By William Sweet

On a hot spring afternoon, Amherst employees gathered on Valentine Quad to eat lunch, inaugurate a new awards program—and send their bosses into a dunk tank.

In addition to an awards presentation, the employee
recognition event featured the always popular dunk tank,
whose victims included Athletic Director Suzanne Coffey.

Under a tent, President Biddy Martin presented prizes to 14 employees “whose work is deemed by their colleagues to be extraordinary.” Faculty, staff and students had nominated 180 candidates for the first annual employee recognition award. A nine-member committee selected the 14 honorees—each of whom received a $200 bonus—from the nominations.

The 2012 honorees are Pamela Stawasz, area coordinator of LGBTQIA education and assistant director of residential life; Patricia Allen, events coordinator; Alice Simmoneau, office manager and secretary in the Dean of Students office; Paul Sorrentino, director of religious life; Roberta Helinski, French and Spanish academic department coordinator; Rhea Cabin, history academic department coordinator; Richard Scorpio, studio and gallery coordinator in the Department of Art and the History of Art; Robert O’Connor, network and telecommunications technician; Edmund M. Keyes, special services custodian at the Arms Music Center; Herardo Rivas, custodian; Andy Anderson, academic technology specialist; Richard Mears, environmental health and safety manager; Erika Shelburne, director of leadership giving; and Sarah Barr, director of academic engagement programs at the Center for Community Engagement.

Photo by Rob Mattson