Lori Crandall, the Secretary I for the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department since 2002 and an effective and highly respected School of Education cornerstone for the past quarter-century, was named the recipient of the prestigious 2010 President’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.
SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum presented Crandall with the award on Dec. 3 at the 41st Annual Service Recognition Ceremony, sponsored by the SUNY Cortland Human Resources Office, in the Corey Union Function Room.
The award was created in 2002 to annually recognize one individual “for extraordinary achievement and to encourage the continuation of excellence.” Nominees must be current SUNY Cortland full-time classified service employees with at least three years of continuous service. A supervisor, co-worker or other college community member may make nominations.
“Lori is simply outstanding at her job,” wrote Associate Professor Andrea Lachance, citing the unanimous support for Crandall’s nomination from the 17 full-time and 40 part-time members whom she serves of the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, the largest on campus with more than 1,000 majors.
“She does nearly every administrative task in our large department flawlessly — from building the course schedule to assisting faculty with book orders and reminding them to post grades, to helping prepare annual reports to advising students. Lori does it all and does it with professionalism, grace and compassion.”
“She is the heart and personality of the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department,” added another faculty member, who compared Crandall to the character of Radar O’Reilly on TV’s long-running series “M*A*S*H.” “She has the uncanny ability to anticipate not only what needs to be done to accomplish cyclical duties to keep the largest department on campus running, but she also intuits the individual needs of every person in the department.”
“She is there for all of us — faculty, student and support staff alike,” added another faculty member. “She is the duct tape when we need patching, the Gorilla glue when we need to stick together and the inspiration when we need to be reminded tomorrow will be another day.”
“Having worked in the department for over 25 years, Lori is both the department historian and archivist,” added Lachance. “We rely on her to ‘remember’ what our policies are and how we did things previously. She knows our bylaws better than any of us, and she can put her hands on documents that most of us forgot ever existed.
“Lori is there to help solve problems — and she does so without judgment or complaint. As one longtime adjunct instructor says, ‘She can be asked the same question over and over and she never makes you feel like you are an incompetent.’”
One of the veteran department members noted, “Lori is magically able to make you think that she has no other work to do than to help you. She always has time to thoroughly assist in whatever is needed and gives you her full attention. Never have I seen her act as though whatever is requested is a big strain on her already overcrowded agenda. I know that she stays extra so that all work can be done efficiently and on time, but that allows her to be of service to our department in that calm, sweet Lori way.”
Growing up in East Homer, N.Y., Crandall attended Truxton School until it merged with the Homer School District. She graduated from Homer High School and attended Mohawk Valley Community College. She worked at A&W and as a secretary at Homer High School before joining SUNY Cortland as a typist in the Physical Plant on Nov. 21, 1983.
Crandall came to the Education Department as a stenographer in October 1984. In June 1987, she was promoted to senior stenographer and in November 1989 reclassified as a Secretary I. When the Education Department was divided into four separate departments in 2002, she took over her current position as the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department secretary.
She and her husband, Louis, who retired from the College in 2001, reside in Freeville, N.Y. They enjoy camping and NASCAR racing.
“What makes Lori so effective is her devotion to the department and her caring for others,” concluded one faculty member. “She once told me that she is constantly on her computer at home because she does not want to keep anyone waiting for an answer, especially if it’s urgent. She rises above office politics and treats everyone as though they are deserving of the department’s time. She ‘walks the walk’ with her belief that we are all in this together.”