September 24, 2020

Three Susquehanna University staff members were recognized recently with the Signe S. Gates Appreciation Award — Marie Hassinger, director of project management in information technology; Laura Long, housekeeper; and Rocco Porcellio, assistant director of admission.

Established in 2006 by Signe S. Gates, chair of Susquehanna’s Board of Trustees and a graduate of SU, the award recognizes their outstanding contributions to the institution and acknowledges their dedication to advancing the university’s strategic objectives through extraordinary work performance that inspires others to reach for similar achievement.

Hassinger was honored for greatly increasing Susquehanna’s ability to thrive with online teaching as the university quickly pivoted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With her help, course content was enhanced and recorded online via Blackboard and Kaltura, classrooms were upgraded with audiovisual equipment, and the campus community began “Zooming” for synchronous classes and meetings.

Long was recognized as an “outstanding employee with a great attitude and warm personality” and “the first one to step in when others need help, no matter the time of the day.” During the spring 2020 semester, Long identified a concern about some on-campus students and because she quickly reported the situation, the students received the support they needed.

Porcellio helped the Office of Admission digitalize incoming student processes, which led to improved university response times and positive student experiences. First-year students were easily able to complete enrollment steps, including a more interactive course preference selection. Porcellio is credited with advancing ideas from conception to implementation in weeks, while innovating and expanding previous software boundaries.

Gates Award winners were honored virtually in lieu of Susquehanna’s annual Opening Dinner, which was canceled as a result of the pandemic.