Jacqueline Farmer, telecommunications analyst in the division of the chief information officer, has many reasons to smile. After all, her infamous e-mail sign-off includes the quote: “Keep smiling: I always do!” Farmer, a longtime Rensselaer employee of more than 20 years, is the recipient of the 2008 Pillar of Rensselaer Award, the highest honor Rensselaer gives to a staff member. The award was presented to Farmer at the 36th annual Service Recognition & Retirement Dinner held Sept. 12.
The Pillar Award is presented annually to a staff member who understands the Institute’s mission and history, has been a role model for other employees, has shown concern for students and their welfare, has added to the human dimension of the school, and who has played an active role in his or her home community.
“I could not believe it,” said Farmer, who recalls that her immediate reaction was to break down in tears of surprise and joy. “I have always been motivated to do something good for others specially for the students at Rensselaer. I could not imagine being rewarded for my actions since that is just part of who I am. I am truly honored.”
Farmer was cited for her demonstrated understanding of Rensselaer’s mission and history, and was praised as a role model and mentor for other employees and students, according to Secretary of the Institute and General Counsel Charles Carletta. She was praised for her active role in the Rensselaer and local community, and support for campus events, volunteerism, and fundraising efforts to “help the next generation with achieving their goals, particularly with a focus on education, among others.”
Carletta quoted from several of the nominations received for Farmer: “[Farmer] is an employee who is always willing to volunteer and help others,” said one nomination. “This employee actively participates on a number of boards, as well as several fundraising activities on Rensselaer’s behalf,” said another. “When asked ‘why?’ the response is, ‘I do it for the students.’ ”
Another nominator said, “Just recently, a Rensselaer graduate student came to the office and asked for [Farmer], stating he wanted to say ‘Thank You.’ He further stated that this employee was a mentor to him several years prior and helped him get on the right track and was instrumental in his graduating from Rensselaer.”
“As stated in The Rensselaer Plan, ‘World-class people create world-class universities.’ I proudly recommend this employee for this year’s Pillar award. Over the last 20 years, this employee has become a stellar Rensselaer employee with unwavering support for its mission and history.”
Carletta noted that, “in keeping with this employee’s spirit of volunteerism and support of Rensselaer programs, this employee not only volunteered to assist with the facilitation of this event, she even volunteered her husband!”
The Pillar of Rensselaer Award was established in 1993, through the support of Carl Westerdahl, former dean of students and director of alumni relations. The annual award consists of a gift of $500 and a sterling silver pin by Tiffany & Co. The winner’s name also is inscribed on the base of a Tiffany crystal award that is permanently displayed in the President’s Suite in the Troy Building.
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