University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - May Commencement

Greeting: Catherine E. Symans, Graduate Class of 2008
President of Staff Council

Catherine SymansGood morning Graduates, Families and Friends!

As President of the Staff Council, it is my great pleasure to address you on behalf of the University of Vermont staff.

Commencement is the culmination of the work each staff member executes individually, and it is the event that reveals how truly collaborative the diverse endeavors of the UVM staff are. That sentiment was expressed by President Sullivan this past year in recognizing the value of the staff at this University. The President’s recognition was recently demonstrated at a special awards ceremony in which six deserving staff members were presented with the inaugural President’s Our Common Ground Staff Award. This award is based on the Our Common Ground statement of aspirations and shared values of our community: respect, integrity, innovation, openness, justice and responsibility.

Why am I telling you about this staff award on your graduation day? Because recognized for their extraordinary contributions and significant impact on our University, these award recipients are representative of the more than 2,000 staff members who have served you, our students, by ensuring that the custodial staff have kept the buildings and grounds clean, have provided opportunities for students to develop the knowledge and skills to make healthy choices, have made a significant impact on your education through mentoring and research, have been instrumental in building community and providing student leadership, and through their work in human resources and governance, have supported the staff that have supported you.

You personally know some of these staff members and some of them you’ve never met. They are Pat Brown, Director of Student Life, Jeff Bukowski, Staff Council Administrator, Rodman Cory, Constituent Relations Team Lead in the Division of Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Annie Cressey, Health Educator in the Division of Student Affairs, Leslie Kornegay, Director of Custodial Services, and Bill Valliere, Park Studies Laboratory Research Specialist in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Through their day-to-day responsibilities, all six of these individuals, along with their colleagues, have dedicated themselves to serving the University of Vermont community, and supporting you, through your academic endeavors, as well as providing you with the positive learning environment you need to succeed in reaching your goals at UVM.

In all our various roles, we have been with you throughout your academic journey, and we are delighted to join you today in celebrating your success on this truly special occasion.

On behalf of all the staff at UVM, good luck and congratulations!

Last modified May 22 2014 12:42 PM