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Scott Harrison and Marcie Blanchard were honored May 18 by Old Dominion University's Hourly and Classified Employees Association as HACE Staff Member and HACE Rookie of the Year.

The announcements were made during HACE's annual luncheon.

Harrison, director of information technology for the Office of Student Services, has been with the university for more than 12 years. Blanchard has worked as a fiscal technician for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for the past 10 months.

Harrison is responsible for all of the student services division's information technology support and was instrumental in the successful launching of the Banner student system.

Maggi Curri-Williams, associate vice president for student services, nominated Harrison for the award. "Scott works tirelessly for the division, carrying a pager everywhere, and has been a great asset to us because he understands student affairs work and he cares deeply for our students," she said.

She also cited his university involvement outside the job, which includes service as AUA newsletter editor and as a member of a dozen campus committees, and his community service outside the university, which includes volunteering for the Great Computer Challenge and the Odyssey of the Mind competition.

Many letters supporting Harrison's nomination came from throughout the student services area, as well as from other campus offices. The following is a sampling of the comments:

"Scott is a self-taught systems expert whose innate technical ability is combined with significant interpersonal skills. The combination provides an approachable, helpful and responsive source of good information, problem-solving and advice for all within the division (and many who work in other university areas as well)." -- Dana D. Burnett, vice president for student services.

"Whether he's setting up new computer hardware, installing additional programs or answering our detailed 'help' questions, Scott's manner is always very pleasant and accommodating. He is consistently prompt, patient, knowledgeable, sensitive to those less technologically inclined and attentive to the quality of work. It is truly a pleasure to have him as our division's computer 'techno-wizard.'" -- Julie L. Dodd, director of the Women's Center.

"Early in the fall semester Scott wrote a program that permits me to print out class lists in a simple, readable fashion that is far superior to the listings given on Banner. I had mentioned my need for such a program during a general division meeting at which Scott asked how he could assist us. Not only did he begin working on my problem immediately, he also called me to remind me of my request and to ask for more direction. I was truly impressed just a few days later when he called to say I could try it out. That's service!" -- Cynthia Ghaemmaghami, director of developmental mathematics.

"One highlight of working with Scott has been his positive, 'can-do' attitude. You never hear Scott saying 'That's not my job' or 'I can't help you with that.' He is always available to lend a hand." -- Martha Smith Sharpe, director of university planning and institutional research.

"He is a person who projects a sense of calm under the most stressful of situations, and exhibits a sense of patience and, at the same time, great enthusiasm for his work. He is an excellent model of what every employer looks for in its employees. Any HACE member would eagerly strive to follow his example." -- Paul J. Champagne, chair of the Faculty Senate.

For winning the HACE award, Harrison received a $200 U.S. Savings Bond from the Jill Nolte Endowment Fund, a $50 cash award and a framed certificate. Other prizes included a designated parking space for one year, tickets to university basketball games and the Virginia Stage Company's "A Christmas Carol," and an Old Dominion sweatshirt.

Blanchard also received a number of letters supporting her nomination for HACE Rookie of the Year. She was nominated by Stephen A. Zahorian, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, where she handles all financial matters, including student payroll for graduate students, faculty travel, equipment purchases and supplies, and supervises other classified and hourly staff in the department.

Zahorian, who called Blanchard "a professional in every sense of the word," also wrote in his nomination letter, "When Marcie began the job last summer, she immediately assessed the various components of work which needed to be done, and was rapidly up to speed on virtually everything. Payroll for graduate research assistants was processed accurately and on time for the fall semester.

Departmental financial record keeping, which had fallen behind, was rapidly reconciled with university records. All outstanding bills were tracked down and paid. The departmental financial system was converted to use Quicken, with a variety of easy-to-interpret reports created so that I could easily track flows of money.

"One incident from last summer stands out in my mind that illustrates the resourcefulness and extra steps which Marcie takes and continues to take. In reorganizing her office, she came across partially completed plans for upgrading and remodeling our departmental front office space. This plan had been put on hold, largely because we previously had not been able to find time to complete the planning. Marcie volunteered to finish the job. Within six weeks, she had all plans completed, the work arranged and completed."

Letters supporting Blanchard's nomination also included the following comments:

"Anyone who steps into Marcie's office is greeted with a warm and friendly smile. She is very kind and understanding toward students and their problems. Marcie would go to extreme lengths to help you if you have a problem." -- Jaishree Venugopal, graduate research assistant.

"Although Mrs. Blanchard has only been with the college since last summer, she has not hesitated to assist staff in computer software instruction and other office tasks which are outside her job requirements. She always has a cheerful disposition and is a pleasure to work with." -- Pat Beauter, enrollment services assistant, College of Engineering and Technology.

"She has brought a superb level of professionalism to the department and she has quickly earned our complete trust." -- Oscar R. González, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

For winning the HACE award, Blanchard received a $25 cash award, a framed certificate, tickets to Old Dominion basketball games and the Virginia Stage Company's "A Christmas Carol," and a university sweatshirt.

This article was posted on: June 14, 2000

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