One of Katherine Bergeron’s first initiatives upon assuming the role of president of Connecticut College was to establish the Presidential Staff Recognition Program, which will annually bestow four awards on staff members who demonstrate distinction in one or more aspects of their daily work.
The response to a call for nominees was overwhelming, with more than 70 nominations submitted not only by staff members but faculty and students as well. A committee comprising representatives from each of those constituencies reviewed the submissions, which were broken into four distinct categories: citizenship, inspiration, rising star and service excellence.
The inaugural awards were presented by Bergeron during the College’s annual year-end staff breakfast to the honorees in the following categories:
Citizenship – Honoring an individual who has enhanced the quality of life and made a substantial difference for the College community.
Helene (Eleni) Mosher, dining services aide
Mosher is often the first person a student sees upon entering Harris Refectory, and a record number of nominators mentioned her dedication to fostering a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the dining hall for more than 26 years. Students, staff and faculty alike deeply appreciate her warm smile and comforting remarks, regardless of the day, the weather or other circumstances, and her friendly demeanor exemplifies the care and concern that makes Connecticut College such a close-knit community.
Inspiration – Presented to an individual who excels at building relationships and motivating others to higher levels of performance.
Lori Balantic, senior associate director of CELS
As a counselor in the College’s career and professional development program, Balantic helps students plan and connect their studies and other activities and interests to career aspirations. Her goal: to help prepare students to lead successful lives after they have graduated. Her nominations reflected her dedication to recognizing and fostering greater potential among these students, but also among her coworkers, who have also benefitted for 19 years from her unparalleled ability to empower and educate.
Rising Star – Recognizing an individual who has worked at the College for less than two years and has made a recognizable impact.
Victor Arcelus, dean of student life
One nomination for Arcelus noted, “He may be a ‘rising star’ now, but he is destined to be a defining feature of Connecticut College in the future.” Since arriving at the College in July of 2013, Arcelus has made deep connections with individuals and groups across campus in order to better understand the community and the culture. These efforts clearly inform the ideas he offers and the decisions he makes, which have — like him — had a tremendous impact on the College.
Service Excellence – Honoring an individual who demonstrates distinction in the conduct of his or her responsibilities at the College.
Hobie Walton, manager of mechanical trades
Walton has been with Connecticut College for more than 37 years and has never taken a sick day. That detail epitomizes the level of his commitment to ensuring quality and consistency in campus operations. His responsibilities are complex and broad, but he maintains a welcome sense of humor that his colleagues greatly value. One nominator best summed it up by calling him the very definition of a “go-to person,” with unmatched knowledge, dedication and industriousness.