Joseph Bisson and Marci McPhee honored with employee service awards

Brandeis Reporter
Vol. 21, Number 7 / May 4-June 7, 2004

The 2004 Ennis and Zirkel Awards were presented to two outstanding members of the Brandeis community. Marci McPhee of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and Joseph Bisson of the facilities administration science maintenance department received their awards at a luncheon held in their honor on April 30.

Marci McPhee was presented with the Lou Ennis Award, which was established in honor of the former assistant vice president for employee relations who retired in 1995. The Ennis Award honors an administrative staff member "who has demonstrated loyalty and dedication to Brandeis and to its mission, who is professional, helpful, and friendly, and who is known to consistently treat all members of the community with respect and dignity." McPhee is well-known throughout campus as a community-building leader. She has been involved in the planning of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life from its inception and is currently its assistant director. She has played an integral role in the development of the array of Rabb School programs, including a founding role in Brandeis Summer Odyssey and Genesis at Brandeis University. She serves as cochair of the Religious Pluralism and Spirituality Committee, oversees the Ethics and Coexistence Student Fellowship program, and is one of the founding members of the Hour of Presence movement.

Through her 15 years of service to Brandeis McPhee has touched many. Bariza Umar '04 is among that group. In her nomination, Umar stated that "Marci cares tremendously for this university and everyone in it... Brandeis is lucky to have someone as dedicated and warm as Marci working to make this a better place for everyone."

Joseph Bisson Jr. has also earned a reputation of providing the University with "exceptional and reliable service" during his 28 years at Brandeis. Bisson has won the Louis and Helen Zirkel Award, which honors a service employee "who has made a significant contribution and/or has demonstrated consistent effort to improve the services and operation of his/her department and of the University." The award was established by Perry A. Zirkel in honor of his parents, Louis and Helen.

Bisson's nominator, Supervisor of Science Maintenance Ryan Donahue, has worked with Bisson for two years. In his nomination, Donahue stated that he has never "worked with a more reliable and conscientious person in my career," continuing that Bisson "brings an excellent work ethic and pride everyday." Bisson goes above and beyond his many assigned duties every day. Not only does he go "the extra mile when working on projects," he goes out of his way to find work that needs to be done, often turning in "work orders that he did on his own." For all he does, Bisson is not quick to take credit. On a recent project, Donahue noted "he took greater pride in having people enjoy his work than being known for it."

Donahue also added that Bisson greets everyone who visits the Volen Center — "faculty, staff, or student" — and takes the time "to really listen to see how things are going. Everyone at the Science Center knows Joe and his smile."

The recipients were selected by a committee of faculty, students, and staff from an outstanding pool of nominees. The Ennis and Zirkel Awards include a $500 prize. Each winner's name will be added to a plaque that will hang in their department for the next year.