Elizabeth Stamas-Genthner and David Wojcik were this year’s winners of the Meritorious Service Award.
“Hudson Valley has a history or recognizing excellence and people who have invested their entire careers into the college,” said President Drew Matonak. “It’s something we should all be very proud of that.”
For 35 years, Hudson Valley has recognized staff with meritorious service awards at an annual ceremony. Stamas-Genthner, a senior clerk, has been working for the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center since 2011. Wojcik, hired five years ago, works as a printing machine operator in the print shop.
Both were recognized for their commitment to their respective departments. “I don’t care if you are a custodian, or a teacher who has had students in their classroom for forty years. Everybody here makes a contribution in one way or another to the success of our students,” said Matonak.
The recipients were selected by a ten-member committee based on nomination submissions. The nominators were also required to submit letters of support.
“It’s a very fair process. That is why I like to work on the committee,” said committee chairwoman Suzanne Brownrigg. “Every year it is a lot of work, but it is really rewarding. There are a lot of people on campus that don’t get recognized enough.”
There were fewer nominations this year than in the past according to Brownrigg. Last year the committee received 17 applications but only received 3 this year.
Brownrigg, who has been on the committee for more than a decade, said that the number of applications and awards given has always varied dramatically from year to year. One year, the committee granted awards to all 12 who were nominated.
The college also recognized over 70 staff members who have been employed by the college for more than five years. The two longest serving college employees to be recognized were professors Joseph Caruso, hired in 1975, and Timothy Dennis, hired in 1970. “Those individuals more than anybody else are responsible for how Hudson Valley has developed over the years,” said Matonak.
Caruso started working at the college in the criminal justice department at the age of 22 and ended up staying for 40 years. “I never planned to stay here for more than five years. I found that I loved teaching and I have no reason to leave,” said Caruso.
Dennis was a student at Hudson Valley himself before he decided to pursue teaching in the civil, construction, industrial and mechanical technologies department. According to Dennis, many of his students who weren’t accepted to four-year schools use Hudson Valley to prove themselves before transferring. “I enjoy teaching, I have enjoyed teaching since the the first day I worked here, I plan to keep on teaching until the day I don’t enjoy it,” he said.