Five Staff Members Honored at Mary Roper Award Ceremony

by Rashad Mulla

Five Staff Members Honored at Mary Roper Award Ceremony
From left to right: Susan Ridley, Jack Censer and Mary Roper.

Susan Ridley, office manager in the Department of Psychology, works tirelessly to ensure smooth day-to-day operations in her office and the department, according to her colleagues. During a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 6, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences took time to ensure Ridley received recognition for her outstanding work performance, presenting her with the 11th annual Mary Roper Award.

Dean Jack Censer spoke about Ridley, quoting the numerous nomination letters he received from her colleagues in support of her achievement.

"I was a big supporter of Mary [Roper] when she was in the CHSS office, and I can think of no one who exemplifies her work than Susan, nor one more deserving of this award," wrote Robert Smith, interim chair in the Department of Psychology. "Susan has been the office manager for psychology for about six years, but ‘manager’ does not quite capture all that she does."

After Censer's speech, Ridley said a few words and thanked her coworkers. 

As part of the ceremony, four additional staff members from within the college were recognized for excellence in their particular area of work. These members had not been previously informed of their awards:

Susan Turriziani, assistant director of graduate academic affairs, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Matt Zingraff, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the college, nominated Turriziani for an award in outstanding graduate programs support, citing her willingness to take on multiple responsibilities and her ability to excel in all of them.

"Ms. Turriziani stands as an army of one as she performs the college level review of degree requirements and matriculation progress, applies policies fairly and consistently, represents the college to other Mason units central to graduate academic affairs, advises students and collaborates with department graduate coordinators," Zingraff said. "All of her work is directed at ensuring the academic integrity of our degrees and the fair and consistent application of all academic policies."

Christine Hernandez, program coordinator, Women and Gender Studies

Danny Collier, director of IT and web development in the college, nominated Hernandez for the outstanding web support award. The two work together to discuss the program's web site.

"The staff person to whom we are giving this award has done a wonderful job not only of keeping her site accurate and up-to-date," Collier said, "she has worked to make the site truly convey the energy of her very active program."

Laura McCloskey, office manager, History and Art History

Leslie Dyre, director of finance and human resources in the college, selected McCloskey for the award for outstanding support in the areas of human resources and finance.

Dyre read some of McCloskey's colleagues' anonymous nomination letters, which identified McCloskey as:

  • Someone who was very involved in the day-to-day operations of her department,
  • A quick, consistent and efficient problem-solver
  • Proactive when a fellow staff member had to be out of the office for an extended absence,
  • A good team player, and
  • Extremely helpful to the newly established History of Decorative Arts program

Matt Green, academic coordinator, Public and International Affairs

In addition to the anonymous awards, the college awarded a "rookie of the year" award to Green for his propensity to go above and beyond the call of duty.

"While all of our new staff work hard to learn the ropes to get the job done as best they can, this award-winner has been a quick study in what needs to be done," said Dee Ann Holisky, senior associate dean of the college. "The winner has gone beyond what we expect of a new employee – gone beyond to learn new things, to make valuable suggestions for improvement, and to help implement new ways of operating. This person welcomes critical input and does a terrific job of incorporating it to do even better. All quickly and with a constant smile. This person has been a real pleasure to work with; someone we hope will be with us for a very long time."

The Mary Roper award honors a College of Humanities and Social Sciences classified staff member who has shown outstanding service in support of the core goals of the college – improving the quality of the liberal arts experience for all students, increasing the capacity for noteworthy and innovative scholarship and creating and strengthening external relationships. 

The award is named after Mary Roper, administrative assistant to the chief of staff in George Mason University’s President’s Office. Roper spent 14 years in the College of Arts and Sciences (before it split into the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Science).