Wellesley Celebrates the Season with Holiday Brunch for College Staff

A staff choir sings with President Johnson
December 19, 2019

Wellesley administrative staff, faculty, and union members gathered in a packed Tishman Commons for President Paula A. Johnson’s annual holiday brunch on December 18, mingling and sampling goodies as a holiday chorus sang carols.

“It’s important to take these opportunities, whenever we can, to spend time together…to take a few minutes to appreciate each other, and recognize our shared dedication to this place we love,” said President Johnson. “For me, it is a joy to be part of a community of such dedicated and talented colleagues and friends.”

As part of the celebration, President Johnson honored three Wellesley staff members for their outstanding contributions to the Wellesley community.

Caryn Sowa, program manager of the Freedom Project, received the Agent of Innovation Award, given to an individual who has used innovative ideas, approaches, or techniques in their work. President Johnson described Sowa’s contributions to the project, which included stepping in to run its internship program, managing budgetary responsibilities, and building bridges within the campus community.

“Caryn is a vital, centering force for the team, particularly this past year during a time of transition for the project,” President Johnson said. She also quoted a colleague who called Sowa the “glue that holds us together.”

Two members of the Science Center team, John DeBolt, advanced instrumentation specialist, and Larry Knowles, Science Center machinist, received the Champion of Collaboration Award, given to a team that has excelled in the use of innovation and collaboration to meet a goal or objective. DeBolt and Knowles are known in the Science Center, President Johnson said, for figuring out ways to protect and transport across campus some of the College’s most delicate specimens and instruments, and for serving as a bridge between faculty and the Science Center contract teams while learning continues in that space

On the work ethic of the “unflappable duo,” President Johnson said, “We are lucky to have such capable individuals working to solve some of the difficult challenges associated with the project, and to ensure an unmatched built environment for our students and faculty…We would not be where we are on the Science Center renovations without John and Larry’s tireless efforts.”