Honorees posed for photos at the 2024 Service Recognition Event.

Nearly 300 staff honored at annual Service Recognition Event

Fifty years ago, disco was on the rise, “American Graffiti” and “The Exorcist” were big at the box office, and the Watergate scandal led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Meanwhile, Vicky Sharp and Michael Skvarla were starting their first days at Cornell.

Eric Maroney, honored for 25 years of service, and his wife, Kasia Maroney.

Skvarla began his career in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, later joining the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility as a user program manager. Sharp is an administrative assistant in International Services and the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

“I’ve pretty much grown up at Cornell,” Sharp said. “The university helped me gain professional skills and self-confidence. I’ve been a mentor to many new employees, served on several committees and am fortunate to have had great supervisors and colleagues. I love the work that I do and get great satisfaction from helping our international applicants through their admission and visa processes. I am so grateful to have a job that I have enjoyed for so many years.”

The 68th Annual Service Recognition Event, held May 29 in the Schurman Hall Atrium in the College of Veterinary Medicine, marked a significant milestone for Sharp, Skvarla and nearly 300 other staff members celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of service at Cornell.

President Martha E. Pollack delivered a toast to honor staff members celebrating their many years of service. Quoting the late Frank H.T. Rhodes, president emeritus, Pollack described Cornell as “an engine that drives humanity forward.”

“All of you have helped keep that engine running,” Pollack said. “Our libraries, our labs, our residences, our dining halls, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Cornell Companion Animal Hospital, everything we are to this community, to New York state and to the world, all of it relies on your contributions and commitment, on your expertise and your excellence,” she said. “Our staff are the backbone of this institution. And without you, this place would fall apart.”

Lorin Warnick, Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, and Christine D. Lovely, vice president and chief human resources officer, delivered opening remarks, honoring the awardees’ contributions.

“During the years that our college was closely involved in the university’s COVID-19 response, I gained an even stronger appreciation for all your work across the university, making Cornell a great place to work and study,” Warnick said. “And when I see the milestones represented here, it reminds me of the level of expertise, skills and commitment of those recognized.”

In addition to the two 50-year milestone recipients, three employees celebrated 45 years of service: Charles Strohman, electronics engineer for the Department of Physics; Debbie Bell, Human Resources student employment and payroll assistant; and Renee Heroux, custodian at Carl Becker House.

Honorees gather at the 68th Annual Service Recognition Event.

Throughout the evening, attendees watched videos featuring clips of pop culture, global events and popular movies and television shows for each milestone year. Digital albums with photos shared by colleagues across campus were displayed to music from past decades, and a photo booth captured new memories.

For more than 70 years, the Service Recognition Program has celebrated staff members who’ve 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 nonacademic staff are eligible for the Service Recognition Program based on the length of employment at the university.

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

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.

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub