Party at the Sadler Center: W&M celebrates its employees

  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Employees enjoy a lunch buffet during the 2012 Employee Appreciation Day held in the Sadler Center May 30.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Hundreds of employees attended the midday event in the Sadler Center.  Photo by Stephen Salpuka
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  A staff member poses for a photo with the Griffin during the event.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Many staff members received certificates and gifts for reaching milestone anniversaries in their William & Mary careers. Here one such honoree Inez Burnett (right), poses for a photo with Chon Glover. Burnett is celebrating 30 years at W&M.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  A staff member with five years of service at William & Mary poses for a photo with President Taylor Reveley and others.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Lloyd Harvey (center), who is celebrating 10 years of service, poses for a photo with President Taylor Reveley (left) and another person.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Vanessa Elder, who is celebrating five years of service shares a laugh with another person before posing for a photo with her recognition certificate.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Employee Appreciation Day
    Employee Appreciation Day  Several staff members celebrating milestone anniversaries at W&M pose for a photo with President Taylor Reveley (second from left).  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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For anyone who walked into the Sadler Center on Wednesday afternoon, it was immediately apparent that the party was there. Music played, people hugged and the Griffin shook his “tail feather,” as one staff member put it.

The fun was all part of the William & Mary’s annual Employee Appreciation Day, which aims to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the College’s hourly, classified and operational staff members. Although the event is usually held outside as a picnic, rain from the edges of Tropical Storm Beryl forced the party inside this year, spreading the hundreds of attendees throughout three large rooms in the Sadler Center.

{{youtube:medium:left|nzS7zlzHQL0, 2012 Employee Appreciation Day}}

President Taylor Reveley kicked off the event by welcoming everyone and recognizing four people who reached extraordinary milestones in their service to the College and Commonwealth this year: Roxie Greene (45 years), Myron Hall (40 years) Della Harris (40 years) and Deloris Thomas (40 years).

Reveley also recognized this year’s Duke Award winner, David Dudley, and then pressed him into helping announce a few door prizes. Multiple door prizes were awarded throughout the event. The prizes ranged from bowling passes and T-shirts to parking passes and a Nook tablet.

Employees enjoyed a buffet meal, which offered hamburgers, fish, vegetables and more. While they ate, professional faculty members, administrators and teaching faculty members – all of whom volunteered to serve -- brought drinks to their tables.

Dean of University Libraries Carrie Cooper was one of those who volunteered to serve during the event. As a somewhat new member of the College community, this was the first Employee Appreciation Day that she has had the chance to participate in.

“I thought it was a great way to show my appreciation for all of the staff in the library and all across campus, so I’m happy to be here,” she said.

Cooper said she was impressed with the event and enjoyed seeing people get recognized for reaching milestones in their William & Mary careers. Hundreds of employees received gifts at the lunch for reaching five, 10, 15 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service. Those who were celebrating milestone anniversaries were immediately recognizable by the brightly colored ribbons that hung from their nametags.

“I think it’s really important that everybody at every level of the institution feel like they’re appreciated, and this is one way to show all staff that they are contributing. It’s great,” Cooper said.

Like Cooper, Linda Heron, who works in gift planning, has only been at William & Mary for about a year. She was here for only a week before attending last year’s Employee Appreciation Day. She said she went to the event this year to get to see people from across campus she knows and to meet new people.

“I definitely know a few more people than I did when I was here, of course, for only a week,” she said, smiling. “I just think it’s a very nice event that they do for their employees. I’ve never really experienced this before in my work career.”

Heron’s colleague, Ronna Reiff, has been at William & Mary for three years. Like Heron, her motivation for attending the event was centered on the people she would see.

“It’s just nice to be able to get together with other people that you work with and sometimes meet them for the first time,” she said. “You see names and you work with people on the phone, but you don’t really get a chance to meet them. It’s nice to be able to get with people from other departments that you do know, just to say hi and see how they’re doing.”

As people moved from table to table during the event, greeting old friends and making new ones, Earleen O’Roark received hugs and tearful goodbyes. O’Roark, the associate vice president for human resources, is retiring in July, so this was her last Employee Appreciation Day.

The event brought up “a lot of mixed emotions,” she said.

“It is happiness and sadness,” she said. “It’s seeing these folks that I’ve worked with for 11 years and when I was here before, so I’ve got 18 years’ worth, so it’s happy and sad at the same time.”

O’Roark said it was going to be hard to leave because she loves the people at William & Mary.

“I love William & Mary, and it’s not a cliché. It’s just a wonderful place,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but somehow, with dedication, we get through the rough times and everybody pulls together – that’s what’s special about it.”

And though this was her last Employee Appreciation Day, O’Roark still donned an apron and put her all into serving the employees who have served the College so well.

“This is my last one, but I’m still part of it. I feel like I’m owning it. I’m not giving it up until the 11th hour,” she said.