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Putting puzzles together: Springer receives Aceto Award

  • Aceto Award
    Aceto Award  Cory Springer has been praised by faculty, staff and students across campus for her impeccable work ethic, collaborative spirit and overall commitment to the university.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Cory Springer has been at William & Mary as an employee or student since the age of 16, her career spanning more than three decades now.

But it’s not the length of Springer’s service at William & Mary that has impressed students, faculty and staff across campus; it’s her impeccable work ethic, collaborative spirit and overall commitment to the university.

Because of those qualities, the associate registrar was named the 2014 recipient of William & Mary’s Shirley Aceto Award. Established in 2010, the award is presented annually “to a member of the instructional or professional faculty who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to excellence in service to the campus community,” according to the award website.

“It was a really, really pleasant surprise, and I was honored to have even been nominated,” said Springer. “There are so many individuals on campus that deserve this kind of award, so it was amazing that I was selected. I was humbled.”

Although Springer’s family moved around when she was young, they eventually settled in Williamsburg, where Springer attended Lafayette High School.

She got her first job at William & Mary through her mother, who worked for the alumni society. Springer was hired the summer after her high-school sophomore year to do data-entry work and returned to do the same job the following two summers.

When it came time to apply for college, Springer knew exactly where she wanted to go. She applied to one school only: William & Mary.

As a student, Springer studied kinesiology, but she also continued her employment with the university, doing some work for development and assisting with preparations for W&M’s tercentennial celebration.

Although she didn’t expect to have a career in higher education, Springer got a job in the William & Mary admission office after graduation and found that she enjoyed it. Since then, she has moved around campus a few times, going between the admission office and university registrar, before finally landing in her current position.

“I love sinking my teeth into the inner workings of the academics here and being able to support all that goes on behind that,” she said. “I loved admissions, but in this area I get to work much more closely with faculty and students.”

As an associate registrar, Springer helps support students throughout their academic careers at the university with tasks including academic advising, evaluations and degree completion. As part of that effort, Springer works with multiple computer applications, including Banner, to help faculty, staff and students find the information they need.

“I get all sorts of convoluted requests for data. Writing queries to collect that data to help others accomplish their goals is one of my favorite parts of this job. I love puzzles and fulfilling data requests is like putting all the pieces of a puzzle together,” said Springer.

“Anytime I can do investigative work into software and play around a little bit, that’s fun for me.”

The joy that Springer finds in her work has not gone unnoticed. In nomination letters for the Aceto Award, colleagues across campus praised Springer for her skill and can-do attitude.

“Cory has remarkable connections around campus built on years of collaboration and hard work,” said University Registrar Sallie Marchello. “She is highly competent and organized, and she inspires confidence in everyone who works with her.”

When something needs to be done, Springer just does it, Marchello noted.

“She doesn’t worry about whether she gets credit for it or whether anyone notices; she just does it,” Marchello said.

Bonnie Fleming, a project manager for information technology, said that she has called on Springer many times in the 10 years that they have known each other for help with projects including the events management system, online course evaluations, and, most recently Degree Works, an academic advising tool.

“Each time she has been more than accommodating in providing information, assessing risks and providing creative solutions,” said Fleming. “Quite simply, she is a very dedicated employee who wants to provide the best service to students, staff and faculty.”

Springer’s contributions to William & Mary go well beyond her official job responsibilities. She has also served on multiple committees throughout the years. As a member of the Professionals and Professional Faculty Assembly, she helped with several campus initiatives, including the extension of the tuition waiver program to part-time and hourly employees who are eligible for the leave program.

Associate Professor of Geology Rowan Lockwood worked with Springer on the Advising Task Force and Advising Advisory Board. In that capacity, Springer compiled the first comprehensive data on student satisfaction with advising. She also developed a series of video tutorials on the advising software to train both students and faculty.

“I’ve worked with Cory for the past 12 years and can honestly say that she is one of the brightest, most hard-working, most creative and generally exceptional employees we have at the College,” said Lockwood.

“There is no task she can’t accomplish, no question she can’t answer.”

Springer, who earned her master’s degree in higher education from the university in 2011, said that she has learned a lot working at William & Mary over the past three decades.

“I’ve certainly learned a lot being in the classroom, but I think I’ve learned even more outside of the classroom. Being able to work alongside creative, intelligent people on campus has been an amazing experience for me” she said.

Having a chance to work with faculty, staff and students across campus is one of the things that have turned what started as a summer job into a lifelong commitment to William & Mary for Springer.

“I spend more waking hours here at work, than I do at home. I’m lucky that the people I work alongside, not just here in the office but across campus, genuinely want to work hard to do the things that help make William & Mary a better place,” she said. “The people, probably first and foremost, are the best part of it.”