Honoring essential personnel | november | 2021 | Writing
In one of the most uncertain times in the history of Teachers College and the world, essential staff kept us going. Their work – covering many areas across the College, ranging from public safety to facilities, residential services and many more – remains essential and appreciated on a day-to-day basis, but the sacrifices and services these individuals have provided during the pandemic took center stage on October 21 and 22. as the community expressed their gratitude on Essential Personnel Days.
“From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of all of us, thank you. Thank you so much for being here, for putting your health and well-being on the line, and for taking care of all of us. We appreciate you for all that you do, and we are also so happy to be back here with you now,” President Thomas Bailey said Thursday, October 21 during a celebration for essential staff. “Thanks to you, TC not only persevered as a community, but we emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever.”
Key personnel were honored at two special luncheons, with remarks from community leaders and expressions of appreciation. Members of the TC community were encouraged to express additional gratitude for essential personnel throughout the days of celebration.
In thanking essential staff, Stephanie J. Rowley, Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, described how their efforts have impacted the lives of Rowley, her family, and the TC community as a whole.
“They know me, my husband, my son, my dog, and so when I say ‘essential’ I really mean essential to my daily life and my life,” Rowley said, acknowledging that the community’s thanks don’t could ever fully reflect their gratitude for the College’s essential staff. “You are seen and felt [by our community].”
Additional luncheon speakers included Kelly Moody, Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Lisa Seales, Vice President for Administration and Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force; Hank Perkowski, vice president of finance and operations and co-chair of the COVID-19 task force; and Janice Robinson, Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs.
“Think about this: think about your presence here in the halls, about you keeping the place going – the ups and downs of that while you had the challenges of your own families, the losses and the worries, and you still survived. Because we really are a community,” Robinson said. “There’s a very deep sense of what you’ve sacrificed to allow us to be able to reopen in person, so deep appreciations.”
WHEREAS essential personnel have faithfully demonstrated their commitment and dedication to Teachers College throughout an unprecedented period in history, I recognize that essential TC personnel have braved extremely difficult circumstances to do their job.
WHEREAS, These dedicated employees faced the risk of COVID infection, traveling to campus daily and providing essential services to our community members, buildings, operations and overall infrastructure. WHEREAS these essential members of staff have proven to be vigilant guardians, ensuring the safety and well-being of the Teachers College campus. In doing so, these professionals demonstrated the highest ideals of the College – demonstrating leadership by example to make a difference in our world.
WHEREAS, without the efforts and contributions of these caring and committed professionals, a safe return to campus, classrooms and our daily routines would not have been possible.
WHEREAS, through all of these incredible acts of grace and courage, TC’s core personnel have taught us the most important lesson of all: TC is more than just a collection of faculty, staff and students, the Teachers College is a family – and a family should be cared for and protected. TC’s essential workers have done their part, and more, to keep the College family strong and united. Today I lead the entire TC community in expressing my deep appreciation, gratitude and thanks to the essential staff of Teachers College for all they have done to enable the College to continue in business throughout the pandemic.
THEREFORE, I, Thomas Bailey, President of Teachers College, Columbia University, do hereby proclaim October 21-22, 2021 in New York City as: Teachers College Essential Staff Days.