The annual Career Milestones Awards honored GW employees’ years of service.
By Tatyana Hopkins
When J. Marie Miller began her career at the George Washington University in 1974 as an assistant to GW Hospital’s comptroller, she thought she would only hold the position for about two years before moving on to other opportunities outside of the university.
However, she has since held several positions at GW within the hospital’s administration and medical school, including her current position as the executive coordinator for the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library.
“I just thought I wouldn't be any one place longer than that,” she said. “But I got here, and I really liked the people that I worked with, and it’s really like a family. It's a very close-knit community.”
Ms. Miller was among about 400 long-serving staff honored at the 2019 Career Milestone Awards ceremonies held Wednesday at the F Street House.
GW employees who served 20 years or more marked their milestones with a ceremony followed by a reception. Those with five, 10 and 15 years of service celebrated in a separate ceremony on Wednesday.
Ms. Miller, who reached her 45-year milestone, was the longest serving employee to be honored this year.
Although she said much has changed at the university over the years, one thing has remained the same—it is a great place to work.
“I like the diversity—working with the students, the faculty and staff,” Ms. Miller said. “There’s also something new almost every day. [In the hospital] you could meet anyone from the president of another country to everyday people.”
She even recalled the hospital being full of activity following Ronald Reagan’s admission after the 1981 assassination attempt on his life.
At the ceremonies, Dana Bradley, GW’s vice president for human resources and chief people officer, asked employees to stand and be recognized for their commitment to GW.
Ms. Bradley, who began her position in September, said as someone who recently began their tenure at GW, it was a privilege to celebrate along staff who have served the university for so long.
“During my first few months here I have seen why ‘Only at GW’ is so very true,” she said. “The beginning of our common purpose refers not just to our unique location, but to each and every person in this room and the time and commitment you've built into your career and into our community at GW. I have really seen how deeply you care about this institution, and it's evident everywhere you look on campus.”
The milestone honorees were also joined by GW President Thomas LeBlanc, Provost M. Brian Blake, vice presidents from various divisions and other university leaders.
Dr. LeBlanc said he could not overstate the importance of the university’s longtime staff members as he thanked them for their years of dedication to the university during the lunch event honoring those who have been working with GW for 20 years of more.
“You represent the backbone of our campuses, our services and our academic programs,” he said. “Every day, with everything you do, everything you create for our students, faculty, alumni and your fellow colleagues, we can all be proud of that work.”
He said although the employees worked in departments across the university, together their work helps make GW a great university.
“While you do this in many ways, all of you are united in your desire to make GW a great place to live, learn and work,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “For the interactions that you have with other individuals, all of you are GW.”