Outstanding employees recognized at Staff Service Awards event

Four outstanding staff members were recognized last week at the Staff Service Awards brunch for their contributions to the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland communities.

Theresa Grigger, Amy Hammett and Gene Matthews received the President’s Award for Distinguished Service, while Clifford Gregory earned the inaugural Blue Star Award.

President’s Award for Distinguished Service
The President’s Award for Distinguished Service is an annual award that honors up to three staff members whose contributions to the campus culture have a transformational effect on university colleagues, students or visitors with whom they come into contact. The honorees each received a $1,000 award, and their names will be engraved on a plaque on display in the Adelbert Hall quad-side foyer.

Announced by the Staff Advisory Council Staff Recognition Committee, the President’s Award for Distinguished Service was created in honor of Roseanne Shaerban (1958-1989), a university employee whose qualities and commitment set a standard for distinguished service. Shaerban’s family, friends and co-workers remember her for the care, concern, loyalty and support she demonstrated to the university community.

More than 3,000 employees were eligible for nomination. This years nominees also included Rachel Begley, Susan Brill, Cindy Creegan, Jennifer Hawkins, Benjamin Margevicius, Gina Midlik, Brinn Omabegho, Curtis O’Neal, Venus Puliafico, Tom Rask, Cynthia Stilwell and Tracy Wilson-Holden.

Amy Hammett (left) and Theresa Grigger (right) stand with President Barbara R. Snyder (center) at the Staff Service Awards. Photo by Eric B. Photography.

Theresa Grigger, department assistant III, Information Technology Services
In Theresa Grigger’s nearly 24 years at Case Western Reserve University, she has proved integral in many projects for Information Technology Services (ITS) as well as the entire campus community.

As one of her nominators explained, Grigger is known throughout ITS—and beyond—for being “loyal, trustworthy and well respected… [She is] the one person everyone can count on.”

When her department recently went through a significant reorganization, Grigger helped smooth the transition for her colleagues; ITS later recognized her contributions with a departmental Employee of the Month award.

The longest-standing member of the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), she has served from 1995–2004 and 2006–present. Grigger regularly participates in efforts to improve the experiences of her fellow employees. She’s active in fundraising efforts for SAC, such as bake sales and basket raffles, as well as weekend activities benefiting staff members, such as Steps for Staff, a walk she helped coordinate to benefit the Staff Educational Enhancement Fund.

No matter what the task is, colleagues say Grigger always gives 100 percent. “Theresa goes the extra mile and is not content with just OK,” another nominator wrote. “I see her always striving to do more, do better.”

Amy Hammett, university registrar
In 2008, Amy Hammett led the implementation of the new Student Information System (SIS)—an enormous undertaking that has transformed the daily life of the Case Western Reserve University community.

In this project, a nominator wrote, Hammett  “expertly guided the university through one of the biggest change management and business process re-engineering initiatives it has ever undertaken.”

Though the project required her to focus on meeting the broad, long-term needs of the university, Hammett always remained cognizant of the program’s day-to-day users: the faculty members and students of Case Western Reserve. As one nominator noted, “Amy is always listening to the concerns raised by students and faculty and asking how we can use SIS to make their lives easier.”

While her effect on student data collection is undeniable, perhaps even more pronounced is her impact on colleagues, both within her department and across campus. Hammett’s nominees reflected on her leadership skills, commitment to integrity and open-minded, caring nature as qualities they admire and aspire to achieve.

As one nominator noted: “It is clear that her work has transformed the university in many significant ways.”

Gene Matthews, director of facilities services
Since joining the university in 1998, Director of Facilities Services Gene Matthews has worked tirelessly to make Case Western Reserve more energy efficient and sustainable. From helping to erect the wind turbine near the Veale Convocation and Recreation Center to installing solar compacting garbage bins across campus, his efforts can be seen nearly everywhere—if you’re looking.

“Much of Gene’s benefit to [CWRU] is invisible to most members of the CWRU community,” one nominator wrote. “His impact happens under our feet, above our heads and behind walls and locked doors.”

But Matthews’ dedication to campus has not gone unnoticed; earlier this year, he won the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, recognizing his efforts to help students find solutions to energy challenges on campus.

In addition to his caring nature, razor-sharp mind and commitment to Case Western Reserve’s community, Matthews’ sense of humor and energetic attitude are well known to his colleagues near and far. His outgoing personality connects with people at the university as well as across Northeast Ohio, a nominator said.

“Gene is humble, often making jokes at his own expense, and has a heart the size of the North Residential Village,” one wrote. “Gene’s one of the good guys, through and through.”

Blue Star Award

The Blue Star Award is the first award of its kind from the university and it recognizes a staff member whose actions demonstrate extraordinary courage in service to others.

Clifford Gregory, custodial services
It’s not often that a trip to the gas station results in heroic actions, but that’s precisely what happened when Clifford Gregory took a university vehicle up the road for a fill-up. Gregory, a custodial services employee who joined the university 35 years ago, saw a man grab a female customer’s purse. He immediately leapt into action, pulling the man off of the woman and pinning him down until authorities arrived.

His fearless efforts have earned Gregory the inaugural Blue Star Award, recognizing a staff member whose actions demonstrate extraordinary courage in service to others.

Gregory joined the custodial services department in 1977. From then through to today, he has worked under the direction of Joe Cooper.

“That’s his nature to do something like that,” Cooper said. “He’s a solid team worker.”