Janna Lamey and Nianne VanFleet receive awards for dedicated service

Janna Lamey, manager of the Graduate Education Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Nianne VanFleet, associate director for nursing and clinical support services at Gannett Health Services, were recognized recently for their excellence with a George Peter Award for Dedicated Service.

The awards honor staff members who "consistently demonstrate a high degree of excellence in the performance of their duties" and prove "their willingness to extend themselves to help others and go above and beyond the normal expectations of their job responsibilities."

Lamey was applauded by more than 100 faculty, colleagues, friends and family May 20 in the Vet College Atrium when she became the 176th recipient of the award. Michael Kotlikoff, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, credited Lamey with giving the graduate programs of the Vet College a unifying structure and the graduate students a hub and center of focus. Robin Davisson, professor in biomedical sciences and director, graduate field of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, said that Lamey was instrumental in the successful launching of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program in 2002 and in its subsequent administration.

Lamey is the "glue that keeps a lot of us on track and together," said Linda Nowak, associate professor of neuropharmacology and director of the DVM-Ph.D. program, noting Lamey's ability to give individualized attention to anyone who comes to her for help.

"Janna embodies all of the qualities recognized by the award," said her supervisor, Robert Gilmour, the college's associate dean for research and graduate education. In their nomination letter, Cornelia Farnum, the James Law Professor of Anatomy, and Karla Stucker, postdoctoral associate, said that Lamey is able to "establish a special, individual relationship with each person. ... Her second true gift is the gift of infectious enthusiasm."

VanFleet was taken by surprise May 25, when, at the Gannett Health Services staff appreciation event, she was called forward to receive the award in front of her colleagues, friends and family members.

"I couldn't be happier to have Nianne honored by the larger community of Cornell," said Janet Corson-Rikert, assistant vice president for campus health and executive director of Gannett Health Services. Calling VanFleet a teacher, cheerleader, space guru and consummate university citizen, Corson-Rikert said that VanFleet "handles the concerns of anxious students and parents, faculty and staff with compassion and the calm wisdom grown out of 30 years of experience as a nurse, mother, colleague and friend. She is, simply, exactly who we would want to be there for ourselves or a loved one at a time of distress."

Catherine Thrasher-Carroll, mental health promotion coordinator at Gannett, said in her nomination letter, "Whether taking on the role of patient advocate, administering flu shots, helping to train new staff or providing on-call consultation to students in the middle of the night, Nianne demonstrates a deep commitment for and enjoyment of students and her position."

VanFleet listens, is a problem-solver and makes things work, Corson-Rikert said. "If there is one person who really 'walks the talk' of the caring community, it's Nianne," she added.

Cornell Vice Presidents Mary Opperman and Susan Murphy and Employee Assembly leaders also spoke on behalf of the recipients, as did various other members of the Cornell community.

The George Peter Award for Dedicated Service, created in 1980, is Cornell's longest running and most prestigious universitywide peer-nominated award. It is named for the late George Peter, Cornell's tireless staff advocate and first employee-elected trustee; the program is overseen by the Employee Assembly.

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Joe Schwartz