Gallery of Winners

Steven Boggs

On Monday, April 27, 2015, Steven Boggs, JD, director of records and registration at the Francis King Carey School of Law, made what to him was a “simple decision.” Others saw his quick, calm thinking to salvage the final exam schedule minutes from the University being closed by the Freddie Gray unrest as anything but simple and unanimously named him UMB’s Employee of the Year at the Employee Service Recognition and Community Service Awards Program on April 7, 2016.

“Yes, stunned is an apt description,” Boggs said of winning the Cecil S. Kelly Memorial Employee of the Year Award. He recalled that fateful day being told that the city was going into curfew and lockdown mode. “Dean Tobin and two other deans were in my office saying 2 o’clock we have to close down the law school and what are our options for our exams? Because I was already aware of how I could convert things into a take-home mode, so students could access their exams remotely with computer software to time them, that was the decision that was made.

“As 2 o’clock approached I was trying to get as many exams converted as I could, not knowing what would happen for the rest of the week. By 2:28 there were three police coming to the door and I’m like, ‘Look five minutes and I’m out of here.’”

Boggs, who was eligible for the annual award after being named Employee of the Month for September, said the decision was simple because alternatives were few.

“We had literally just started our first day of exams. The show must go on. I knew a Plan B so the deans said, ‘All right, make Plan B happen but do it quickly.’ All things being equal it worked as well as it could.”

Boggs said deciding where his $1,500 prize would go was a simple decision as well. “I have four kids,” he said with a laugh, “so I’m sure it’s already spent.”

Boggs, who has worked at UMB for almost three years, was one of several “newcomers” to play a prominent role as nearly 100 longtime personnel were honored at an entertaining luncheon at the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center.

“Together, the long-serving employees we honor today have dedicated 2,460 years to this University,” said UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, who co-hosted the event with fellow newcomer Matt Lasecki, SPHR, chief human resources officer. “All told, I’ve given 11 years to UMB — not even a quarter of the tenure of our heroic 45-year honorees,” added Perman. “So it’s clear that UMB’s reputation — our good name and our good works — they say a lot more about all of you than they do about me.”

Lasecki thanked those in the crowd for how “incredibly welcoming” they have been in his first five months at UMB. He then saluted the 20-, 25-, 30-, 35-, 40-, and 45-year employees for their service, sprinkling in interesting facts from the year they started working at UMB.

“Cal Ripken Jr. breaks the consecutive-games record [20 years]; Home Alone was the top movie [25 years]; Dallas was top TV show [30 years]; a loaf of bread cost 48 cents [35 years],” he said during the program.

The 40-year employees honored were Donna Ferger (School of Medicine), Deborah Horstman and Darlene Watkins (both of the School of Dentistry),

Larry Miller (Administration and Finance), and Nolene Taylor (School of Nursing). By the way, Jaws was the top movie when they first came to UMB.

Lasecki introduced the most senior employees by reminding the audience that in 1970 when Thomasine Guberski (School of Medicine) and Carol Stillwell (School of Dentistry) first started, Richard Nixon was president, M*A*S*H was the top TV show, and UMB students could rent places around campus for $39 a month.

Stillwell, who began at the School of Social Work, shifted to the Office of the President for 20 years as an administrative assistant, before moving to the School of Dentistry in 1991, credited great colleagues for her longevity.

“I’m in pediatric dentistry,” she said. “You can’t go wrong when you work with people who work with children.”

Boggs wasn’t the only award winner.

Mary Cain (School of Medicine), Hazel Jones-Parker (School of Nursing), and the late Shirley Allen (School of Dentistry) were recognized as nominees for the Board of Regents Award.

Janet Nance-Richardson, coordinator in the Carey School of Law, received the Community Service Award for her work as founder and chair of Baltimore-Metro Greeks Unite. Said Lasecki: “This is an extension of the service work Janet has been doing in the community for over 34 years as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.”

And Janice Hicks of the School of Social Work won the $2,000 James T. Hill Scholarship, established to support the University’s commitment to staff development in recognition of the former vice president’s long and outstanding service to UMB. Hicks recently earned her BS from UMUC with a major in management studies, and is working toward her master’s degree in health care administration at UMUC.

“She truly embodies the spirit of this award,” Lasecki said, “by constantly striving to enhance her skills and make an impact at the School of Social Work,” where she has worked since 2000. “In spite of her demanding full-time job, she has worked tirelessly on nights and weekends to achieve her higher education dreams.”

— Chris Zang

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