Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 13, September 14, 2012
Mark Century

Jackie Ellsworth New Pillar of Rensselaer

Jackie Ellsworth, bursar, has been named the 2012 Pillar of Rensselaer. Photo by Kris Qua

Jackie Ellsworth New Pillar of Rensselaer

Jackie Ellsworth, bursar in the Department of Capital Finance and Banking in the Division of Finance, says that to say she was overwhelmed to be recognized as a Pillar of Rensselaer would be putting it mildly.

A Rensselaer employee for more than 28 years, Ellsworth is the recipient of the 2012 Pillar of Rensselaer Award, the highest honor Rensselaer gives to a staff member. The award was presented to Ellsworth at the 40th annual Service Recognition and Retirement Dinner held Aug. 31 at the Hilton Garden Inn. (See additional story about the dinner.)

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.

Several days after the event, Ellsworth said that once she had a chance to absorb the idea, she felt extraordinarily honored. “If I am deserving of the honor, it is due in no small part to the network of
colleagues and friends that I have always enjoyed here at Rensselaer, my own Pillars, who support me both professionally and personally,” Ellsworth said. “I am especially grateful to Sue Proskine, assistant treasurer in the Treasurer’s Office, for her guidance and support and for spearheading my nomination. Rensselaer is a community that I have been proud to be a part of. I hope that I am worthy of being one of its Pillars; it’s an awesome and inspiring group of individuals.”

Ellsworth 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, and for her active role in the community, according to Secretary of the Institute and General Counsel Charles Carletta. He also shared at the dinner some quotes from several of the nominations received for Ellsworth.

During her tenure at Rensselaer, one nominator said that Ellsworth has “supported some of the largest changes that Rensselaer has experienced during the transformational period of The Rensselaer Plan. She is both visionary in her view of Rensselaer’s mission, and fully supportive of the steps that we need to take as a university to accomplish our goals.”

“This employee applies creative and individualized solutions for students while striving to make their experience at Rensselaer as fulfilling as possible,” said one nominator. “This person truly cares about Rensselaer’s students and understands the unique stress of college life. She engages the students as individuals, not just as a part of the student body. The students truly appreciate and value the interaction and guidance.”

One student nominator noted that they have had the opportunity over the last three years to observe firsthand [Ellsworth’s] dedication to Rensselaer. “This person’s position is not for the faint of heart; sometimes tough decisions need to be made, and students and families might not like the answers that are given. I believe that this employee understands this better than most people, and performs their job to an amazing capacity. This employee exemplifies the
qualities becoming of a Pillar Award recipient, and should be recognized for the efforts that they have made over the course of many years of service to

The Pillar of Rensselaer Award was established in 1993, through the support of Carl Westerdahl, former dean of students and director of alumni relations, who also attended the Sept. 9 event. 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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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 13, September 14, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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