Stories of Success

Excellence in Service Winners

Northern Michigan University congratulates Excellence in Service Award recipients at the annual Faculty & Staff Recognition Luncheon.  The Excellence in Service awards are presented to individuals who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and an exceptional commitment to NMU’s mission, vision, strategic outcomes, and core values.


2018 Honorees:


Melissa Alan Matuscak, DeVos Museum Director/Curator, School of Art & Design

Melissa Matuscak's work as the Director/Curator of the DeVos Art Museum has done much to enhance the prestige and distinction of the museum and NMU. The museum’s exhibitions and programs have created a regional and national profile due to their innovation, inclusiveness and excellence. The shear number of exhibitions that are curated or installed at the DeVos Art Museum each year is ambitious and this has been consistently true over the past 10 years since Melissa became the Director/Curator. The programs and tours are highly interactive and innovative, using technology and cutting edge exhibition techniques to present the works on display.


The museum provides an opportunity for student and faculty, artists in the community, and artists throughout the world to be presented at the museum. This type of collaboration for a museum the size of the DeVos is truly unique. One of Melissa’s greatest strengths is in building support throughout the community for not only the DeVos but also for the arts in Marquette. She has attracted a very active and effective group of volunteers and an active advisory board, which has increased the capacity of the institution. There is not an arts organization or artist in Marquette that has not been impacted by her work either at the DeVos or in the community. This is why she was awarded the Community Arts Advocate award from the City of Marquette in 2011. She also has created countless opportunities for students at the university to be involved with the DeVos through student work, internships, exhibitions, classes, public programs and gallery openings.


Mike Bath, Director, Public Safety & Police Services

Mike’s oversight of Northern's police staff and their effort to make NMU a safe place to learn, live and work definitely impacts our attractiveness to prospective and current students and their families, which helps to grow enrollment and increases retention. He's approachable. He's engaged. He's an outstanding community member and someone who is good at creating positive community opportunities. Mike works diligently at continually establishing and maintaining connections locally, regionally and statewide with law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, but also with community leaders, business leaders, legislators, alumni, campus visitors and NMU community members.


Mike is the ultimate protector of the campus and all who walk the university grounds and facilities. As the co-director of the university's emergency response program, he oversees planning, training, and preparing for crisis, and he serves as the incident commander. On a day-to-day basis he deals with major and minor university crises with calm, lightning quick problem-solving and compassion for the individuals involved. He keeps the president, the Executive Council, the Leadership Council and the President's Council informed of situations and he's open to input in considering new and different ways to keep the campus safe and the student/employee/visitor experience first rate. Mike enjoys teaching in the Criminal Justice Department when his schedule permits, saying he enjoys sharing his passion with future law enforcement officers and criminal justice professionals. He also teaches in the NMU Police Academy at times.


Patrice Keskey, Buildings & Grounds Attendant, Plant Operations

Patrice Keskey is a model employee when it comes to the Building & Grounds Attendant position. The Hedgcock building’s cleanliness is at an extremely high level and she is always willing to provide assistance to building occupants, students, and parents. She goes above and beyond what her job duties entail and is always responsive to requests and needs. Patrice has embraced the Facilities Department's recent changes in service delivery in regards to Process Cleaning and Aqueous Ozone. This change has increased the healthiness of the Hedgcock Building.

She pays great attention to detail and treats everyone with a high level of respect. In a satisfaction survey of the Hedgcock building, Patrice was identified personally on several occasions:

  • "Patrice is always pleasant and professional."
  • "Ever since Patrice started in this building, the cleanliness is impeccable."
  • "We love Patrice. She is the best. The building and our offices have never looked better."
  • "We are very appreciative of Patrice's attention to detail. She does an excellent job."


Patrice interacts daily with prospective students and families giving them the sense that the NMU Community is caring and helpful. Her work ethic and attention to detail are unmatched. The connections she makes with staff, students and families by providing assistance have made a dynamic impact on the future of our university.


