More than 1,700 UTMB employees were recognized for reaching important milestones in their careers during a festive Employee Service Day ceremony on May 31 on the Galveston Campus.
Collectively, the employees represented 22,135 years of service and dedication to UTMB. Special service pins were given in five-year increments, with 45 years being the longest tenure honored at the ceremony. In addition, 538 GEM card recipients were recognized for “going the extra mile.”
Decades of dedication
This year’s celebration recognized not one or two, but seven employees who have been at UTMB for 45 years.
Alexander Kurosky, PhD, director of the UTMB Biomolecular Resource facility and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Shirley McGraw, administrative coordinator in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in the School of Health Professions; Johnny Peterson, PhD, the Samuel Baron Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Dr. Joan Richardson, chair and professor in the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Neonatology; Dr. Landon Stout, pathologist in Autopsy Services and professor in the Department of Pathology; Dr. Barbara Thompson, professor and chair of UTMB’s Department of Family Medicine; and Dr. Courtney Townsend Jr., the Robertson-Poth Distinguished Chair in General Surgery—all joined UTMB in 1972.
President Dr. David Callender personally thanked the 45-year employees for their commitment to UTMB’s mission and to those we serve. A video featuring some of the employees’ favorite memories of their decades-long careers drew laughs and applause from the audience.
“I guess the obvious question is why I have hung around here for 45 years—and I never could get a job any place else,” joked Richardson in the video.
On a more serious note, she added, “The great thing about UTMB is it has given me the opportunity to do a variety of things. The most memorable has been the opportunity to help build a newborn intensive care unit and a newborn service from scratch… I’m going to stay around long enough to build one more nursery and hopefully that will be open in the next three or four years. The neonatal ICU is my baby, it is my passion, it is the thing I came here to do and I have been fortunate enough to work with an enormous number of talented and committed people.”
The highest degree of professionalism
Cathy Copeland, business operations manager for the School of Nursing, was selected as the winner of the Nicholas and Katherine Leone Award for Administrative Excellence at this year’s celebration.
The award recognizes a manager or supervisor at UTMB who displays the highest degree of professionalism. A monetary prize of $7,500—$2,500 for the winning manager and $5,000 for developing and training in his or her department—comes with the honor. Employee Advisory Council members reviewed and scored more than 40 nominations.
“I am totally shocked!” said Copeland after receiving the award. “Galveston is my home and UTMB is my home—both of my parents retired from here and I first started working at UTMB back in 1974. So for me, it’s what you do—I like people and I’m a helper. I’m just so thrilled and humbled.”
Copeland was nominated by her colleagues Clay Wade and Jason Fry, who described her as someone who epitomizes trust. In the nomination letter, they wrote “Her position requires a very high level of confidentiality, and during the years we have worked together, her judgment and/or integrity in this regard has never been questioned… I’ve come to know that she’s truly a good and well-intentioned person who is always looking to add value….”
The Leone Award, established in 1971, is made possible through an endowment from Dr. Nicholas Leone, a former commanding officer and director of the Public Health Service Hospital in Galveston, and his wife, Katherine.
To watch the Employee Service Day video or view the full list of honorees, go to http://hr.utmb.edu/tod/serviceday.
For photos, visit UTMB’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/utmb/.