Linda Samano thought she’d accidentally double-booked her 2:30 appointment when she heard a knock on her office door Tuesday afternoon. She was completely confused when she opened the door to find MHC President Lynn Pasquerella standing outside holding a bouquet of flowers and a fistful of balloons.
Pasquerella made the surprise visit to present Samano (pictured at right), the manager of employment and compensation for the Department of Human Resources, with the President's Award for Outstanding Service. Pasquerella made a similar visit an hour earlier to Janet Crosby, the senior administrative assistant in the Department of Psychology and Education, to honor her with the same award—and Crosby was equally stunned to see the president standing at her door.
Both Crosby and Samano were nominated by colleagues for the inaugural President's Award for Outstanding Service, which is designed to recognize and honor staff members who exemplify Mount Holyoke’s core values each year. Pasquerella told the honorees they were selected for their “contributions to enhance our community and reflect our institutional core values of integrity, creativity, service, and excellence.”
"It was a tremendous pleasure today to recognize two members of our extraordinary staff,” Pasquerella said after the presentations. “Janet Crosby and Linda Samano exemplify the dedication and service we are celebrating with the creation of the President's Award for Outstanding Service, and I think both were genuinely surprised by the on-the-job announcement."
Staff, faculty, and students were asked in March to submit nominations for staff members who go above and beyond the usual expectations for their positions to provide expertise and a high quality of service to the campus community and beyond. The selection committee received 39 nominations for employees from a wide cross section of departments and job types; both Crosby and Samano had multiple nominations.
Colleagues who nominated Crosby praised her “professional expertise, initiative, and adaptability,” and said she is “unfailingly helpful to everyone” and “always goes the extra mile--and sometimes several extra miles.” One nominator wrote, “Janet is always going out of her way to serve others. All this she does with grace, efficiency, and timeliness--and with considerable good will and humor. She is inspirational and a superb model for the rest of us.”
Praising her organizational skills, one former supervisor wrote, “I could not have managed to chair the department without her. I did not supervise Janet. It would be more accurate to say she supervised me.”
Samano was praised for her recent tenure as acting director of human resources, as well as for her performance as a longtime employee of the College.
“While many interims aim to maintain the status quo, Linda showed amazing leadership and judgment in moving the HR function forward. Her straightforward style, respect for all constituencies, and willingness to confront reality have served the College well in her time as interim director,” wrote one colleague.
Said another, “The impact that Linda has made on the HR department and the College has improved the quality of our working lives, which also spills over into our personal lives. Her positive ‘can-do’ attitude has been an inspiration to us all.”
"I want to recognize all the nominees and thank the staff, faculty, and students who submitted nominations," Pasquerella noted. "I hope this year's recipients and all those nominated will know how deeply I value their contributions to our community."
This year's recipients will each receive a cash award. All nominees for the 2012 President’s Award will receive a letter of recognition from Pasquerella.