Chris Suriano, associate director of operations for the Memorial Union, received the prestigious Mary McCannel Gunkelman Recognition Award during a ceremony April 21 at the Memorial Union Grand room. The honor goes to the student, faculty or staff member who has made the most significant and unselfish contribution to a happy environment here at NDSU.
“This is pretty awesome. It’s an honor to get this award,” said Suriano of his receiving the recognition. “I appreciate it wholeheartedly. I’d really like to give thanks to my staff team in the Memorial Union who make it a joy to come to work everyday. They’re the ones who put a smile on my face, so I share this with all of you.”
Letters of nomination praised his open, caring and friendly nature.
“Chris has a great leadership quality and management style that is very approachable and he listens with an open mind,” wrote Ann Marschke, Memorial Union administrative office secretary. “He will always make himself available with a smile for co-workers, student employees or organizations, his mentee or departments within the Union.”
Esther Hockett, Memorial Union Gallery coordinator, wrote Suriano is “an amazingly unselfish and caring person” who juggles work and life “with a smile and good humor.”
“He is a caring staff member who truly has the best interest of our students in mind, and this trait continues to show day after day as he serves in his position,” wrote Amy Graff, associate director of student activities at the Memorial Union.
“His pleasant, cooperative and compassionate nature makes him a desirable participant in any endeavor. It is a joy to be his co-worker,” wrote Kay Smith, account technician in the Memorial Union.
Vicki Miller, assistant director of event services, wrote, “Chris demonstrates kindness, empathy and understanding in all his interactions. He brings sunshine to every day and it definitely carries over to the other staff.”
The award was established in 1987, with the first award in 1989 in honor of Mary McCannel Gunkelman, who died in 1985. She was a 1942 graduate of the NDSU College of Home Economics. Funds were provided by the late John Gunkelman and his family.
Suriano was selected from among 11 nominees. Other 2011 nominees included Bonnie Neas, Cathy Gronland, Kambiz Farahmand, Heidi Bills, Jerie Little, Laura Dallmann, Leta Holsinger, Linda Bennett, Linda Gangelhoff and Marlys Borkhuis.