March 22, 2005

Lois Strom wins A/P Staff service award

by Pete Rosenbery

ap award

Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Lois C. Strom, assistant to the chairman of the Department of Surgery at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, today (March 23) received the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Administrative/Professional Staff Outstanding Service Award for 2004-2005.

Strom, from Springfield, was among four finalists for the award, which recognizes individuals who give above and beyond to the University and community. A University employee for 23 years, Strom has worked in her current position since 1995.

The announcement came during Wednesday’s A/P spring constituency meeting at the SIUC Student Center. The finalists were chosen from among eight nominees.

She receives a $2,000 cash award and a personal parking space for a year. Strom’s name also will appear on a permanent plaque displayed near the Student Center River Rooms. The A/P Staff Outstanding Service Award is one of the Excellence Achieved Awards funded centrally by the University.

Strom said she was “very surprised” with the award, and did not realize she was a nominee until receiving a letter congratulating her.

“I feel very honored just being nominated,” she said. “We all do things because we want things to be good at work and good in the community. But when somebody recognizes that, particularly the people you work closely with, it makes it very special.”

Strom began her University service in 1982 as a Sponsored Program Management researcher. In 1984, she became a researcher for the Associate Dean for Research, and three years later, a program administrative assistant. In 1988, she became an administrative assistant in the Department of Surgery, and in 1990, a medical service administrator in that department.

In his nominating letter, Dr. Robert B. McLafferty, associate professor of surgery and vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Surgery, praises Strom’s thoroughness, and credits Strom for the department’s smooth transition as it becomes one of the larger surgery departments in the nation. Her many duties include overseeing the surgery department’s financial affairs, managing a staff that oversees 130 accounts for Department of Surgery faculty, and coordinating office operations, McLafferty wrote.

In going “above and beyond the call in her administrative duties,” McLafferty noted that Strom has become an integral part of multiple projects that affect patient care, and participates in each project “with great excitement and motivation.”

“In all my years of being in surgery I have yet to find an administrative support person that goes to the length that Ms. Strom does in her job,” McLafferty wrote. “She is always willing to listen; always willing to help; never seems overburdened, remains patient with challenging tasks ahead of her, and most importantly, enjoys her work and maintains an outstanding attitude.”

Those nominating Strom also noted her civic and community involvement, including chairing the reopening of the Lincoln Home in Springfield and serving on the Springfield Zoning Commission. An active member of the American Association of University Women for more than 30 years, Strom has co-chaired the organization’s two major events – the Holiday House Tour and Expanding Your Horizons in Math, Science and Technology. She also rose to become leader of the Greater Springfield Leadership Institute, which trains local youths annually to become community leaders.

“She embodies not only a hard work ethic and gets the job done, but more importantly, providers her services and skills with a personal touch that truly makes a difference,” McLafferty wrote.

Strom and her husband, Bruce, live in Springfield. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

The other finalists are:

• Stephen O. Buhman, producer/visual media, Media and Communication Resources. Buhman has worked at the University since 1984, documenting SIUC life through photographs. He is actively involved in many other campus events, and has served on a regional library committee discussing rural library issues, given photography workshops for Jackson County 4-H, and is involved with Boy Scouts and volunteer work in the Murphysboro School District.
• Beth R. Mochnick, field representative, International Students and Scholars. Mochnick, has worked at the University since 1992, and coordinates and oversees 11 separate multi-cultural involvement programs that are staffed exclusively by volunteers from a 100-mile radius. In helping meet the needs of international students Mochnick developed the Mother Care program, which provides support and encouragement to pregnant international wives who need love and support while away from their families.
• Gregory A. Scott, assistant director, Alumni Services. Scott has worked as director of Alumni Public Relations since 1993, and works with many student-related organizations on campus on his own time.

The four other employees nominated by their peers were Robert A. Broomfield, academic advisor, College of Applied Sciences and Arts Health Care Professions; Susan C. Edgren, assistant director, Division of Continuing Education; Kathie A. Lorentz, housing program coordinator, University Housing, and Julia A. Wetstein, assistant dean, College of Agricultural Sciences.

Giving special recognition to University employees who foster pride within their office or department and community involvement is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: A/P Outstanding Service Finalists – Lois C. Strom, (far left) assistant to the chairman of the Department of Surgery at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, is the winner of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Administrative/Professional Staff Outstanding Service Award for 2004-2005. The three other finalists for the award were (from left) Gregory A. Scott, Beth R. Mochnick, and Stephen O. Buhman. The annual award recognizes individuals who give above and beyond to the University and community.)

Photo by Phil Bankester