Spirit Awards Honor Staff Contributions to Workplace

Back row from left, Aneesa Bey, Carol Millette, President Susan Herbst, Renee Boggis, Pat Moriarty, Melanie Kraus, front row, Hilarie Jones, Cindy Walsh, and Valerie Kiefer weree honored at the UConn Spirit Awards on March 8, 2016. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
‘When our community is marked by civility, mutual respect, and camaraderie, it creates an environment in which we all work harder and take more pleasure in our work,’ said President Herbst at the Spirit Awards ceremony on March 8. ‘A happy workplace is a more productive and beneficial workplace.’ (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

The 2016 winners in UConn’s annual employee recognition program, the UConn Spirit Awards, received their awards at a ceremony March 8.

The program celebrates individuals and teams who exceed expectations and contribute positively to the workplace and the University. It resulted from a report by the Something’s Happening Committee, which found that supportive interactions among colleagues and productivity on the job were significantly correlated, and was launched in 2015.

President Susan Herbst presented the awards and spoke at the event.

“When our community is marked by civility, mutual respect, and camaraderie, it creates an environment in which we all work harder and take more pleasure in our work,” she said. “There is a wealth of data to support the thesis that a happy workplace is a more productive and beneficial workplace.

“I am proud that at UConn we are making sure we take the time to recognize the importance of how we treat one another, and to pay tribute to those among us whose sterling examples are testimonies to the quality of our community,” she added.

The 2016 winners were:

Unsung Hero Award: Renee Boggis, Human Resources
Boggis was particularly commended for her work in preparing UConn for a “long overdue” modernization of the job classification structure and pay scale.

Rising Star Award: Aneesa Bey, Chemistry Department
Bey won the award, which recognizes a staff member who has been at UConn between six months and two years, and has contributed to the community with commitment, a strong work ethic, and enthusiasm. Herbst noted that Bey was hired as a program assistant to help the chemistry department with financial planning and purchasing, but quickly developed a role as “all-purpose problem-solver.”

Peer Award: Carol Millette, Women’s Center
The peer award is given by one colleague to another who has had a profound professional impact on them. Millette, who was nominated by Coleen Spurlock, was described as someone who “never hesitates to go the extra mile, or the extra thousand miles, in her role as mentor, mediator, advocate, and friend.”

Team Award: Student Health Services Sexual Assault Team: Pat Moriarty, Hilarie Jones, Melanie Kraus, Valerie Kiefer, Virginia Shea, Cindy Walsh
The sexual assault response team was created in response to the student-identified need for a streamlining of the process through which students could access services for victims of sexual assault. As a result, said Herbst, UConn became the first university in Connecticut to have nurses available to respond to victims of sexual assault. The nurse practitioners on the team established a new rotation for this critical function, and have demonstrated the University’s commitment to helping students at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

Renee Boggis of Human Resources receives the Unsung Hero Award at the UConn Spirit Awards ceremony on March 8, 2016. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Renee Boggis of Human Resources receives the Unsung Hero Award at the UConn Spirit Awards ceremony on March 8. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Aneesa Bey of the Chemistry Department receives the Rising Star Award at the UConn Spirit Awards ceremony on March 8, 2016. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Aneesa Bey of the Chemistry Department receives the Rising Star Award. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Carol Millette of the Women's Center receives the Outstanding Peer Award at the UConn Spirit Awards ceremony on March 8, 2016. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
President Susan Herbst addresses Carol Millette of the Women’s Center, who received the Outstanding Peer Award. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Left to right, Pat Moriarty, Valerie Kiefer, Cindy Walsh, Hilarie Jones, Melanie Kraus, and Virginia Shea (not pictured), of Student Health Services Sexual Assault Team received the Team Award at the UConn Spirit Awards ceremony on March 8, 2016. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Pat Moriarty addresses fellow members of the Student Health Services Sexual Assault Team, from left, Valerie Kiefer, Cindy Walsh, Hilarie Jones, Melanie Kraus, and Virginia Shea (not pictured), who received the Team Award. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)