“A pillar is a support for a structure. As its name implies, it stands for unwavering strength, integrity, and reliability. Upon pillars rest the success of whole groups of other platforms and structures.” So began the introduction of this year’s Pillar of Rensselaer Award.
Linda Kramarchyk, program manager in information technology and web science, has been named the 2016 Pillar of Rensselaer. The award was presented to Kramarchyk at the 44th annual Service Recognition & Retirement Dinner held Aug. 26 at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Pillar Award, the highest honor Rensselaer gives to a staff member, is presented annually to a staff member who understands the Institute’s mission and history, has been a role model for other employees, has shown concern for students and their welfare, has added to the human dimension of the school, and who has played an active role in his or her home community. (See additional story).
“I am both honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” said Kramarchyk, who has worked at Rensselaer for 34 years. “The Pillars that I am now joining are truly a special group of staff. When I looked up on stage that night at all the Pillars, it is such a diverse and talented group of individuals, I’m proud to have been selected to be part of them. I feel like it has been my privilege to work at RPI for over 30 years.”
“Throughout my years at RPI, I have held many different positions. My role now in working with the students is by far my favorite. They make me happy and excited to come to work every day. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious. They are truly what it’s all about. The night that I received my award, I looked out at the audience, and felt so proud to be part of this great educational institution.”
Kramarchyk was cited for her demonstrated understanding of Rensselaer’s mission and history, and was praised as a role model and mentor for other employees and students, according to Provost Prabhat Hajela, who shared at the dinner some quotes from several of the nominations received for Kramarchyk.
“This person’s commitment to Rensselaer is rooted in a love of the school, the program, and the students,” said one nominator. “On a daily basis, this person shows a deep understanding of how everything on campus works and uses that knowledge to help everyone around,” said another.
“This person has developed great relationships with people in every department on campus, and can reliably call anyone to ask for help, to which they will all gladly assist,” said a nominator. “At the same time, they know that this person can be called upon to go above and beyond normal duties for any of them.”
By far, this person’s greatest achievement is a relationship with students in our program. The person knows all of them by name, and makes an effort from their first day on campus to really get to know them personally.”
Kramarchyk was also recognized for her demonstrated concern for students and their welfare, adding to the human dimension of Rensselaer, and her engagement in community service.
“By far, this person’s greatest achievement is a relationship with students in our program,” said a nominator. “The person knows all of them by name, and makes an effort from their first day on campus to really get to know them personally.”
“This person volunteers for graduating senior Status Check, for all visiting and accepted student days, for student orientation, and pays careful attention to at-risk students. Outside of Rensselaer, this person is active in fundraising activities for the American Cancer Society, and the March of Dimes,” a nominator said.
And finally, “This person is a pillar of support and enablement for Rensselaer’s motto: “Why not change the world?”
The Pillar of Rensselaer receives a sterling silver pin designed by Tiffany & Co., a crystal award, and his or her name is inscribed on the base of the permanent Tiffany Crystal Award displayed in the Office of the President. The recipient also receives a check for $2,500 as a token of Rensselaer’s respect and gratitude.
The Pillar of Rensselaer Award was established in 1993 through the support of Carl Westerdahl, former dean of students and director of alumni relations.