Gallery of Winners

Christine Schmidt

Christine Schmidt Christine Schmidt remembers her first day of work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) for two reasons: It was April Fools’ Day 1984, and she cried on the drive in.

“I was crying because I didn’t want to come in. I was 19 years old and didn’t want to go into the future,” said Schmidt, enrollment services specialist in the Office of the Registrar. “But that feeling soon passed, and I’ve been at UMB ever since. I’m kind of old school. You were raised that you stay with one place — forever.”

Loyalty and longevity are just two of Schmidt’s qualities that were celebrated April 9 when she was honored as UMB’s Employee of the Month for April during a Webex teleconference with President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, her office co-workers, and colleagues from UMB schools. Schmidt thought she was attending a general meeting about graduation, but Jarrell surprised her with news of the award.

“I’ve read the Employee of the Month nomination form, and what you’ve accomplished is very impressive,” Jarrell told Schmidt. “I thank you on behalf of the University. The Office of the Registrar is a really important office, and having employees there who are of the highest quality is certainly important to me, as well as to all of the students.”

The Office of the Registrar produces transcripts and degree/enrollment verification for students and alumni, administers the residency policy, oversees Universitywide registration and grading, and produces and distributes diplomas. Schmidt noted with pride that she named the Student Transaction and Administrative Records System (STARS), and when asked to describe her duties in a nutshell, she said with a smile: “I’m the grade-changer for the University.”

Cindy Pumphrey, MS, associate director of registration at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, said Schmidt does much more than change grades and is key to all of the office’s operations. She praised her knowledge, work ethic, and demeanor, saying she considers her like a sister.

“I often say the Office of the Registrar is the nucleus of a campus,” Pumphrey said. “The office is in the process of finding a new associate registrar to assist with daily operations, but in the meantime Christine is keeping the transcripts flowing, grades changed, and assisting with updating residency. Most of all, she gives us the right answer to our questions whether we want to hear it or not.

“Chris is one of the most dedicated persons I know,” Pumphrey added. “She is a team player and holds up other colleagues when there’s an influx of tasks. She is a pleasant person, and you can practically hear her smile over the phone. Chris is not a shouter or a ‘look at me’ type of person. She gets the work done — and it is done correctly.”

Patricia Scott, assistant vice president for enrollment administration and University registrar, said Schmidt always goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist not just students, but also staff members. And that has especially been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We decided to return to campus one day a week, but Chris is the type of person who would want to come in five days a week,” Scott said. “But whether she’s on campus or working remotely, the quality of her work has not changed. In fact, it’s gotten better over the past year. She delivers great customer service to everyone she works with.”

Schmidt will receive $250 in her next paycheck, a plaque, and a letter of commendation as Employee of the Month. Not one to seek the limelight, she said she was shocked to have won the award and happy because it validates her work ethic.

“I’ve always been content to sit in the background, but I’m a really hard worker,” she said. “No matter how full my plate is, I will always try to help somebody else. I often say if there was a blizzard, I would be the one who would want to drive in to work.”

Asked about her dedication to UMB and what motivates her after 37 years of service, she points to the traditional Universitywide Commencement at Royal Farms Arena, though it’s been canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I enjoy working the graduation, going down to the arena every year,” Schmidt said. “My old boss used to say, ‘Aren’t you tired of graduation yet?’ I’d say no, because it’s very emotional and satisfying to see the students get their diplomas. That makes me proud, and I think it’s a great honor to be a part of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.”

— Lou Cortina

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