800 Years and Counting

The Annual Service Award Celebration honors the faculty and staff who have worked at Columbia for 10 or more years.

More than 50 honorees and guests gathered in the Great Room—a fitting place for the Annual Service Award Celebration honoring faculty and staff for their years of service at Columbia College Chicago. Some were celebrating a decade with the college and one member, Ann Kennedy from the Controller’s Office, was honored for her 40 years of service.

President Kwang-Wu Kim greeted the attendees briefly but poignantly: “My main role today is to give thanks—not just for the quantity of years of service but for the quality of your work and dedication to this institution. Among us in this room there are more than 800 years of combined service.” The room applauded, some raised their glasses in the air and someone nearby joked: “I hope that number doesn’t include our ages!”

Two Marys celebrated 35 years with the college: Mary Mattucci from Radio and Mary Badger from Theatre. The Office of the Registrar had two staff members honored, Michelle Ferguson (10 years) and Lydia Johnson (15 years). Though Johnson says that her 15 years feels like “a lifetime,” one of the things that keeps her going is Manifest: “It’s always the highlight of my year. I love love love seeing all of the work the students have worked on throughout their college experience.”

Two distant cousins who connected through working here were both honored. Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Science Robin Whatley celebrated her 10th year and her cousin Andrew Whatley from Enrollment Management celebrated his 15th. Working on campus, Andrew Whatley has had “front row seats” to national milestones from the 2008 Obama celebration to this year’s Cubs World Series parade. But for him, “the real highlights tend to come in smaller doses. The things that, on a day-to-day basis, keep me interested in my work here are the interactions I get to have with students and their families.”

Norma De Jesus, vice president of Human Resources, hosted the late afternoon ceremony. Though some honorees were not able to attend, De Jesus kept the festivities afloat, reading off the names and allowing plenty of time for those present to receive photos amidst the room’s applause. “As one of the newest members of Columbia, and maybe one of the most junior people in this room, I am humbled to be here to honor your many years of service,” said De Jesus, who joined Columbia in July. “With only four months here, I have quite a long way to go. But you all serve as an inspiration.”


Complete List of Honorees:

40 Years

Ann Kennedy, Controller’s Office

35 Years

Mary Badger, Theatre
Mary Mattucci, Radio

30 Years

Thomas Nowak, Photography

25 Years

Maureen Herlehy, Enrollment Management
Dennis Keeling, Cinema Art and Science

20 Years

Laurie Ann Bender, Academic Personnel
Stephanie Conaway, Museum of Contemporary Photography
Eileen Long, Cinema Art and Science
Gabina Mora, Human Resources
Mark Quilhot, Interactive Arts and Media
Kevin Rechner, Dance
Mark Sramek, Facilities and Operations
John Thomasson, Theatre
Nikola Vlahovich, Cinema Art and Science
Anthony Ward, Television

15 Years

James Abrams, Cinema Art and Science
Marlon Billups, Design
Lynn Cachey, American Sign Language
Clara Carr, Science and Mathematics
Charles Castle, School of Media Arts
Mary Ellingsen, Administrative Services
Lydia Johnson, Office of the Registrar
Nancy Gahan, Student Financial Services
Steve Hadley, Music
John LittleJohn, Undergraduate Admissions
Cynthia Martinez, Undergraduate Admissions
David Marts, Graduate Admissions
Dennis McGuire, Library
Andrew Whatley, Enrollment Management
Nissan Wasfie, Student Communications

10 Years

Jennifer Albin, Cinema Art and Science
Mercy Bradley, Student Financial Services
William Ciciora, Information Technology
Barbara Ebert-Balzano, Student Financial Services
Michelle Ferguson, Office of the Registrar
Christopher Flynn, Center for Book, Paper and Print
Thomas Freeman, Center for Book, Paper and Print
Emilia Hernandez, Payroll
Kim Livingstone, Strategic Marketing and Communications
Alex Martinez, Design Group
Miriam Nicholes, Student Financial Services
George Norman, Facilities and Operations
Eva Rachau, Development
Ben Rogerson, Cinema Art and Science
Jacob Saenz, Library
Samuel Shepherd, Facilities and Operations
Lauren Targ, College Advising Center
Robin Whatley, School of Liberal Arts and Science
Leslie Woods, Center for Community Arts Partnerships