Lois Bennett of Lonaconing, Md., Administrative Assistant II for the Programs Advancing Student Success (PASS) office, the Disability Support Services (DSS) office and the Registrar’s Office at Frostburg State University, has received the 2013 University System of Maryland Board of Regents Staff Award, the highest honor bestowed on USM staff employees. She is being honored for outstanding service to students in an academic or residential environment.
Bennett will be recognized at the Sept. 20 Board of Regents meeting.
An FSU employee since 1984, Bennett is the administrative assistant for three offices, providing complex technical and secretarial support to six professional administrators and instructors. She is in charge of an administrative assistant and approximately 150 federal work-study students for these offices; runs and organizes the test-taking facility; reviews the budgets for five offices; has multiple responsibilities during the Preview FSU summer orientation program, including scoring placement tests and answering student and parent phone inquiries; and even informally advises students and helps them with the PAWS Information System that provides access to student services.
The intangible tasks she performs, however, make her a star. In his nomination letter, Dr. Jay Hegeman, associate vice president for Student and Educational Services and registrar, pointed out that “The PASS office has always been characterized by a huge volume of student traffic – literally thousands each academic year. Lois treats each student as a member of her own family and prides herself with remembering almost all of their names. … But recalling names is only a surface sign of her interest in students. Lois takes addressing student issues and concerns as a top priority. She stops everything to help a student, be it to solve a problem in the office, explain how to navigate other administrative offices or listen to a personal quandary of some sort.”
“One of Lois’ strongest attributes is her ability to listen, something students seem to recognize instinctively,” said Harriet B. Douglas, the director of the PASS office. “They will share all kinds of concerns and problems with Lois, knowing that she will not judge them and will give them the wisdom of her experience and knowledge. Sometimes all the student needs is a compassionate listener and a hug; Lois provides both.”
Perhaps an anonymous note left on Bennett’s desk said it best: “You are absolutely one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met in my life.”
The Regents’ Staff Award recognizes the achievements of salaried and hourly employees of the University System of Maryland. Award winners are selected from the institutions within USM and are nominated based on letters and recommendations by colleagues. Each recipient receives a certificate presented during a ceremony at a Board of Regents meeting and a monetary prize.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.
For further information on this release, contact:
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Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303