Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
Lyndon Johnson was president of the United States on Bob O’Connor’s first day of work as a full-time employee at Virginia Commonwealth University. It was March of 1966. O’Connor was a draftsman in the Building and Grounds Department.
“It was a catastrophe as I recall,” O’Connor said. “On the way down I had an automobile accident. Somebody cut in front of me.”
Things improved after that for O’Connor. He met his wife at VCU and spent 50 years at the university. On Wednesday he was one of many employees honored at the 45th annual service awards reception, which recognizes faculty and staff for their ongoing service to VCU.
“This is an extraordinary university,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “And an extraordinary university really is about extraordinary people — people who have sincere, heartfelt commitment to the lives of others.”
Rao, Faculty Senate President Holly Alford and Staff Senate President Sania Marcoccia presented awards for notable service and achievement Wednesday. Faculty and staff celebrating from five to 50 years of service were honored at the event.
VCU Service Awards video 2016
“It is especially fitting that we recognize our recipients,” Alford said. “Our faculty and staff are instrumental in helping the institution achieve its mission and goals through VCU’s strategic plan – Quest for Distinction.”
O’Connor, the only employee celebrating 50 years of service, was recognized at the end of the event. His ties to VCU actually date back further than his full-time employment. He graduated from Richmond Professional Institute and worked part time as a student, preparing small renovation projects around campus. The recently retired O’Connor finished his long VCU career as a project manager in Construction Management.
“His initials can still be found on some of our building plans,” Alford said.
Annual awards presented Wednesday:
Dorris Douglas Budd Award (outstanding administrative and support staff who demonstrate exemplary performance and enhance the image and mission of the university and medical center):
Susan Beavers, VCU Health Wound Care Team
President’s Award of Excellence:
Polly Cole, VCU Massey Cancer Center
President’s Outstanding Achievement Awards (accomplishments that have resulted in significant benefits to the institution):
Angela Flagg, VCU School of Nursing
Lisa Yamin, VCU Liberal Studies for Early and Elementary Education Program
President’s Service Excellence Awards (highest level of customer service):
Jacqueline Kniska, VCU Audit and Compliance Services
Denise Lynch, VCU Hospital Administration
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