COLA Staff Members Win UNH Presidential Awards of Excellence
Hundreds of UNH employees were recognized for their talents and dedication during a staff recognition ceremony May 5 in the MUB’s Granite State Room. In addition, five staff members were awarded the university’s highest staff honor — the Presidential Award of Excellence. Among the five were two staff members from the College of Liberal Arts: Carla Cannizzaro of the Department of English and Avary Thorne of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
“These recipients are the human faces behind our success across UNH,” said Christopher Clement, vice president for finance and administration. “They demonstrate excellence every day.”
University community members nominate colleagues for the Presidential Award of Excellence. A committee of judges selects five nominees whose outstanding work has contributed to the goals of the UNH Strategic Plan to receive the award.
Clement read a citation about each of this year’s winners when presenting the awards:
Academic Department Coordinator
Department of English
The last duty listed in Carla Cannizzaro’s job description is a big one: “Perform related duties as assigned.”
It is also the most relevant. It covers her many contributions to the English Department, where she is the Carla-of-all-trades for nearly 150 faculty and staff, and many more undergraduate and graduate students.
For 10 years, she has played a pivotal role in everything from scheduling courses and orienting new faculty to advising students. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the most obscure UNH policies and procedures. And with her enthusiasm and helpfulness, she serves as a de-facto admissions recruiter.
In fact, every day, Carla goes above and beyond to help the department wherever the need exists. She is the first to step forward to help with each Open House, summer registration and other events.
And among our students majoring in English, she is highly regarded for her dedication to making valuable internship connections and ferreting out coveted career opportunities.
“Carla,” wrote one colleague, “is the glue that holds the English department together.”
Without her, wrote another, “the English Department would not function.”
And function it does, even during a relocation to make way for renovations to Hamilton Smith Hall.
Stepping well outside the realm of the day-to-day, Carla has worked with architects, designers, project managers and campus planners to consult on the project. She took on the herculean task of helping to transition classes, faculty and belongings to different locations across campus to make way for the work. Now, she will orchestrate their return migration as Ham Smith prepares to reopen for the fall semester.
More recently, she located artists to restore the historic portrait of the building’s namesake and its frame.
Carla, we’re sure that, as Mr. Smith gazes down on his new space through fresh eyes, he’ll be as thankful as we are for all you have done. And for that, we are thrilled to present you with this Presidential Award of Excellence.
Academic/Student Services Assistant
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
If you imagine a future where smart electronic devices can take care of every need, our colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts are happy to let you have it.
That is, so long as they have Avary Thorne on board. In her role, Avary brings an unimaginable mix of intelligence, ingenuity and positive energy. And her commitment to our community contributes to the great atmosphere within COLA and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
Avary is a “go-to” resource who goes far beyond her job description every day. Students, especially, learn this early on. Beginning early each semester, they line up outside her office, where they know they’ll find great answers, and wise advice on everything from academic challenges to international studies and post-graduate work.
By nature, Avary is also the first to pitch in for special events, including a German Immersion Day for local high school students, the Confucius Institute Chinese Language Symposium and COLA’s four open houses for admitted students.
She also spearheads COLA-wide initiatives through the dean’s office. These include the 150 Hours of Service program in September, which rallied dozens of faculty, students and staff volunteers to beautify campus buildings and grounds in honor of UNH’s 150th anniversary.
In December, she helped lead COLA’s contributions to Feed 150, which collected enough sustainable food items to feed 150 families.
And when snow covered our campus in March, she created a Shovel Brigade with UNH facilities, COLA and Student Life to keep our walkways clear and safe. Thanks to efforts like these, people across UNH gain a deeper appreciation for each other and become connected to a larger, diverse and compassionate UNH community.
Avary does all this with an infectious smile, and her bright spirit helps lighten our heaviest burdens. Her contributions help establish UNH as a great place to work, as well as a great place to study and conduct research.
We are pleased to honor Avary Thorne with the Presidential Award of Excellence.
Citations by Christina Van Horn
Photos by David Murray