April 1, 2005 Issue
University honors exceptional staff at annual luncheon
University President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., presented the Coadjutor Optimus Awards at the annual staff luncheon March 22, to express the university's gratitude and appreciation to two members of the Loyola community who demonstrate the Jesuit values through their work ethic.
Wildes presented the awards to Brad Petitfils, instructional technical support specialist in the University Library, and Daisy Taylor, infant caregiver in the Whelan Child Care Center, who also was recognized for 15 years of service to the university. The Coadjutor Optimus is reserved for outstanding staff members who demonstrate excellent services above what is required or expected and who are representative of Loyola's commitment to Jesuit values.
A new feature this year included a keynote address by Chris Lowney who serves part-time as special assistant to the president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), the leading U.S.-based Catholic charity providing health care programs and services to people in need around the world. A former Jesuit, Lowney is a popular speaker on topics as varied as leadership, business ethics, and inter-religious dialogue. He is author of Heroic Leadership.
Petitfils, A'01, G'02, has been a member of the university staff for two years. In nominating him for the award, colleagues wrote of his expert knowledge and generous attitude. Students refer to him as the "superstar of the computer age." A professor wrote, "His strong background in education establishes a level of comfort that people can relate to in order to learn new technologies and take technology to the next level in their work."
Another stated, "Brad's commitment to the library, the university, and life-long learning is exemplary. In the short time he has worked at Loyola, he has had a strong impact, and his presence is far-reaching."
To say Petitfils was astonished by the coadjutor is an understatement. "I was in shock when I read the award letter," he recalled. "Having been here for only two years, this has been an overwhelming experience, and I am still trying to put everything into perspective. I love the work that I do here, and it is nice to know that my colleagues appreciate my efforts. The show of support from everyone has been quite humbling, and all I'm left with is thanks. Who could ask for more?"
Daisy Taylor has been an infant care giver at Loyola for more than 20 years. Even though she has 11 children of her own, Taylor listens closely to parents and colleagues and is able to draw on the experience of others to make informed decisions about her work and help families make the myriad of choices they make with their children.
A fellow colleague and parent of a child in Taylor's class said, "Those of us who choose or have to work must entrust someone else with the awesome responsibility of caring for our children, and influencing an important part of their lives. Ms. Daisy works with our children during a very impressionable age, when they are developing faster than at any other time in their lives. With unparalleled patience and aplomb, Daisy Taylor teaches important values to the children in her care, and promotes the same values to others with whom she comes in contact. Faith is so central in Ms. Daisy's life that it radiates in all that she does."
Another staff member said "As the parent of a child in her classroom, I can honestly say that it made my experience of working much easier and more fulfilling, ultimately enabling me to better serve Loyola's students, and advance the university's mission. Multiply my experience by the number of Loyola employees who have left children in her care, and you can see the impact that one employee can have on a work community."
Taylor expressed her joy at being recognized. "I am humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award," she exclaimed. "As I go about each day knowing that I am on a mission from God, I must first thank Him. I also want to express to my most sincere thanks to the persons who nominated me. During my service to the Loyola community, I never dreamed of receiving such an honor. I'm truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve the parents and the precious little angels of the Whelan Children's Center.
Petitfils and Taylor were not the only honored guests at the luncheon. Other staff members were recognized for five, 10 15, 20, and 25, 30, and 35 years of dedicated service.