LEAP! a record-setting success

The first-ever LITS Employee Appreciation Party (LEAP!) was attended this week by 375 LITS employees, eclipsing the recently-set employee attendance record of 360 during the 2018 LITS Town Hall. The event included a plated luncheon, LEAP!-emblazoned cupcakes, free LITS t-shirts, door prizes, employee awards and honors, a standing ovation, and two captivating speakers.

Rich Mendola opened the festivities by telling the assembled throng of staffers that, “Today is an opportunity to celebrate and to say ‘Thank You’ to all of you for your hard work, dedication, and the remarkable achievements you have enabled.” Rich discussed how Commencement reminds us that our jobs are about providing constant services and resources to each graduating class. He continued by giving a rousing introduction to the keynote speaker, Gary Hauk.

Gary Hauk delivers a historical perspective of LITS.

Gary Hauk, the Emory University Historian, impressed onlookers with his fascinating tale of the ancestral origins of LITS. His speech, entitled The Convergence of the Twain: A Brief History of Libraries and Information Technology at Emory, was the result of researching the archives of six decades of IT and Libraries at Emory. He said, “I’ve been struck by the nearly parallel development of two phenomena of remarkable beauty, two systems of authority and power, whose paths were destined to cross. And in the crossing, they changed forever our lives as members of an academic community.”

Gary surmised that the two entities began to merge in 1988, the year that the university hired its first Provost, Billy Frye, as well as hiring Joan Gotwals to be vice provost and director of the libraries and Jim Johnson to be the vice provost for information technology. Gary went on to discuss things such as MARC records, the DOBIS/LIBIS system, the emergence of the Emory XT Computer, the restoration of Candler, the consolidation of redundant IT systems, creation of ECDS, the refurbishing of Rose Library, and the creation of the Library Service Center, among others. He closed by saying, “It will be fascinating to see how the mutual transformation of libraries and information technology will continue to shape what the Emory mission statement calls our work of creating, preserving, teaching, and applying knowledge in service of humanity.”

Joe Massey (L) and Rich Mendola (R).

The event continued with the honoring of this years’ Service Award Recipients. They are:

  • 5-Year: Saundra Barrett, Enid Britton, Michael Buchmann, Geoffrey Cestaro, Courtney Chartier, Alex Cooper, Yolanda Cooper, Jessie Copeland, Monica Crubezy, Troy Crumbley, Tony Dawson, Kathy Dixson, Chris Doty, Michael Geraghty, Noy Hawkins, Anthony Hess, Mark Hogstrom, Alex Klyshevich, Jamalh Lagrone, Keith Long, Janet Marks, Kim Norman, Rob Renner, Megan Slemons, James Tanis, Lisa Travis, Vince Vaughn, Gretchen Warner, and Damon Williams.
  • 10-Year: Danny Bridges, Dana Bryant, Jymbellyn Carthon, Andrew Chin, Jennifer Elder, Lisa Hamlett, Penny King, Alex Kyrychenko, Chase Lovellette, LaKysha Mack, Philip MacLeod, Tara McCurley, Maureen McGavin, Justin Menacker, Brian Methot, Tomas Ortiz, Kenyon Register, Jamie Weems, Steve Wheat, and Michael Williamson.
  • 15-Year: Erika Buchholz, John Ellis, Richard Gilliam, Camille Hyatt, Tanisha McNichol, Sherri Meador, Ron Miller, Rob O’Reilly, Chris Palazzolo, Jessica Perlove, Chad Robichaux, Elizabeth Roke, James Sawyer, Zavian Weems, Jonathan White, Alvin Wilder, and Leslie Wingate.
  • 20-Year: Alex Berry, Barbara Brandt, Patrick Buckley, Sean Deaver, Melvin Dozier, Joanna Green, Marc Hardison, Russ Havard, Marty Ike, Carl Jeter, Steve Johnson, Shannon O’Daniel, Daniel Palmer, John Pine, Tracy Preyer, Oliver Smith, Ann Berry Ward, Erich Wendt, and Ted Willi.
  • 25-Year: Kyle Brooks, Michelle Crawford, and Norman Hulme.
  • 30-Year: Jerrold Brantley, Derek Butler, Debbie Gray, Kathy Hayes, Kerry Jemison, Steve Lee, Dave Maddlone, Missie Martin, Eric Peng, Pamela Pope, Bob Spencer, and Laura Trittin.
  • 35-Year: Mike Edler
  • 40-Year: Perry Eidson
  • 50-Year: Joe Massey

Joe Massey receives a standing ovation for his 50-years of Emory service.

Joe Massey was honored for being the first 50-year employee of either IT or the Library in the recorded history of Emory. He received a special honor from LITS HR and was given a standing ovation.

The recipients of this year’s Significant Contribution Award were then announced with a summary of the reasons each were chosen. A listing of the details behind each award winner will be featured in a subsequent article. The winner’s were:

  • Caleb Boyd: CIMP project
  • Enid Britton: Automation of new hire on-boarding process
  • Joel Burke: AWS at Emory and CIMP projects
  • Kari Harwitz: eIACUC project
  • Amy Walker: PMO continuous service improvement & training
  • Will Wright: Salesforce implementation for Emory All of Us Research Program
  • Saundra Barrett: User-centric web applications
  • Lisa Cogdill: Algorithm for antibiotic compliance
  • Khushbu Amin: Goizueta ADRC project and EHAS study
  • Keith Foster: Wireless Refresh and Expansion
  • Circe Tsui: AWS at Emory – cloud-based research & teaching
  • Tiffany Miles: ArchivesSpace project
  • Jenn Sutcliffe: Wikipedia-focused innovation grant
  • Melanie Kowalski: Copyright Support Community of Practice
  • Tara McCurley: One-button HD video production studio
  • Larry Frazer: Convocation Hall renovation
  • Damon Williams: Network Edge Refresh project
  • Jimmy Kincaid: AWS at Emory automation

Enid Britton accepts her Significant Contribution Award from PATH Committee member Dawn Francis-Chewning.

LEAP! was followed by our annual LITS Game Day where employees participated in a Team Trivia contest, Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament, video games, board games, and virtual reality. We could thank our hosts in Student Digital Life, our hosts for team trivia and poker, and perhaps name the winners of each contest. [Ed. Note: Stay tuned for an article next week about Game Day!]

The LEAP! event was organized the the PATH Committee, which also put on the 2018 LITS Town Hall. That committee was organized by its leadership sponsors Rob Renner and Leslie Wingate. The PATH Committee included Amy Allison, Ayana Bohannon, Cecilia Bolich, Maya Cody, Kyle Fenton, Dawn Francis-Chewning, Andrea Goldson-Barrett, Susan Henschen, Shoba Mallik (Co-Chair), Wade Moricle (Chair), Jack Scott, Alex Tudor, and Veta Williamson.

Special thanks also go to the volunteers: Carla Ashe-Hutchinson, Kat Boushell, Abby EllerbeNydia Charles-Huggins, Michelle Crawford, Kathy Dixson, Camille Hyatt, and Khadijah Muhammad.

If you would like to see all of the photos from the event, go to: https://lits.smugmug.com/2019/2019-05-14-LEAP/

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