Standout Staff Honored With Gates Award

Staff members honored for hard with the Gates Award

Martha “Marty” Blessing

Senior Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Enrollment Management

Blessing is a 1970 graduate of Susquehanna University, and has remained a member of the Susquehanna University community since then.

What motivates her to work so hard for the university:
“I love SU and am proud to be a part of the campus community.”

A highlight of her time at SU :
“Each opening convocation. When the faculty marshal bangs the mace on the podium and announces the opening of the academic year, I think about the more than 150 classes that have preceded this one and work hard to ensure that there will be another 150.”

How her work connects to students:
“I don’t often work directly with many of our students, other than the ones working in the admissions office, who are terrific, but I get to know their names through the recruitment and scholarship awarding process. It’s fun to connect a name to a face when I read about a student’s accomplishments in The Crusader or see them performing in plays or concerts.”

Deborah Stieffel, vice president for enrollment management, says:
“In terms of the strategic goals, Marty is a model citizen. She serves our students and parents well, always remembering why we are all here. She is great with the students in our office—a good teacher and mentor—and has an excellent disposition with families, high school personnel, alumni, faculty and anyone else with whom she comes in contact. In terms of the university community, Marty sees the big picture when it comes to her work and the students we serve. When things happen, she is the first to jump in and volunteer to hammer out the solutions. She works well with everyone on campus and is diplomatic and friendly. Anyone who knows Marty and has worked with her must appreciate her work.”

Dan KilgusDaniel Kilgus


Kilgus has been with Susquehanna for 29 years. He worked for a short time as a laborer, then worked in the carpentry shop for a year before moving to the lock shop.

What motivates him to work so hard for the university:
“My upbringing, and the good people I work for.”

A highlight of his time at SU:
“When we moved out of our old shop [the site of Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium] into our new shop on Sassafras Street.”

How his work connects to students:
“Anytime you go through a door, I probably worked on it at some point in time or rekeyed it. I work closely with Residence Life.”

Dave Henry, associate director of facilities, says:
“Danny definitely went above and beyond what was expected of him in quickly re-keying the campus. This was an extremely time-consuming task, and Danny took it on above and beyond his normal duties. This effort was, dare I say, ‘key’ in continuing to invest in our campus to keep it safe for our students, faculty and staff.”

Paul NovackPaul Novack

Director of Web Communications

Novack came to Susquehanna in 2004; prior to serving as the director of Web communications, he was the assistant director of communications. He was in charge of the university’s print and electronic communication projects. He currently chairs the university’s Web Advisory Group and Core Web Team and serves as a member of the Integrated Communications Team.

What motivates him to work so hard for the university:
“It’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the university in support of its mission. At Susquehanna, so many staff and faculty work so hard, give selflessly of their time and talents—and that’s inspiring.”

A highlight of his time at SU:
“I particularly enjoy when the Susquehanna community comes together to celebrate. The most significant event is, of course, Commencement, and it’s a very special day for graduates, their families, and faculty and staff to recognize accomplishments and anticipate future potential.”

How his work connects to students:
“I’m indebted to a number of students—more than 15, in fact—who have worked with me on the Web redesign project. Without their contributions, the project would still be in development.”

Gerald Cohen, associate vice president for communications and chief communications officer, says:
“For the better part of a year, Paul worked long days and many weekends to keep the project moving. For the initial launch, which was a partial launch, he worked about two months without taking a day off. It was beyond the call of duty, but he refused to take time off until the site was launched. Throughout the project, he handled the wide variety of tasks with the greatest level of professionalism and patience. Paul did whatever it took, short of pleading, to get cooperation from all stakeholders. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor.”


The contributing writer to the People & Places section is Heather Cobun ‘10.

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