because of my relationship with D’Ann. She models a strong work ethic, justice and Catholic social teaching principles on a routine basis, serving as a constant reminder to me to be the best I can be.”

Kelly Povo '09 was honored for the positive way she represents the University and for her concerted efforts to create programming that connects alumnae back to campus. She is in constant contact with more than 120 chapter leaders leaders across the country and was recognized for her responsiveness to alumnae needs. Colleagues also praised her for her willingness to step up to help with campus events.

Teaching and Advising Awards

The St. Catherine Teaching and Advising Awards recognize faculty members for their commitment to teaching, mentoring and advising students. Colleagues nominate candidates and the selection committee reviews nomination letters, letters of support, course syllabi and materials and course evaluations.

This year’s Teaching and Advising Award winners were Assistant Professor of Mathematics Monica Brown and Assistant Professor of Economics Kristine West.

The selection committee described Assistant Professor of Mathematics Monica Brown as a powerful role model and accomplished mathematician. Faculty colleagues compare her to legendary mathematics and physics professor Sister Seraphim Gibbons, CSJ, who inspired countless students to pursue advanced degrees and careers in mathematics. Brown’s students describe her as a gifted teacher and mentor who cares deeply about cultivating their mathematical imaginations and aspirations.

Assistant Professor of Economics Kristine West was praised for the significant impact she has made mentoring students and rejuvenating the Economics Club as its faculty advisor. Described as an empowering, dedicated, generous and passionate professor, West has reworked her research agenda to accommodate students as collaborative research program partners. She is also dedicated to helping students harness the power of economic knowledge to change the world.

New Presidential Honor

President Andrea Lee, IHM presented a new honor this year during the ceremony. The President's Award for Exemplary Service went to Paul Hunter, a member of the grounds crew on the University's St. Paul campus.

Following the awards ceremony, faculty and staff joined students out on the University’s Quad for Dew Drop Bop, the annual end of the academic year celebration. They enjoyed carnival rides and games, food and music. Organized by the St. Kate’s Activities Team, this year’s event featured musical performers Whosah and The Millennium as well as dance performances by the St. Kate’s Hip Hop Club.

May 15, 2015 by Julie Michener

See also: Alumnae/i, Faculty, Leadership