St. Lawrence honors four employees for outstanding service
From left, Karen Butler, Human Resources Recruiting Specialist; Jennifer Thomas, Associate Professor of Performance and Communication; Liz Regosin, Professor of History; and Stacie Olney LaPierre, Senior Associate Director of Residence Life.
CANTON — To mark the beginning of a new academic year, St. Lawrence University honored four employees with awards for outstanding service and recognized nine faculty members who earned tenure and promotions at the University’s annual Convocation event.
Honored employees included:
Human Resources Recruiting Specialist
The award recognizes an employee who demonstrates high standards of performance and dedication to St. Lawrence as exemplified by Tom Coakley’s service as Vice President for Administrative Operations.
While announcing Butler as this year’s recipient, President Kathryn A. Morris noted the critical role that Butler plays in all new faculty search and recruitment efforts, emphasizing that she is the point person during these processes and detailing the high regard she has earned from colleagues across campus over the years.
“During her tenure in HR, her attention to detail, welcoming demeanor, lovely sense of humor, and excellent job performance helped her rise to the highest job level among the Confidential staff,” said President Morris.
“She repeatedly demonstrates her desire to get things done correctly—while keeping colleagues informed and included along the way.”
Associate Professor of Performance and Communication
Jennifer Thomas, associate professor of performance and communication, received the Louis and Frances Maslow Award, which honors a faculty member who has shown interest in and understanding of the education and welfare of the entire student body.
Vice President of the University and Dean of Academic Affairs Karl Schonberg said, “In her classes, she is deeply committed to recognizing the whole student, understanding the complexity of individual identity and experience, using emotion as a resource and source of knowledge, rather than an impediment to be overcome, and consciously using strategies for priming students for intentional and reflexive engagement with difference.”
One student who nominated Thomas for the award wrote, “As a professor, she has always pushed me to succeed, sometimes even beyond what I thought I was capable of, but she is so much more than just an excellent educator. She is always available and ready to listen and support me if I have a problem, and I know that she is there for all of her other students in the same way.”
Thomas, who currently serves as Associate Dean of the First-Year Program, has played critical roles beyond the classroom in order to empower members of the greater St. Lawrence community, including chairing her department and as a member of the President’s Task Forces on the Causes and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct.
“In every one of these roles, it is apparent to all who serve with her that she takes on the work because she cares deeply about students, sees the ways in which the University can better support them, and will spare no effort to enact that change,” added Schonberg.
Professor of History
Liz Regosin, professor of history, received the J. Calvin Keene Award in recognition of the high standards of personal scholarship, effective teaching, and moral concern by which Dr. Keene conducted his career.
Of Regosin’s approach to pedagogy, Vice President of the University and Dean of Academic Affairs Karl Schonberg said, “The topics about which she teaches are not simple but are often misunderstood to be, and students’ starting assumptions are often freighted with entrenched social understandings that may stand between them and the truth. She asks students to face this challenge head-on, to see the full intricacy of the past and the present, to recognize light even in darkness along with the darkness within light, and to look squarely at their own relationship to academic topics they are discussing in ways they have not done before.”
One of the students who nominated Regosin for the award wrote, “I have taken two courses with her in my four years here and have left both of them feeling like every student needs to take a course with her. When I graduated high school, I had a very narrow view of the subject and didn’t think I liked it. That all changed when I found myself in her courses. She cares deeply about each student, wanting us to succeed in our academic and professional goals and wanting us to feel like we are learning accurately about the world.”
Schonberg also noted Regosin’s achievements as a nationally-recognized scholar of the legacy of slavery in the United States, and detailed the central role she has played in bringing liberal education to incarcerated citizens in the community.
Regosin has been teaching in St. Lawrence’s history department since 1997 and was selected by students as the 2022 Owen D. Young Outstanding Faculty Award recipient.
She’s published two books on this subject -- Freedom’s Promise: Ex-Slave Families and Citizenship in the Age of Emancipation; and Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files (with Donald R. Shaffer.)
Stacie Olney LaPierre
Senior Associate Director of Residence Life
Stacie Olney LaPierre, senior associate director of residence life, received the John P. “Jack” Taylor Distinguished Career Service Award.
The award recognizes distinguished service to the University by an administrator who has worked at St. Lawrence for a minimum of 12 years and who sustains the high standards of performance exemplified by Jack Taylor’s long and distinguished service as Director of Dining Services.
In her remarks about LaPierre, President Kathryn A. Morris noted LaPierre’s empathy, resilience, and dedication to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how she often went above and beyond to ensure students had a safe and rewarding experience on campus despite unprecedented circumstances.
“Serving many roles in Residence Life, she is known by students as the face of housing operations,” said President Morris.
“Her work on the intricate parts of the housing process and experience are often done without fanfare or public acknowledgment: helping students find new rooms when roommate conflicts and differences arise, providing students with new room codes when necessary, and arranging special-needs housing for those who require a private space to feel safe on campus. She is dedicated to making the student residential experience the best it can be.”
President Morris emphasized that though LaPierre maintains many roles, she gives herself fully to each, handling pressure and stress with levelheaded ease. This was particularly true of her time as interim director of Residence Life from November 2021 until April 2022.