In the shade of the Wren Yard’s oak trees, hundreds of William & Mary employees gathered on Friday to greet old friends, enjoy a free lunch, win prizes, dance and laugh during the College’s Employee Appreciation Day.
The annual event is “the day we set aside each year to take
the time to thank you for all you do in keeping this college running,” said
Anna Martin, vice president for administration, at the beginning of the lunchtime
“Thanks to each and every one of you for all that you do for the College of William and Mary. You are an incredible group of people,” she said.
President Taylor Reveley echoed Martin’s sentiment.
“We hear all the time about how glittering William & Mary’s faculty and students are. And of course, it’s true,” he said. “But, it’s important to be very, very clear that William & Mary’s staff is also glittering and first-rate. Absolutely glittering. Absolutely first-rate.”
The work that the staff does is “vital to the health and happiness” of William & Mary, Reveley said, adding that the College would simply “grind to a halt” without the staff.
“The staff does a marvelous job of helping to glue William & Mary together and helping to push it forward,” he said. “And, as I said, without the staff, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that the faculty and students could do their glittering thing. So everybody – I’m staff, too – we are very important.”
Prior to the event, employees celebrating milestone work anniversaries at the College – ranging from five to 45 years – were honored in a ceremony in the Great Hall of the Wren Building. President Reveley acknowledged three of those people -- Juanita Achols, Geri Ellis and Betsy Croswell -- during the lunch, and, with the help of the William & Mary Griffin, presented them with presents for their 40 (Achols and Ellis) and 45 (Croswell) years of service.
The president also acknowledged this year’s Duke Award winner, Mike Blum, who joined the president at the podium to draw names for the event’s door prizes, which included iPod shuffles, an iPad and a parking pass voucher. The Griffin enthusiastically greeted each of the winners and brought them on stage to receive their prizes.
Tonya Cosby, an administrative office specialist in the office of faculty and academic support at the William & Mary Law School, won the parking pass voucher.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” she said, adding that when the Griffin escorted her to the podium, “I felt like a princess coming up on stage.”
Cosby, who has worked at William & Mary for three years, said she enjoys Employee Appreciation Day because the staff is “recognized for the hard work we do.”
“It’s nice to have that acknowledgement,” she said.
She also enjoys the day because it gives her an opportunity to see people in other departments whom she doesn’t get to see on a regular basis.
“It’s like a reunion,” she said.
The day wasn’t just enjoyed by the people who were being celebrated. Many administrators and others who supervise staff members volunteered to serve during the event, donning white plastic aprons and pouring drinks for those enjoying lunch.
Kristy Geiger, associate director of university events, has served on the Employee Appreciation Day committee for each of the three years she’s been at William & Mary.
“It’s just a great offering, I think, that the College does to show its gratitude for those who make everything possible here on campus,” she said.
Geiger said she both enjoys seeing the staff feel appreciated and having an opportunity to give back.
“For me, it’s fun because it’s my way to give back to all the people who help put our events together and help us throughout the year from every department on campus,” she said.