William Evans celebrates 40 years with Cornell during the annual Service Awards celebration, May 31 in Schurman Hall Atrium.

Staff honored at annual Service Recognition Event

Susan Cobb, who has worked at Cornell for 45 years, remembers using manual typewriters to keep records in Olin Library.

Thirty years ago, David Dietterich’s first year working with untamed ponies at the university made him wonder what he was getting himself into.

Ron Babuka planned to leave Cornell after just five years. Thirty-five years later, he feels he has found a home.

The 67th Annual Service Recognition Event on May 31 honored these and other staff members celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of service at Cornell. This year’s celebration paid tribute to 270 employees who have collectively served 8,285 years at the university.

Christine Lovely offers opening remarks during the annual Service Awards celebration, May 31 in Schurman Hall Atrium.

The evening kicked off with remarks from Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff; Christine D. Lovely, vice president and chief human resources officer; and Lorin Warnick, Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine.

Kotlikoff praised the hard work and dedication of staff members, and their essential role at Cornell.

“One of the joys of Cornell is that this is a wonderful community that honors everybody,” Kotlikoff said. “We saw that during COVID, and we see that every day in the beauty of our campus. Everything from the buildings to the instruction and research that goes on inside of them, the growth and progress at Cornell relates directly to the contributions of everybody in this room. You keep Cornell moving forward and running smoothly year after year.”

The Service Recognition Program, established more than 70 years ago, celebrates staff members who have achieved milestones in their years of service. Beginning with five years and progressing in five-year increments, employees are honored by their departments with certificates, congratulations and rewards points. All non-academic staff are eligible for the Service Recognition Program based on the length of employment at the university.

This year, one employee celebrated 50 years at Cornell: Gerard “Rod” Zeltmann, field assistant at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, was applauded for half a century of service. Six other employees were close behind with 45 years.

“Cornell is so fortunate to have the remarkable achievements and energy that you all have brought to work every day over the years,” Lovely said. “This evening is all about you. Take the time to reminisce. We hope this event will make for more happy memories here at Cornell.”

Throughout the night, time capsule videos featuring clips of pop culture, global events and popular movies and television shows for each milestone year were on display. Digital photo albums highlighted photos and memories shared by colleagues across campus, while music from past decades played.

To learn more about the program and for a complete list of milestone awardees, visit University Service Recognition.

Grace DePaull is a writer for the Division of Human Resources.

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