2015 Ella Reagle Staff Assistant Award Winner

Posted: May 13, 2015

Linda Cray from the Westmoreland County Extension Office was announced as the winner of the 2015 Ella Reagle Staff Assistant Award during the college-wide staff meeting on October 21, 2015.
Dean Roush presented Linda Cray with the 2015 Ella Reagle Staff Assistant Award on October 21, 2015 at the college-wide staff meeting.

Dean Roush presented Linda Cray with the 2015 Ella Reagle Staff Assistant Award on October 21, 2015 at the college-wide staff meeting.

The Ella Reagle Staff Assistant Award, endowed by Ella Reagle’s family, was established to honor Ella who served the college and cooperative extension for thirty years.  Ella Reagle was hired in August 1962 under the Deanship of Russ Larson.  Tom King was Director of Cooperative Extension at the time.  Ella’s role in extension was to process all extension employment documents and payroll; therefore anyone working in Extension in those days, crossed paths with Ella.  It was Ella’s commitment to her job and the integrity that she brought to it, that resulted in the admiration and respect from faculty, staff, and administrators for Ella.  She was a perfectionist and expected no less from those she worked with.  She was an excellent role model and mentor.  Ella passed away in November 1998.

The purpose of this annual award is to honor and recognize staff assistants who support the College of Agricultural Sciences and have demonstrated outstanding dedication and commitment to the College and their work unit.  Those that are eligible for the Ella Reagle award are staff assistants who support the College including individuals who are based away from University Park and wage payroll employees participating in the earned-time program.  The recipient of the Ella Reagle Staff Assistant Award will receive $500, an engraved plaque, and recognition today at our Fall College-wide Staff Meeting.

This year’s awardee was one that seemed to stick out with all of us committee members despite the numerous applications.  Her contributions to further the College’s mission and goals go well past the job description that she holds at Penn State.  Linda has been in the Westmoreland County Extension office for 38 years.  She has been extremely dedicated to her job, especially the past three years when her office began serving as the hub for the District 6 area in Extension.  She manages all extension program accounts for the District.  Her attention to detail and exceptional organizational skills keep the office running as smooth today as it once did with nearly half the staff.

Our recipient is passionate about her job.  She has to be reminded to take her vacation time, reminded that she should go home at night and reminded that Saturdays are not meant to be “the quiet day at the office where you can get something done”.  She is highly organized and knows well what tasks need to be completed throughout different times in the year.  Each year a CPA firm audits the financial work of her county.  They have had several auditors from the firm and they all say that Linda is an example of integrity and provides one of the cleanest and best documented set of financial records they review.  She has always shown great concern that we meet the needs of the clientele we serve.  One way she has demonstrated respect for all individuals is, they had a person who began contacting the office with very strange requests and actually started demanding money from Penn State and made the administrative assistants a bit uncomfortable regarding their own personal safety.  Even with the amount of concern surrounding this situation, Linda emphasized that the person seemed as if they needed help.  As a result, they actually contacted mental health services in Allegheny County (because the person lived there) and they followed up with the individual who did indeed receive needed treatment.  The situation was resolved and the person’s life was made the better for it.

One person notes, “she consistently remains positive, supportive of all programs, and dedicated to assisting fellow staff with any issue.  No job is too large and you may see her working extra hours to complete a project.  No matter how busy she is, Linda always has a nice word and a smile for our staff when they are in the office for trainings.  Linda has helped to foster the “team” effort through the years.  I am honored to support her nomination for the Ella Reagle Award!”  Another person noted: ” I have known Linda for over 33 years and she has been a model of professionalism and integrity.  Even after all these years, I consider her a mentor and look to her for guidance for the many changes we have experienced in Cooperative Extension throughout the years.  Linda is always very knowledgeable, courteous, and helpful.  She will go above and beyond to get the job done.  I feel her dedication to Cooperative Extension is truly an asset to Westmoreland County, District 6, and the entire College of Agricultural Sciences.”

(Reprint from remarks made by selection chair during presentation of award.)