Three employees earn Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Professional Service


July 7, 2021

Three dedicated SUNY Oswego staff members -- for whom a year of adaptation built upon their previous years of service -- have earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

The 2021 award winners are Jennifer Broderick, creative director of alumni and development communications; Angie Brown, director of student health services; and Kate Wolfe-Lyga, director of the Counseling Services Center.

A member of alumni and development’s creative team since 1997, Broderick’s duties have grown and evolved to make her a valuable campus-wide team player, wrote nominator Margaret Spillett, director of communications for development and alumni engagement.

Calling her “the backbone” of that team, Spillett said Broderick “serves as the production manager of all communications, including an annual calendar of 220+ unique emails, dozens of print jobs and hundreds of social posts on three platforms, among other communications.”

“She is detail-oriented, organized and efficient in managing a very full docket of jobs,” Spillett wrote. “She creates institutional knowledge that will guide the college well into the future. She keeps us moving forward steadily while maintaining the highest quality and consistency in our communications.”

Broderick’s production management skill is paralleled by her creative talent and ability to work with others and to adapt. 

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jen has remained flexible and willing to do whatever was needed to keep our alumni and students engaged and caring about the college,” Spillett wrote. “She showed great initiative in learning new skills when we were presented with new tasks like building the online magazine, creating Kudoboards for senior class and colleagues’ retirements, and making editable PDF forms.”

“Her work behind-the-scenes makes all of us look good,” wrote Mary Canale, the college’s vice president for development and alumni engagement. “Her work clearly helps us express who we are as an alumni and college community, shapes others’ perceptions of the college and elevates our work through compelling visuals.”

Broderick’s highly developed skillset and easy-going personality make her sought-after for a variety of projects and virtually every major special event in the last 25 years, Canale added. 

“She is an exceptionally caring and dedicated employee, and will put in whatever work is necessary to not only get the job done, but often done beyond our expectations,” Canale noted. “She recently redesigned the award-winning OSWEGO Alumni Magazine, its corresponding website and the Alumni and Development main website while maintaining the day-to-day communications of our division.”

Laura Kelly, a 2009 Oswego graduate who is now the executive director of the Oswego Alumni Association, remembered as a student that Broderick made her feel welcomed and valued -- while modeling the traits of an exemplary professional.

“As a full-time colleague, I’ve valued those same characteristics, as well as Jen’s humor and optimism throughout -- which make day-to-day projects, tasks and challenges easier and more enjoyable to tackle collaboratively,” Kelly wrote. “She’s also helped to find cost-effective solutions to traditional marketing efforts, after assessing research and new trends across our industry.”


Healthy leadership

“Angie has demonstrated an unmatched work ethic, a commitment to inclusion of marginalized students and a desire to support the overall health and wellness of the SUNY Oswego campus community,” wrote nominator Wolfe-Lyga, who did not realize she also was being nominated for the same award.

Brown’s many accomplishments include leading the college’s re-accreditation under the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, serving as a founding committee member of the Students Helping Oz Peers (SHOP) food pantry, expanding the “Get Yourself Tested” sexual health outreach initiative and providing a more inclusive approach to health services.

“Angie has managed the difficult task of maintaining stability of student healthcare availability while innovating many of the treatment options and services,” Wolfe-Lyga noted. “Through her hard work and dedication to the students of SUNY Oswego, Angie led and supported the college’s efforts in celebrating the diversity by including services like those of transgender care.”

In tackling the pandemic, Brown was a superstar and steadying influence that made a real difference in a new, evolving and complex situation, wrote Kathleen Evans, assistant vice president for student development.

“Specifically, she helped to develop our campus isolation and quarantine plans, campus safety plans and collaborated with outside agencies to provide adequate testing, contact tracing and communications to the campus regarding the pandemic,” Evans said. “She worked endless hours during the Fall 2020 semester -- including most evenings and weekends, communicating with Upstate Medical University and the Oswego County Health department, as well as directly with our students and their families, providing a highly empathetic and professional response to positive test results.”

“Angie’s resolve to problem solve, keep students first and provide input to guide the institution gives some insight into her work ethic,” wrote Shaun Crisler, the assistant vice president for residence life and housing.

In addition to the level of technical knowledge and competence of Brown, a family nurse practitioner who joined the college in 2013 and has been the director of health services since 2015, her ability to work with and lead others has been key in such a human-focused profession, Evans wrote.

“Angie’s strength lies in her ability to supervise and manage staff,” Evans said. “She leads by example, is warm and approachable and she regularly provides both positive feedback and constructive criticism.”

Angie not only works at improving the health center and the services for students, but also improving the campus,” wrote Tara Auler, a registered nurse in Walker Health Center. “Angie is a resource for faculty, staff and parents/guardians for those with questions or concerns about students. Angie truly wants to help all students.”

Serving students

Wolfe-Lyga, who returned to her alma mater in 2016, “jumped into the position as director of Counseling Services with both feet and an energy that has not yet let up,” wrote nominator Jane LeBlanc, associate director of clinical services. “She started with a team mindset and early on was able to show her enthusiastic embrace of change and challenge, in an effort to meet the students where they are in today’s world and make the most of all of the resources the campus has to offer.”

Since then, Wolfe-Lyga has accomplished many tasks large and small, including leading the sizable effort required to attain International Accreditation of Counseling Services certification in 2018. Wolfe-Lyga recently earned a Special Presidential Commendation Award from her colleagues in the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, recognizing that she is one of the best nationally in her profession.

On the SUNY level, Wolfe-Lyga serves as a special advisor to President Deborah F. Stanley, who co-chairs the SUNY Mental Health Task force. “She has presented and advocated for students and centers at the Chancellor’s level,” LeBlanc wrote. “Closer to home, some additional praise can be extended to her work within Student Affairs and bringing together a number of departments together,” such as leading efforts to support SHOP, a Student Mental Wellness Fair, resources, training, committee work and more.

Nominators said Wolfe-Lyga’s commitment appears in the many grants and new programs she brings to campus including a federal SAMSHA Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant, which brought $287,000 to SUNY Oswego in 2020. “The purpose of this program is to develop a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to enhance services for all college students, including those at risk for suicide, depression, serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders that can lead to school failure,” LeBlanc wrote.

“Kate immediately developed and initiated a comprehensive plan to provide tele-counseling services for our students” when the college’s operations moved toward remote in spring 2020, Evans recalled. The result was “a seamless transition to telehealth so that services continued as much the same as possible,” LeBlanc added.

Robin McAleese, a now-retired member of the counseling services staff and a previous winner of this Chancellor’s Award, said Wolfe-Lyga “embodies the essential traits of a solid leader.”

“She set the direction, acknowledged that at times it would and could be a stretch for us as a team, was open to ideas, kept her eyes on the goals as the rest of us dug through the day-to-day, reminded us that our work was important, showed gratitude, encouraged self-care and invited us to laugh often,” McAleese wrote.