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April 17, 2013

Witmer Award for Distinguished Service

Deborah Martin, Return to Work program claims manager, Human Resources

Deborah Martin

Colleagues say Deborah (Deb) Martin is an important lifeline for employees returning to work from a short or long-term absence. They say her approachable, flexible, professional, highly motivated, and enthusiastic attitude helps ease employees back into their positions—a transition that can often be stressful and challenging.

Martin was instrumental in developing, implementing, and communicating the University’s return-to work program—an effort that has been recognized by those within the University and beyond. She was selected to serve on New York State’s Return to Work Advisory Council and was appointed as a governor’s representative, guiding the state’s return-to-work regulatory reforms. She continues to serve as a consultant to the program.

Martin’s 40-year career at the University started in nursing at Strong Memorial Hospital, where she helped develop the collaborative care and empowerment nursing models as nurse manager in high-risk obstetrics.

“Her impact on the University is significant, longstanding, and profound,” writes Harriette Royer, University intercessor, in a nomination letter. “She truly embodies the spirit and the purpose of distinguished service.”

Linda Muise, assistant dean for residential life, Eastman School

Linda Muise Linda Muise is described as the “anchor” of the Eastman Living Center, which she oversees as assistant dean for residential life.

An employee of the University for more than 30 years, Muise works tirelessly to create a welcoming atmosphere for the more than 300 students who call the center home while at Eastman, her colleagues say. She devotes countless hours to resident advisor leadership training—creating a well-prepared resident advisor staff that is sensitive to the needs of students.

Her door is always open to students, and she always puts the needs of her students first, say those who supported her nomination for the Witmer Award.

As Janeen Elhassan, head resident advisor at the Eastman Living Center, puts it, “This is Linda’s power: caring for people in a way that builds them up stronger.”

The Eastman Students’ Association created an award in Muise’s honor about 15 years ago. The Linda Muise Student Life Award is awarded each spring to a member of the Eastman staff who contributes to the improvement of students’ lives in ways that best represent the qualities that Muise exemplifies. In addition, the Linda Muise Student Award is presented to a graduating senior who has shown leadership traits and has supported the quality of residential life at Eastman. The awards serve as evidence of the impact she’s had on the Eastman community throughout the years.

Kathleen Webster, accountant, Wilson Commons Student Activities

Kathleen WebsterKathleen (Kathy) Webster is someone who “shares her joy freely” with everyone she meets and engages, her colleagues say—it’s something she’s been doing since 1974 when she joined the University as a staff member in the Bursar’s Office.

Webster has a reputation for high-quality work in her duties with the Wilson Commons Student Activities office, which include overseeing financial transactions for the office. But staff and students say you’ll often find her going above and beyond that—volunteering to work on community-building programs such as Wilson Commons Wednesday and Club Rochester, helping with Meliora Weekend and commencement, and working with the Catholic Newman Community. She always finds time for students and staff who need her guidance and support, and her warm and caring nature have led to meaningful friendships with students with whom she works.

“She does not do things for money or recognition, but quietly keeps giving, listening, helping, and truly making the University a better place,” writes Anne-Marie Algier, associate dean of students, in a letter nominating Webster for the award.

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