April 01, 2005

Pommier wins top civil service employee award

by Pete Rosenbery


CARBONDALE, Ill.-- Ruth M. Pommier, a clerk in University Housing, today (April 1) received the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Outstanding Civil Service Award for 2004-2005.

Pommier, from Anna, was among six finalists for the award, which recognizes individuals who go above and beyond in their service to the University and community. A University employee since1982, Pommier has worked in her current position since 1990.

The announcement came at today's Civil Service spring constituency meeting at the SIUC Student Center.

This is the sixth time Pommier was nominated for the award. She receives a $2,000 cash award, a marked reserved parking space on campus for one year; an engraved plaque, has her name added to the permanent plaque displayed near the Student Center River Rooms, and will be recognized at the Chancellor's recognition dinner later this month. The Outstanding Civil Service Award is one of the Excellence Achieved Awards funded centrally by the University.

A high school English instructor at Hall Township, Harvard and Mascoutah high schools for a combined 21 years, Pommier is more than a clerk overseeing the needs of a 273-unit housing complex at Southern Hills Family Housing, said her nominator, housing maintenance inspector John H. Newsome. Her organizational skills allow her to balance demands from that job with the "special challenges of serving as president of the University's largest labor union representing civil service employees," he wrote.

"No matter how busy she might be, she is always a ‘team player' who offers to pitch in where needed and often requests additional responsibility," and goes "that extra mile" in helping residents and staff, Newsome wrote, adding that Pommier, president of the Association of Civil Service Employees, is "hands down, a leader in championing the cause of Civil Service …"

In 1999, Pommier led a statewide effort to restore health-care benefits for hundreds of state university civil service employees who had less than 20 years credit in the university retirement system. She served on numerous Civil Service Council committees during her six-year tenure and served as vice president for two years. She also actively participates in numerous social, philanthropic, educational and legislative activities in her community.

In his letter of recommendation, Public Policy Institute Director Mike Lawrence wrote that Pommier is "truly an exceptional member of the SIUC family." Pommier is deeply committed to not only University Housing residents but to campus employees," he wrote.

"Her willingness to carry their banner into discussions with University administrators, SIU trustees, state legislators and statewide elected officials makes her a remarkable person in our community," Lawrence wrote.

She received a bachelor's degree in English/communications from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, and a master's degree in secondary education/journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Pommier and her husband, Richard, live in Anna.

The other nominees were:

  • Judi L. Cockrum, office systems specialist III, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Energy. Employed at SIUC since 1983, Cockrum was the driving force behind establishing the Dahlgren Reading Center -- which later became a public library where Cockrum also works as librarian and treasurer.
  • Maureen L. Doran, supervisor, Histology Center, School of Medicine, Carbondale. Employed at SIUC since 1982. In addition to her many University-related jobs within the Histology Center, she provides presentations to grade school and high school students; presents youth workshops; serves as director of the Murphysboro Girl Scout Day Camp, and since 2001, has been a fitness instructor in the University's Intramural-Recreational Sports Fitness Department.
  • Rhonda L. Hooper, administrative assistant I, Institutional Research and Studies. Employed at SIUC from 1979-1982, and since 1986. Currently the University's External Reporting Data Coordinator, Hooper is involved in various fund-raising activities for the American Cancer Society, including the Saluki Walkers Always Triumph over Cancer (SWAT); treasurer since 1996 of the De Soto Grade School Education Foundation, and is part of a disaster relief team with the Illinois Baptist Association.
  • Nancy L. Mallett, office systems specialist II, Department of Economics. Employed at SIUC since 1981. Serves as assistant to the department chair. Among her duties is supervising student workers and is credited for the smooth operation of day-to-day functions. She also participates as a volunteer in the Meals to Wheels program.
  • Jeri L. Novara, office systems specialist III, School of Accountancy. Employed at SIUC since 1980. The office manager and administrative assistant to the director of the School of Accountancy. In addition to her job-related duties, Novara regularly works with three student organizations in fund-raising and support activities. She coordinates the annual Accounting Challenge Competition for high school students, and is heavily involved in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

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.