Munching on a bountiful spread of sandwiches, sushi, and lightly fried portobello mushroom dumplings, staff and faculty from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences packed into the Faculty Room of University Hall for a cocktail event to recognize the service of 38 of their colleagues.
The event—in its second year, after FAS Dean Michael D. Smith established the program last year—salutes staff members throughout FAS for their commitment to the school. Staff members are anonymously recommended for the award by their other colleagues, who submit a letter of recommendation.
The 38 members, who Smith said “represent the full range of Faculty of Arts and Sciences,” were presented with a small, silver picture frame, and stood with Smith to receive applause from FAS staff members.
“I want to express my gratitude for many things the staff has done,” Smith said.
“It’s such a simple thing to take a minute to say thank you [yet] it’s such a rare thing that people [do it],” said Leslie A. Kirwan ’79, FAS dean of administration and finance. “We want to be able to take this time to say thank you to all the people here in FAS.”
Kirwan also acknowledged Smith for establishing the event.
The recipients of the award came from a wide array of divisions across FAS, including information technology, the Registrar’s Office, the Observatory, and the Harvard Forest.
Recipients said that it was not only a personal distinction, but also a recognition of the department at which they work.
“For me, it’s recognition of the Information Systems Department,” said Director of Information Security Jay Carter, who received an award. “We’re making sure that all the data is protected.”
Carter received the award for having “furthered the customer service and leadership image of FAS IT” at a time of IT transition.
The award recipients had served Harvard from as short as two years to at least 20 years.
Jessica R. Martin, sponsored programs portfolio manager at the Department of Physics, said that she was at first “shocked” when she heard she received the award because she has worked at the department for only two and a half years.
Last June, Smith honored 50 FAS staff members with the Dean’s Distinction Award in a similar ceremony.
—Staff writer Gautam S. Kumar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Sirui Li can be reached at email@example.com.