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Excellence Awards

Excellence in Professional Service 2005

The excellence in Professional Service Award recognizes individuals who have repeatedly sought improvement of themselves and their campus, and have transcended the normal definition of excellence.

Vincent T. FranconereVincent T. Franconere
Vincent T. Franconere, director of Environmental Health and Safety, oversees the comprehensive risk-based emergency management programs that ensure that the academic, residential, and work environments of this campus are free of all safety hazards.

Leo Neveu, associate vice president and controller, attests not only to Franconere's commitment to safety and excellence, but to the high quality of his professional skills, integrity, and leadership: "Indeed, Vinnie is an unsung hero at the University ... Anyone who knows him has great confidence in his mastery of his profession and the currency of his knowledge."

Steve Beditz, associate vice president for Human Resources, adds: "I believe that few people appreciate the extraordinarily complex safety and reporting requirements that must be strictly adhered to, and which enable our faculty and graduate researchers in the sciences to do their work. From obvious materials such as radiological isotopes to much more mundane materials, all must be handled and disposed of in a highly controlled manner."

Kathryn Lowery, vice president for Finance and Business, and Franconere's immediate supervisor, values him as a critical member of the division who is a role model to young professionals, a valued colleague to his peers, and a great mentor to his staff. She noted, "At a time when there is such attention to compliance issues, the campus can always be certain that the area of Environmental Health and Safety is well represented by Vinnie Franconere. In short, he is one of the University's most valuable resources."

Catherine MurrayCatherine Murray
Catherine Murray, assistant to the chair of the psychology department, was described as follows by department chair and Collins Fellow Elga Wulfert: "Ms. Murray is an extraordinarily dedicated and highly qualified professional. She has made significant sustained contributions to this institution at every level, including the Department of Psychology, the College of Arts and Sciences, the University, and — most importantly — to our students, including undergraduate and graduate students and students with disabilities."

Murray's nomination was accompanied by a collective letter of endorsement signed by 66 doctoral students in support of her nomination. They state: "Cathy is the essential 'glue' holding things together for us students ... Cathy really listens and aids students to the best of her ability. When speaking to Cathy, you always get her undivided attention ... Others are her priority— not her own work issues ... Therefore, our collective signatures below indicate that we firmly agree she merits an Award for Excellence in Professional Service from the University at Albany, as she has gone above and beyond the call of duty and the fulfillment of the obligations of her position."

There are many key aspects that resonate throughout Murray's dossier. Of particular note are her generosity, selflessness, kindness, calm demeanor, and genuine desire to lead by example and be a role model. Nancy Belowich-Negron, director of Disabled Student Services, stated it best by so eloquently remarking, "Cathy Murray is an angel disguised as a departmental assistant."

Mary L. SchimleyMary L. Schimley
Mary L. Schimley is the director of orientation in the Division of Student Affairs.

In her letter of nomination, Director of Residential Life Laurie Garafola wrote: "The orientation program continues to grow and expand based on institutional needs. With each change Ms. Schimley has been instrumental in making it successful. As an example, several years ago, Ms. Schimley in collaboration with Advisement Services, developed and implemented a completely revised program for both freshmen and transfers, which provided Academic Advisers more time with their advisees. This change has helped the advisers develop a stronger relationship with their advisees and has helped to provide the foundation and continuity for the student's first two years on campus."

Schimley, during her tenure at UAlbany, has shaped the Orientation Program into one of the finest in the Northeast. Many of Schimley's nominators praised her program for orienting parents and students in a new environment.

Schimley's approach to her job is exceptional, according to Sue Faerman, dean of Undergraduate Studies and professor of Public Administration and Policy: "As we approach each new semester, I am consistently impressed with how much attention she pays to the details of the orientation sessions and the care she puts into making sure that new students, both freshman and transfer students, feel welcomed to the University."

As Mary herself states, her excellence is a reflection of her belief that it is a privilege to serve: "I consider my work a privilege and sacred trust."