A beautiful day for a picnic at SUNY New Paltz

Friends and colleagues passed a sunny lunch hour together on the Parker Quad, enjoying some well-deserved relaxation and food fresh from the grill, as the College celebrated the end of the academic year with the annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Picnic & BBQ on May 21.

“This past weekend, our Undergraduate Commencement and its two ceremonies marked the official close of another successful and exciting academic year at New Paltz,” said President Donald P. Christian. “After the busy pace at the end of the year, gatherings like this let us step back, catch our breath, enjoy some BBQ and chat with colleagues and friends.”

As in years past, the picnic included the announcement of the Classified Staff Presidential Recognition Awards, for campus personnel who have provided exception service to SUNY New Paltz students, colleagues and the broader community.

The award comes with a stipend, certificate, gift bag, and, most importantly, the chance to be put on the spot in front of friends and colleagues as President Christian reads out each awardee’s credentials. This year’s recipients:

Classified Staff Presidential Recognition Awards recipients, from left: Guido Avitabile, Maria Cathcart, Jennifer Donohue, Linda Orth, Valerie Lloyd, with President Donald P. Christian

Guido Avitabile, mason plasterer, Facilities Operations
Avitabile has been at the College since 1997, and is known to be a professional and skilled asset to Facilities Operations and the campus community. His nominator credited him with implementing a number of practical solutions to cut costs and enable his team to work more efficiently.

Maria Cathcart, secretary 1, Center for Student Development
Cathcart has worked at New Paltz since 2002. She is described as someone who consistently goes above and beyond in providing exemplary customer service, especially during the busy Orientation season. She serves as a go-to resource for parents and new students arriving to campus, and they often continue to contact her with questions long after the Orientation process ends.

Jennifer Donohue, payroll assistant, Payroll
Donohue has served at SUNY New Paltz for just two years, but already she has earned a reputation as a self-motivated, reliable, focused team player. She handles complex payroll staff issues while serving as a positive role model to staff and students, and has been adaptable, dependable and productive in her work

Valerie Lloyd, office assistant 2, Student Accounts
Lloyd joined the College in 1996, and according to colleagues she plays the role of “fire fighter” in her office, often being the first to respond to issues needing immediate attention. She has a strong attention to detail, a keen grasp of the inner workings of Student Accounts, and a talent for explaining complex scenarios with simplicity and precision.

Linda Orth, office assistant 2, Student Accounts
Orth has served at New Paltz since 1995 and has earned praise for her in-depth knowledge and excellent customer service skills. This year she received special recognition from EOP for her tireless support of their students.

Naomi Vogt, office assistant 2, Disability Resource Center
Vogt joined the College in 2006, and has consistently placed the needs of students and parents at the forefront of her work. She knows by name many of the nearly 600 students served by the Center, and makes every effort to ensure each feels welcomed and included. Her compassion and communication skills with students were particularly useful easing the transition of her office’s move to a new location this year.

The All Faculty and Staff Appreciation Picnic & BBQ is sponsored by the Office of the President and organized by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations.