Laura Christopher, program coordinator with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs, was named Marshall’s 2014 Employee of the Year at the 31st annual Service Awards Brunch June 23.
Christopher has been employed at Marshall for almost 10 years and was the Employee of the Month for December 2014. She was nominated by Amy Smith, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Clinical Skills for the School of Medicine, and medical students Aaron Dom and Jonathan Seibert, who nominated her on behalf of the MUSOM Class of 2015.
Interim Marshall President Gary White announced Christopher’s selection as Employee of the Year.
“This year’s Employee of the Year is a lady who I met for the first time when I gave her the (Employee of the Month) award,” White said. “As soon as I met her, as soon as I felt the atmosphere in the room when I was there to make the presentation, I certainly understood what I had read about her, and agreed with everything that had been said.”
White described Christopher as “an outstanding professional in her job,” and he praised her family for its support of her and involvement “in whatever activity” she is involved in.
In accepting the award Christopher said, “I’m just very lucky that I see our students (from) day one, and I’m just very lucky that I get to see them for four years. Knowing that I might play a little part in them becoming the good doctors that they’ve become is very humbling to me. I’m very proud to say that my doctor, my husband’s doctor and my children’s doctor are all School of Medicine graduates and I’d have it no other way.”
In her nomination, Smith wrote, “Mrs. Christopher is the stable force and support for student affairs in the School of Medicine. Her outstanding performance on many large projects … often goes unnoticed. However, her daily efforts and interactions with students and families go beyond the call of duty … she rises to the top by demonstrating dedication and attentiveness to many details involving the lives of medical students. She often involves her own family in going the extra mile by attending off-hours functions …. or serving holiday breakfasts on the weekends.
“Her infectious laugh and smile bring a positive impact on those around her. Her support, dedication, and loyalty to her role are indescribable. She is dependable and willing to step up and help whatever the needs may be.”
Writing on behalf of their fellow classmates in the 2015 School of Medicine, Dom and Seibert gave her accolades for her long-standing dedication to the student body and her continued attentiveness to their needs. They cite her good humor as she takes on each task, many of them far beyond her role of Office of Student Affairs Coordinator.
“In her role, she has become the go-to person for students with any problems or needs outside the classroom. She is a true problem solver and if she doesn’t have the answer she will not give up until she helps you find one….there is no student request for which she won’t gladly assist.” they wrote.
The medical students are particularly appreciative of her warm and caring manner and the personal interest she takes in the students. “She goes the extra mile to make life just a little bit better for stressed and anxious medical students… (we know) that we have an advocate in our corner. It is in this way that she embodies her role in Student Affairs.” they concluded.
Christopher received a check for $300, a gift certificate for $100 from the bookstore, and a gift card for $20 from dining services.
Approximately 450 people attended the brunch at which service awards were presented to employees who represented more than 2,300 years of service to Marshall.
Photo: Laura Christopher, left, expresses her joy after Interim President Gary White, right, announced her as Marshall’s Employee of the Year..