Employees honored for service to Cornell

Lynn Dowling, research analyst in Alumni Affairs and Development, and Matt Held, a lead custodian in Campus Life's facilities area, recently were presented with the George Peter Award for Dedicated Service by the Employee Assembly.

Dowling is the 171st recipient of the Peter Award, which she received June 25 at a presentation in Weill Hall. Dowling said that she "never expected anything like this," and felt "honored and flattered" by colleagues who submitted words of praise or rose to speak on her behalf.

"She has a wonderful sense of humor and the best homemade cookies," said one colleague. "She is caring, thorough and thoughtful ... a constant." In support of her nomination, others wrote about Dowling's patience, eloquence and ability to remain calm in the face of last-minute requests, saying, "Lynn is the epitome of dedicated service, working effectively with all manner of staff."

Presenting the award, Mary George Opperman, vice president for human resources, said, "I know that George Peter, who passed away last August, would have been very touched to have seen this outpouring of appreciation for this very special staff person," Opperman said.

Dowling has also served as a volunteer team leader for the Cornell Elves Program in the Owego-Appalachian school district and with the Cornell Elves Summer Backpack Program. She is a member of the Junior League of Binghamton, an organization of women who build better communities through volunteerism, and of Project Children, a group that brings children from Northern Ireland to the United States each summer.

The 172nd person to receive the Peter Award, Held was taken by surprise when Jason Seymour, chair of the Employee Assembly, presented him with the award June 30 at the Townhouse Community Center. He was even more surprised to see that his wife, daughters, son-in-law and many colleagues were in attendance.

Noting that "Matt's qualities are a veritable checklist for leadership," Opperman highlighted Held's modesty -- giving the spotlight and recognition to others; his sense of humor; his caring for the people with whom he works; and his solution orientation.

In nominating Held, colleague Timothy Anderson noted, "Matt is in constant demand, giving advice, solving problems and demonstrating a true passion for what he does, all the while maintaining a strong professional image, great communication skills and generally putting everyone at ease around him."

The award is named for George Peter, a longtime employee who led efforts to broaden Cornell employees' participation in campus governance, fighting for staff representation in university decision-making and official recognition of employee achievements. In 1975 he became the first employee-elected member of Cornell's Board of Trustees. Peter died Aug. 10, 2008.

The award is presented to staff members who demonstrate excellence in the performance of their duties and who extend themselves beyond the expectations of their job responsibilities. Nominees must demonstrate superior ability to work effectively in collaboration with peers, subordinates, supervisors and others; be an excellent team player; and have a positive influence on colleagues, professional field, program or the university.

More information: http://assembly.cornell.edu/EA-GeorgePeter/Home.

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