A bomb threat last December necessitated the evacuation and sweep of four Harvard University buildings by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. It happened on the first day of finals, with 2,300 students scheduled to sit for exams — a number of them in three of the four affected buildings.
As authorities swept the buildings, ultimately finding no trace of explosives, the Academic Planning Department team in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Registrar’s Office was already taking action on what quickly became a major logistical challenge to reschedule exams. Their hard work and dedication was recognized on Thursday, as they were honored along with other FAS staff at the annual Dean’s Distinction Awards ceremony.
“This team immediately set about identifying exam locations, directing proctors, and answering questions from students, faculty, and deans. Team members were on site in two of the threatened buildings and helped lead an orderly retreat of students and proctors while securing confidential exams and equipment,” wrote FAS registrar Michael Burke in nominating the academic planning team.
“They also worked behind the scenes in the Registrar’s Office and University Hall to ensure open communications and to begin the huge logistical task of working with faculty and departments to reschedule the exams quickly and to find a place to hold them. The team worked late into the night on Dec. 16 until they had rescheduled every exam, found suitable classrooms, redeployed proctors, and notified all students and faculty of the new assignments,” Burke added.
In all, 52 FAS employees were recognized at the fifth annual awards ceremony and reception, held in the faculty room of University Hall. FAS Dean Michael D. Smith thanked the recipients for their service and credited their work for helping the FAS thrive.
“Without you supporting our research and teaching mission, we couldn’t do what we do for our students and faculty. Thank you very much for everything that you have done,” Smith said before congratulating the winners individually. “Reading through nominations, I think there isn’t any way you can be better than last year, but you find a way to do it. I am amazed by the real variety of the contributions each of you has made, and of course the unbelievable care which you take in executing your jobs and the passion you have for the work that you do.”
Leslie Kirwan, dean for administration and finance, also offered congratulations to the winners.
“Your critical accomplishments and skillful collaboration have delivered outstanding results for the FAS this past year, and sometimes over a longer period. I am so proud to have to the opportunity to work alongside you,” Kirwan said.
She acknowledged the importance of the recognition program and its role in strengthening the FAS organization.
“I would like to acknowledge Dean Smith for ensuring that whatever the competing pressures and challenges we face, and there are a lot of them, there’s always time carved out in the year for the Dean’s Distinction program,” Kirwan said. “This is because he personally understands the connection between an engaged workforce, a workplace that values recognition for high performers like you, and the continued ability of our organization to meet our challenges.”
This year’s award winners came from 45 departments, and the employees’ years of service to Harvard ranged from 42 to one.
Susan Gomes, director of research development and strategy, nominated Erin Cromack, a research development officer, for her tireless dedication to alerting faculty to research funding opportunities.
“It’s very gratifying to be nominated by your supervisor and recognized by your colleagues,” said Cromack. “We want to make sure faculty are competing for research funding to the best of their ability, especially in this climate of limited funding.”
The Dean’s Distinction recipients are:
Joanna Bakule, FAS Development
Bogdan Budnik, Division of Science
William Chapman, Humanities Faculty Services
Stanley Cotreau, Department of Physics
Erin Cromack, Research Administration Services
Mollie Dickerson, Admissions and Financial Aid
Alison Doane, Harvard College Observatory
Nathan Fry, Department of Athletics
Petrina Garbarini, Physical Resources
Katelyn Greene, Committee on Degrees in Social Studies
Imry Halevi, Department of Athletics
Erik Kastman, Department of Psychology
Judith Klasson, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Joseph Lavin, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Elizabeth Liao, Harvard University Asia Center
Daniel Lopez, Department of Visual and Environmental Studies
James Matejek, Department of Statistics
Patrick McVay, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Tamara Nary, Ukrainian Research Institute
Shawn Panepinto, Office for the Arts
Bridget Power, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Peter Reuell, Harvard Public Affairs and Communications
Shannon Rice, HUIT Academic Technology Services
Damari Rosado, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Elise Sacchetti, FAS Human Resources
Melanie Sinche, FAS Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
Candida Smith, Program in General Education
Carol Stuckey, Division of Continuing Education
Christine Sumner, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Admissions and Financial Aid
Marisol Tabares, FAS Finance Office
Elizabeth Terry, Lowell House
Linda Wang, Department of Economics
John Wisnewski, Harvard Forest
John Wright, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Melissa Yetman, Department of Psychology
Form I-9 Process Team:
Bob Daley, FAS Finance Office
Gretchen Gingo, Department of Sociology
Aatiyah Paulding, FAS Human Resources
Lauren Szufat, FAS Human Resources
Registrar’s Office Academic Planning Team:
Josiah Epps, Registrar’s Office
Michael Kinney, Registrar’s Office
Grace Kulegian, Registrar’s Office
Erika McDonald, Registrar’s Office
Catherine Roberts, Registrar’s Office
FAS Northwest and LISE Building Energy Conservation Team
Kelly Labrecque, Physical Resources
Stuart McNeil, Physical Resources
Francis Morrissey, Physical Resources
Mitra Nathasingh, Physical Resources
Jesselynn Opie, Physical Resources
Mark Pimentel, Physical Resources
James Sheehan, Physical Resources
Thomas Tribble, Physical Resources