On Tuesday, April 11, two longtime employees of DeSales University were recognized as Employees of the Year for 2017. Gracia Perilli (above left), associate director of athletics, has been named the Professional Staff Employee of the Year and Christopher Braxmeier (above right), night-shift custodian, has been named Support Staff Employee of the Year.
Father Bernard O’Connor, OSFS, president of DeSales, presented both Braxmeier and Perilli with their awards during the University’s annual Service Excellence Awards Dinner.
“This award goes to a wonderful support staff person who has enriched our lives immensely,” O’Connor said while introducing Braxmeier. “He has been an incredible gift to the DeSales University community.”
Braxmeier has worked at DeSales for 39 years and spent his first 15 years as a grounds crew staff person before moving to facilities/campus environment as a night-shift custodian. “I’m happy to work here. I enjoy doing it,” he said.
Braxmeier is known around campus as a dependable employee with a stellar work ethic who’s always willing to help out. “He takes pride in his work,” says Sean McSorley, custodial/housekeeper supervisor. “When his name is behind it, he wants to do a real good job. That is important to him.”
Perilli began working in the athletic department at DeSales in Fall 2000. “She is invaluable to the functioning of our sports programs and is just an inspiration for our wonderful students,” O’Connor said before handing Perilli her award.
Perilli called it a pleasant and much-appreciated surprise and thanked everyone in athletics. “I'm really lucky to get to work with a group of people who are really good at what they do,” she told the crowd. “I thank God every day for everyone and everything that is DeSales University.”
During her time at DeSales, Perilli has helped to raise more than $28,000 for local cancer agencies through Pink Game events, and she pairs varsity teams with Lehigh County Children and Youth to make sure at-risk kids have gifts to open at Christmas.
Attend any athletic event or home game and you’re likely to see Perilli’s face in the crowd. To her, the athletes here aren’t just students. They’re her kids and she takes pride in teaching them what’s important. “They learn that being nice and respectful and doing things the right way is a heck of a lot more important than just winning,” she said.
The Employee of the Year awards are given annually to a professional and support staff member in recognition of outstanding service. Recipients distinguish themselves through their commitment to the University's mission, exemplify the values for which the University stands, and display characteristics such as effort, skill, positive attitude, and creativity in the workplace.
During the ceremony, O’Connor also recognized four employees with special service anniversaries. Rodger Berg, associate professor of chemistry; Joseph Colosi, associate professor of biology; and John Miller, water system operator, were all recognized for 35 years of service. Gregg Amore, associate dean of students for student development, was awarded for his 45 years of service.
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