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Veteran staffer receives award

Posted on 04.10.2013

“I’m not the kind of person who likes to be in the limelight,” said Administrative Assistant in the President’s Office Jan Thomas, recipient of the 2013 Peters Good Neighbor Award.
The award is given by the Ecumenical and Interfaith programs to a person on campus who best represents the qualities of neighborliness, such as kindness, generosity and a willingness to help others above one’s own need or convenience. Anyone on campus can be considered for the award, regardless of religion or position.
This year, the recipient was Thomas, who began working at the University of Indianapolis 33 years ago in what is now the Registrar’s Office. She switched between that and the Admissions Office before coming to work in the President’s Office.
Thomas said that receiving the award seemed surreal, because she has seen so many others receive it at the honors convocation that she organizes every year.
“It was odd because I could think of so many people who were deserving of that award,” Thomas said.
If faculty or staff members are presented with the award, however, that does not happen at the Honors Convocation. Thomas was given the award in the Smith Board Room in the President’s Office after a brief speech by Chaplain and Director of the Lantz Center for Christian Vocations and Formation Jeremiah Gibbs.
In his speech, Gibbs highlighted some of the ways in which Thomas has served her community, such as serving on committees at her church and being a dedicated grandmother.
“Jan is a long-time member of the University Heights Methodist Church … Her service on committees and participation in the service of the church speaks not only of her deep Christian faith, but also her heart to serve others,” Gibbs said. “… One of Jan’s colleagues said of her, ‘I’m convinced that Jan would do anything to help another person, no matter who it is. She’s a wonderful mentor and exemplifies the professional, yet caring, persona of those who make UIndy the amazing university that it is.’”
After the speech, Thomas was presented with her Peters Good Neighbor Award plaque by Executive Vice President and Provost Deborah Balogh.
Thomas said that she had no idea that she was going to receive the award, and her coworkers surprised her by inviting family members and colleagues to come to the award presentation. According to Thomas, it was odd to be the center of attention when she prefers to work behind the scenes.
“I do my job, and I help wherever I can,” she said. “… This has been a great place to work.  I’ve made so many friends.”


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