The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Staff Council recently hosted its inaugural Staff Awards and Recognition Ceremony. The event, held May 9 on the East Carolina University campus, honors all dedicated THCAS staff members and recognizes the hard work they engage in on a day-to-day basis.
“Our staff are the unsung heroes of Harriot College,” said Dean William M. Downs. “Their professionalism and commitment to our students and faculty deserve our full recognition. I’m so proud of who they are. I’m privileged to work with them, and I’m grateful each day for all they do to advance ECU’s mission.”
During the ceremony, two members of the college staff received the newly created THCAS Staff Excellence Awards. Suzanne Powell, lead administrative associate in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, received the Senior Staff Excellence Award. Beverly Estorge, administrative support associate in the Department of Economics, received the Junior Staff Excellence Award.
“When I read the email informing me that I was selected for the Senior Staff Excellence Award, my first reaction was to re-read the email because surely I had read it wrong. I am not used to recognition on such a large scale, and I felt a bit overwhelmed,” said Powell. “I am thankful to the college and Dean Downs for noticing the need to include and embrace the college’s staff and creating the vehicle to let them be heard and to be recognized.”
Prior to the ceremony, many colleagues provided words of praise in their nominations of Powell.
“Ms. Powell embodies some of the best features of a representative member of the Pirate Nation. She’s a dedicated professional, a dependable colleague, a generous individual, and a strong and graceful woman,” wrote one supporter.
Another of Powell’s colleagues commented, “She truly embodies the description of selflessness. Even through all the personal hardship, Suzanne has never faltered. Her strength of character is unparalleled.”
As an example of her selflessness, Powell gives credit back to her colleagues.
“I work with a large number of people who always, knowingly or not, make me feel appreciated. I am honored that so many took the time to nominate me for this award. I would not be the employee or person that I am if it were not for those that were placed in my path to help guide me and give me confidence. I owe most of this award’s recognition to them,” said Powell.
Powell has served as the lead administrative associate in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures for the past four-and-a-half years and has worked at ECU for six-and-a-half years.
Estorge also was surprised to hear she was receiving the Junior Staff Excellence Award.
“Really? Me? Wow! I can’t believe it, but I am so honored. I nominated someone else for the Staff Excellence Award but never thought about myself receiving it,” said Estorge. “I wake up every morning so thankful for my job at ECU and winning this award is ‘icing on the cake’ for me. The THCAS Staff Council has done a great job at making me feel like all of the ‘behind-the-scene’ work is noticed and valued.”
Fellow colleagues of Estorge also provided words of admiration and approval in their letters of nomination.
“Beverly is a very charismatic and warm person and sets the tone for an inclusive and impassioned working environment in the Department of Economics,” stated one nominator.
Another colleague wrote, “Beverly has excellent relations with all of our faculty, students and visitors. She gets along with everyone in the department and is such an asset to work with.”
Estorge serves as an administrative support associate in the Department of Economics and has worked at the university for one-and-a-half years. She said there are two things she likes best about working in Harriot College; the atmosphere in the department and the joy of working with students.
“I genuinely like the people I work with. We have a sense of teamwork,” said Estorge. “Secondly, my joy comes from working with the students one-on-one. I want to make a difference in their college experience, and it is tremendously rewarding for me to hear back from them when that has happened.”
The Thomas Harriot College Staff Excellence Awards acknowledge administrative or technical staff within the college who have shown exemplary professionalism and have gone above and beyond the requirement of their position. Recipients of the award must demonstrate a positive attitude, be a team player and exhibit characteristics of a model member of Pirate Nation. Senior Staff Excellence Awards are given to an employee of the college who has more than 5 years of consecutive employment with the university. Junior Staff Excellence Awards are given to a college employee with a minimum of one year and no more than five years of consecutive employment with the university.
-by Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences