Cabrini celebrates achievements at employee recognition luncheon

By Emma Regulski
May 12, 2024

Cabrini president Helen Drinan speaks to the crowd. Photo by John Doyle.
Cabrini president Helen Drinan speaks to the crowd. Photo by John Doyle.

The Cabrini community came together in a spirit of appreciation at the annual Employee Recognition Luncheon held in Grace Hall. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the university honored the dedication and contributions of its staff and faculty members. 

The event, catered by Sodexo, offered a spread of drinks, lunch, and desserts that added to the celebration. The luncheon commenced with a heartfelt prayer for peace offered by Dr. Ray Ward, setting the tone for an afternoon of gratitude. 

Honoring members of the community

At noon, President Helen Drinan presented the Special Recognition award to Sr. Christine Marie Baltas, MSC (‘66), a longstanding member of the Cabrini community, whose dedication has left a lasting mark on the university. Baltas shared an inspiring message, saying, “If you have been touched by the mission, take it forward with you and spread the mission yourself.”

Celebrating years of service

Nikki Gillum-Clemons, director of Human Resources, took the stage to recognize the years of service provided by several individuals at Cabrini:

Five Years of Service: Janet Bauman, Carolyn Berenato, Hillary Graham, Alexis Jankowski, Vinayak Mathur, Robin Viola

Ten Years of Service: Paul Cowley, MaryLou Denesowicz, David Madway, Megan Norris, Laura Patton, Vivian Smith

Fifteen Years of Service: Michelle Filling-Brown, Melinda Harrison Krick, Erin McLaughlin, Caroline Nielsen

Twenty Years of Service: Chris Protesto

Thirty-five Years of Service: Anne Schwelm

Fifty Years of Service: Jim Hedtke

Dr. Melissa Terlecki, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, delivered a tribute to Hedtke, highlighting his commitment to Cabrini over five decades. Terlecki said, “He’s not just an amazing educator, but a wonderful, warm human being who cared about this place ever since he stepped foot on our campus.”

Sr. Christine Marie Baltas at the podium. Photo by John Doyle.

The event took a delightful turn when Patti Stocker, assistant to the dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, shared her “final Cabrini poem,” bringing laughter and warm applause from the audience. Stocker’s humorous yet heartfelt poem captivated the spirit of unity at Cabrini. She said, “As we celebrate each other today/here’s one big shoutout of appreciation/cheers to all of us who stayed this year/let’s just make it to graduation.” 

Recognizing excellence and values

The ceremony proceeded with the presentation of awards by Drinan and Gillum-Clemons, honoring individuals who represented Cabrini’s core values.

Core Value of Respect Award Winners: Angela Campbell, Felix Rodriguez Ortega

Core Value of Vision Award Winners: Monica Carson, Rosemary Gehrlein

Core Value of Community Award Winners: MaryLou Denesowicz, Patti Stocker

Core Value of Dedication to Excellence Award Winners: John Doyle, Lynda Buzzard

Cabrini Spirit Award Winner: Antoinette Reaves

Professional Excellence Award Winner: Marita Hurst

Recognizing outstanding adjunct faculty

The event also recognized the contributions of adjunct faculty members, with Dr. Melissa Terlecki and Dr. Erin McLaughlin, dean of the School of Business, Education and Professional Studies. 

Adjuncts of the Year, School of Arts and Sciences: Frances Furia, Robert Weaver

Adjuncts of the Year, School of Business, Education & Professional Studies: Fran Brooks, Domineck D’Orazio

McLaughlin commended Fran Brooks, saying, “She welcomes students into her office, offering support and advice.”

A touching farewell

As the event drew to a close, Gillum-Clemons adjourned the gathering. Dr. Dawn Francis, associate professor and chair of the communication department, said, “It was bittersweet for sure to have the last celebration, but it was heartening to see so many people acknowledged for staying here.”

Drinan expressed her gratitude, saying, “I’m grateful for this opportunity mostly because I’ve met such wonderful people in this remarkably different, warm, and special community.”

The Cabrini employee recognition luncheon not only celebrated achievements, but also reinstated the bond of unity and dedication that define the Cabrini community. 

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Emma Regulski

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