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Loyola University New Orleans announces staff award winners

Loyola press release - April 19, 2000

(New Orleans)—-Loyola University New Orleans announces the recipients of the 2000 Coadjutor Optimus Award. Dianne Cousin, administrative assistant to the Department of Philosophy, and Avia Morgan, Writing Across the Curriculum lab manager, were presented with the award at the annual staff luncheon on Wednesday, April 19, 2000.

Cousin has served Loyola for 19 years. During this time, she has helped faculty and students alike. Those who nominated her wrote of her dedication to the department and the students, her commitment to Jesuit values, and her relationship with the student assistants. One letter read, "Mrs. Cousin always remains something of a mentor, taking the time to teach her work study students the ethics of professional behavior through example."

Cousins graduated from Loyola in 1990 and her children have followed in her footsteps. Her son graduated from Loyola in 1996 and her daughter graduates in 2000. Her colleagues described her as friendly and eager to learn and help. One colleague wrote, " Diane has maintained a distinctive professional air and attitude, has gotten along with everyone in the department, and has kept the department running smoothly. She has gone the extra distance to make things work well and has maintained the utmost professionalism and respect for everyone."

On receiving the award, Cousins says, "It is both a pleasure and an honor to receive the Coadjutor Optimus Award. It has always been important to me to try as hard as possible to do whatever I can to make everyone in the Loyola community satisfied. Receiving this award has made me realize that I’ve done what I set out to do and it hasn’t gone unrecognized."

Morgan has been a member of the Loyola community for the past 17 years. Her friendly personality and her willingness to help make her a valuable asset to the university. She has held various secretarial jobs all around campus, manages the Writing Across the Curriculum lab, was the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity staff advisor, Circle K International staff advisor, secretary for the executive board on the administrative staff senate, and a member of the fringe benefits committee.

All agree that she is not afraid to go the extra mile to ensure quality assistance. Some have even described her as being humble and giving the credit to others. One colleague wrote, "I’ve had the pleasure of working with Avia through the WAC lab over the past five years and I can’t tell you the number of times she’s offered, not only the lab, but her services as well. She’s always got a smile on her face and she’s always willing to help." Another colleague wrote, " I know that not only I, but also my colleagues within and outside of the department, rely on Avia Morgan to make our teaching go smoothly and to help our students feel welcome in the WAC lab. Her attentiveness to both the faculty’s needs and the students’ needs make the WAC lab a comfortable and productive environment for many members of the Loyola community."

Morgan says it is faculty and students who make her job rewarding, "I really do enjoy my job. There is an incredible staff support system here. Everyone is friends off-campus as well as on-campus, which helps create a friendly work atmosphere. The students have been an extremely positive influence in my life. I’ve learned a great deal from them. It seems that the students get more genuine and honest as time goes by. They’re really some of my best friends."

The Coadjutor Optimus is presented annually to two members of Loyola’s staff who best epitomize the ideals of the university. The criteria for selection include superior performance over and above that required of one’s job, the capable and efficient performance of assigned tasks, effectiveness in promoting the values of the university, success in making the office or work unit friendly to the rest of the university, desire to improve within one’s job, and supportiveness toward fellow employees.