Laughs, Memories and Accolades Are Lifted with Applause During CSM’s Employee Recognition Ceremony
College of Southern Maryland (CSM) employees recently honored their fellow colleagues for achieving milestone work anniversaries in 2018. The 33rd Annual Service Recognition Ceremony paid tribute to 60 individuals who have served CSM and its students collectively for 690 years.
“Our dedicated and talents employees have always been the key to the college’s success,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy, as she kicked off the festivities. “And I have so looked forward to this employee recognition event. At last year’s, I was overwhelmed by the love, respect, and stories that are shared during this ceremony – and well, the laughs that unfold, too.”
Certainly love and respect were the emotions expressed for Professor of English, Communications and Languages Dr. Richard Siciliano who earned the remarkable distinction of working at the college for 50 years – longer than anyone in the college’s history.
Siciliano was the last employee to be honored at the ceremony and the mere announcement of his name was met with what would be the first of several standing ovations mixed with cheers, as CSM Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Eileen Abel shared accolades provided by his family and colleagues.
“Richard has had an enduring impact on CSM and on our division, in particular,” Abel offered on behalf of Professor David Robinson, chair of CSM’s Division of Languages and Literature. “In fact, it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Richard is CSM – and vice versa.”
“When we all went to Paris [CSM travel study in 2006], we tried to arrange for Rich, his wife and friends to go to a cooking demonstration (at Rich’s request),” CSM Professor Neal Dwyer asked Abel to share. “All fell through – until one day I was waiting outside the Quai D’Orsay museum for our group to finish the tour. I made a call [and it] all worked out. Since then, Rich has traveled back to France, and generously offers his time and culinary talents to my French classes – he makes crepes (with apron and beret), the students provide the bananas and Nutella – he makes the class so much fun, so enjoyable, as he speaks about his travels.”
“Richard Siciliano has been with College of Southern Maryland since 1968 – since it was Charles County Community College, with one campus in La Plata and several teaching locations throughout Southern Maryland,” said Abel, as she read from a biography prepared by Siciliano’s daughter, Jennifer. “He has been an integral part of the college’s growth from a small, single-county campus to a technologically advanced Southern Maryland institution.
“He has served in positions ranging from academia to admissions and personnel, community relations and publications, and he has supported dozens of panels, boards, and committees along the way,” Abel read. “At a (very) rough estimate of four classes a day; four days a week; 52 weeks a year; for 50 years – with an average of 18 students per class (2016 enrollment); Richard has taught approximately 750,000 students over the course of his career.”
The room erupted in laughter as Abel shared, “Some [students] went along willingly. Some argued with him quite a bit. But, all of them learned something.”
“I want to first thank the person (whose name I won’t reveal) who told me 10 minutes before this celebration that I should have something to say when I am called up to receive my 50th year service award,” Siciliano told the crowd. “For me, it’s a day to remember and to reflect. A time to remember those who came to teach and to learn at this college these last 60 years. And a time to reflect on what part the faculty and staff played in our students’ lives, in their choice of careers and in their successes.
“Fifty years ago (plus six months), I was teaching my first classes, and my first students, here on a brand new campus,” he shared. “It had taken just 10 years for the then Charles County Community College to move from night school classes held at a middle school to the [La Plata] campus where we are today. I now begin my 51st year with the College of Southern Maryland, and I will be taking a deep breath as I start my next 50.”
Celebrating 25 Years of Service
Five employees – Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement Regina Bowman-Goldring, Building and Ground Technician Charlene Brown, Director of Network Security and Administration David Marek, Professor of Mathematics Fred Russell, and Professor of Science and Engineering Sharon Smith-Douglas – also reached landmark service anniversaries by marking their 25th year with CSM in 2018.
Bowman-Goldring came to CSM from the Department of Social Services to take the position of Project Independence Caseworker Specialist.
“My first impression of the St. Mary’s Campus on Great Mills Road when I started in academic advising was ‘WOW! I am in a trailer behind the main building and the bookstore is across the hallway,” she said. “How will the students find me?”
Today, Bowman-Goldring said that “the experience that someone has with this college is personal to me.”
“Being a native of Southern Maryland, I am very committed to the work that is done here and take very seriously the impact we have on our students’ experience,” Bowman-Goldring continued. “As with other native Southern Maryland staff, I have many friends and relatives in Southern Maryland and sometimes strangers contact me in local stores, by phone, email, social media at any time of day or night with questions and concerns about CSM policies and procedures. It sends a perception about the employer with which I have chosen to start and build my career.
