PRESIDENT'S AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
By Sookhan Ho
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 26 - April 2, 1998
The cadets think of her as "their mom away from home," said Maj. Gen. Stanton R. Musser, commandant of cadets.
"She is the first person who former commandants, staff members, and cadets ask about or want to see upon their return to the campus," said Gene Wilson, former deputy commandant of cadets and a retired colonel of the U.S. Army.
Henry Dekker, chairman of Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Inc., called her "a marvelous ambassador for the university and the Corps of Cadets."
They're referring to Joyce Longrie, a senior program-support technician at Military Affairs, who has won a 1998 President's Award for Excellence. A 25-year veteran of the university, Longrie has spent the past 20 years in secretarial positions in the Commandant's Office. "She goes about her daily tasks...with a cheerful and calm attitude," Musser wrote in his nominating letter.
He also stated Longrie is always there to assist the cadets and "listen when they need someone to talk to." He knows of many visiting cadet alumni who have expressed their pleasure at seeing Longrie again. They "tell her it's great to see someone who is still at Tech who they know and to whom they can relate."
Longrie, he added, "always puts the students first." She comes in to the office on her own time when a project needs to be completed and "is here on Saturday when the new cadets arrive to assist in any way she is needed."
Outside of her loyal and dedicated service to his department, Longrie has participated actively in university staff groups and professional associations, Musser said. She "was instrumental" in helping to get the Classified Staff Affairs Committee (forerunner of the Staff Senate) up and running and is a staff senator.
She is president of the staff association in the Division of Student Affairs, and the recording secretary for the New River Valley Chapter of Professional Secretaries International. In 1996, she received her Certified Professional Secretaries certification, one of only 13 CPS holders on campus. She has also helped prepare income taxes for Tech employees through the Volunteer Income Tax Association.
In 1994, she received an award from the vice president for Student Affairs for her service to the division.
Longrie "is one of the most thoughtful and considerate individuals I have met on the campus," said Dekker, who praised her "industriousness, loyalty, thoroughness, graciousness, and integrity."
"She is the example of hard worker, thinker, planner, doer, positive attitude, honesty, and listener," Wilson said.
Cadets and faculty and staff members have told Longrie that the Corps could not function without her, Musser said. "As the commandant, I totally agree."
By Jeffrey Douglas
To say that Joyce O. Morgan got in on the ground floor of something big is a major understatement.
Founding Dean Richard B. Talbot hired her as the college's first employee on Dec. 16, 1974. Today, the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is a two-state professional school with three campuses and an annual budget of almost $20 million.
"When I started, we didn't own a pencil," said Morgan, who has served as administrative assistant to Dean Peter Eyre since Fall 1985. "To see all that we have become is truly amazing."
She should know. Her dedication to performance and her efficient, personable business style have played a big role in the college's success. For her exemplary service to the college and university, for her humanity, and her drive "to make a difference," Morgan is a worthy recipient of a Presidential Award for Excellence.
In the founding years, she was part of the team effort that developed grassroots support, wooed Maryland, and convinced SCHEV and the General Assembly to establish the college.
During the early 1980s, she supervised 23 people as the college's administrative-services manager. But when Talbot went on to the Food and Drug Administration in Washington and Eyre arrived in 1985 to take over as the college's second dean, she re-focused her efforts.
Organizing the activities of Eyre's busy schedule of "building bridges" and "cementing relationships" is a fast-paced, non-stop process that would tax anyone's time-management skills. But she does it with tact and ease.
She considers herself fortunate to have worked with deans "the calibre of Talbot and Eyre" and all of the "excellent people" throughout the college.
"My goal in life is to make a difference, to set an example, to make things better," said Morgan, whose two sons have earned or are in the process of earning degrees from Tech.
"It's important to take pride in your work because it reflects what we are and who we are," said Morgan, who was recently awarded the International Award of Distinction from Beta Sigma Phi, an international service, cultural and social sorority.
She is a steadying force through times of triumph and tragedy, and she has seen both in her quarter-century with the college.
Most recently, when Veterinary Teaching Hospital Director Robert Martin was paralyzed during a hunting accident in late 1996, it was Morgan who established the emergency fund that eventually raised over $30,000 to help.
By Jill Elswick
Those who dine at Schultz Dining Hall know Christine Saunders as the checker who always has a smile and a kind word to share. Saunders greets every student personally. She considers it a part of her job to memorize as many of their names as possible. As she says, "That really makes a big difference to students."
Saunders is one of this year's recipients of the President's Award for Excellence.
Rick Johnson, director of Culinary Services, said that Saunders makes a lasting impression on all who meet her. "Many students have told me that the `best thing about Virginia Tech is Christine Saunders.' They say that, when they are having a bad day, Christine is always there to ask them how they are doing and to offer a cheerful comment," he said.
The line to Saunders' station is often longer than any other, simply because students do not mind an extra wait to say hello to her. John Price, manager of Schultz Dining Hall, calls Saunders a "good-will ambassador for the university" who goes beyond her job description to make students feel welcomed and at home.
Jason Cecil, a 1997 graduate, remembers Saunders' "professionalism, kindness, and friendship [that] made going to Shultz a daily joy." Cecil recalls that when he first met Saunders, she asked friendly questions about his major and hometown. Cecil thought Saunders was merely making small talk, but when he came back through her line a month later, she remembered everything he had told her. She even asked him why he had been away from Schultz for so long.
From that point on, said Cecil, Saunders became more than just a "lunch lady" to him and his friends. Rather, she was a valued part of their lives--someone with whom to share stories and jokes. Saunders would inquire after them when they were sick; she even sent Cecil a get-well card when he was in the hospital for an appendectomy.
Surabhi Lal, class of 1997, was impressed that Saunders remembered his name and his friends' names. When he came through the line, she would also tell him whether his "lunch buddies" were there yet. "She is truly a remarkable woman who I have fond memories of," Lal said.
Yonsenia White, also a 1997 graduate, said that Saunders was one of the people who had the most impact on her at Virginia Tech. "I clearly remember daily whenever I would have a meal in Schultz the warmth and genuine care and concern Mrs. Saunders would show to every single student entering that establishment," White said.
Saunders has been employed by the university for 17 years; for the past 11 years, she has worked in Schultz Dining Hall.