“I love the work that I do and am excited about the new opportunities to create programs and services that benefit our students,” she added. “I know the value of CSM to our community and want everyone to experience that when they interact with anyone here.”
Brown said she started work at CSM as a temporary employee and she wouldn’t change a thing about her 25 years working for same division.
“My coworkers and I take a lot of pride in what we do,” she explained. “We set up the rooms, keep the condition of our buildings and grounds neat and presentable, and we think it shows.”
Brown said that her favorite memory of working at CSM was when the campus held graduations on Sundays.
“Everyone in our division would get together on campus early in the morning and we would make a day of it – from sunrise to sunset – setting up chairs, directing traffic, watching the students celebrate. My very best memories lie in the times I’ve shared with my team members.
“To watch the college grow to the number of campuses and buildings it has today has been pretty amazing,” she added. “I love the campus. I love the people and I love the students. It is hard to believe it has been 25 years, but it has all been good – really good.”
CSM Vice President of Operations Dr. Bill Comey took the mic to toast Marek’s anniversary. “Dave is a prime example of our ‘Grow Your Own’ approach at the college,” Comey said. “He started at CSM as a student assistant while he was working on his electrical engineering degree. From his time as a student assistant to now, Dave has seen tremendous changes in our IT infrastructure – in fact, Dave was part of making most of that change happen.”
“Dave installed the college’s first file server,” Comey added. “He now oversees hundreds of servers and cloud storage devices.”
Marek was lauded for his continued advancement at CSM, moving from microcomputer technician, to network administrator, to network manager, to associate director of the network project team, to his current position of director of network security and administration. “Dave, thank you for your many years of service and for all you have done to help the college grow and succeed over the years,” Comey said.
Like Marek, Russell started working at CSM when there were no computers on the desks, no email, the telephone calls came through a central switchboard and messages got delivered to professors on little pink slips of paper with the heading “while you were out.”
“During the time when he’s worked here, Fred has taught a wide variety of math classes, from the developmental (MTH-0900) through Calculus III,” shared Abel. She went further to describe Russell as teaching “with incredible knowledge, a dry sense of humor and punctilious reliability.”
By Russell’s account, graduate school admissions and finding academic employment are like a trip to the puppy farm. You go home with the one who sees something special and worthwhile in you. You let the job and the school choose you.
“And after 25 years at CSM, Fred said he is still ‘feeling the love,’” shared Abel, before introducing Smith-Douglas as another inductee into the “25 club.”
Smith-Douglas has served CSM “as a teacher, a mentor, a colleague and an integral part of the biology, and now the science division for 25 years,” said Abel. “Professor Smith-Douglas is known for her direct but compassionate style and for her professionalism. She has been an integral part of the anatomy and physiology team for more than two decades and has brought her enthusiasm and insight to the constant effort to maintain the currency and value of these courses to students pursuing careers in health related fields.”
In addition to Siciliano and the five employees noted for 25 years of service, other CSM employees marking increments of five years of services were honored at the reception, including:
Anne Buckler, Melissa Buckler, Marina De Paz, John Delabrer, Laura Dyson, Roseann Glassman, Lisa Graham, Ricky Graham, Sarah Hand, Rachel Heinhorst, Tara Jones, Eggert Jonsson, Dr. Eden Kan, Anna Kephart, Mark Mahan, Claudia Reber, Deanna Rothstein, Andrea Sherman, Katherine Sifers, Jacqueline Stanfield, Sheila Thompson, Erin Timmermann, Brian Volack, Mary Welch and Stephanie Windsor.
Tony Anthony, Gordon Chandler, Keyonna Clark, David Coppins-Crump, Rhonda Croxton, Jeanine Davis, Michael Garner, Denise Gilmer-Knudson, Chloe Hiland, Kurt Hildebrand, Jehnell Linkins, Diane Major, Jeffrey Potter, Tricia Roberson, Laura Robins, Beverly Shoaf and Erika Stevens.
George Bedell, Jennifer Houchin, David Phalen and Stephen Stansfield.
Michael Baione, Lucia Charpentier, Carol Harrison, Eugene Kirscht, Eric McCollum, Mary Beth McCollum, Wanda Thomas and Jill Wathen.
To view photographs from CSM’s 33rd Annual Employee Service Recognition Ceremony, visit: https://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/18svcrec.