Kerry Mohr, Assignment Coordinator - Residence Halls, Housing & Residence Life

Kerry Mohr serves students with calm professionalism, and her relentless positive attitude connects her to prospective and current students and their family members in a way that ensures NMU's commitment to personal attention is carried out on a daily basis. She's creative in problem-solving which helps to make sure that students (and their family members) are dealt with in a helpful manner.


In her first year in this position, she has had to acclimate to a new housing complex, a new private-public partnership and way of doing business, and one of the largest incoming residence hall populations in decades -- all while learning to work on a new housing software system -- as well as a move of 400 students from West Hall to the new complex, The Woods, in mid year. More than once this past year, Kerry has taken a stressful student housing situation and found opportunity to help the student resolve issues.  She creates an inclusive, caring community for the students. She is sensitive to student needs and is creative in helping them to overcome obstacles.


Ann Parent, Principal Secretary, Center for Student Enrichment

Ann parent is the primary contact for the Student Leader Fellowship Program, which has long been one of NMUs top 10 brag point programs for experiential learning, mentoring, and service to the community. Ann focuses attention on improving complex tasks such as enhanced data management. Ann is organized, efficient, and conscientious about her work. She is quick to ask for more work when she gets ahead on her to-do lists. Ann is a major contributor to our office mission. She is a positive influence and role model through her enthusiasm, creativity, and warm personality. She is a pleasure to work with.


Ann is interpersonally gifted; this asset has been tremendously beneficial in her position. She is the communication gateway to our extensive relationships with Student Leader Fellowship Program alumni and friends. Ann is heavily involved in communications with about 50 different community organizations every year as students plan and implement their 100-hour community service internships as well. Ann is heavily involved in the recruitment and retention of hundreds of leadership mentors that volunteer (about 60 each year) to be individually matched with our students during the first year of the Student Leader Fellowship Program. Ann truly cares about the NMU students we work with. She provides them with encouragement, recognition, training, and reminds them regularly that we appreciate their important contributions and care about their lives outside the job. She is a wonderful mentor to these students. This helps build strong positive relationships with the students we serve and fosters the sense of community that NMU values deeply. Ann facilitates relationships that engage students in collaborative, socially responsible service to others.







Deb Pietrangelo, Food Service Worker II, Dining Services

Deb exudes professionalism in all she does. Work ethic, sanitation, dependability, reliability, team player, these are all Deb’s strong points. When working with students she is always respectful and helpful. She always had her eyes and ears open, being fully aware of helping students in any way possible. She teaches and guides them about the task on hand. Deb is supportive; she jumps in where needed; she puts your needs before hers. She has created a dynamic around the kitchen that is contagious.


She works hard shifts, long shifts, long stretches, and never leaves until the job is finished. She’s willing to come in earlier than scheduled, and stay well after. She never would take shortcuts because "it harms the students. Deb's organization and consistency in her job performance gives our department the foundation to achieve success. She demonstrates a professional work ethic that she instills this in the students and other employees on our team.


Kelsey Potes, Marketing Manager, University Marketing & Communications

Kelsey has managed NMU's growing accounts since marketing was revamped as an organization over 3 years ago. She has taken on more and more roles within marketing, and she has found the time to not only manage, but also execute. Rokerthon, one of the largest platforms NMU has ever been on, was a prime example of this ability to manage, delegate, and execute with great success that we should set as a standard for NMU employees.


Rokerthon was one of the largest opportunities NMU has ever had to be presented to a national audience. Kelsey took the lead to meet not only NBC's demands, but utilize our talented students to teach them both practical and conceptual professional skills - often needing them to move and adapt very quickly, a skill that most learn on the job. Rokerthon was a huge community engagement effort, not only did it ask of the community to come be represented at 4AM, but gave NMU and Marquette the opportunity to present itself to the rest of the nation as a beautiful, community driven campus, all while managing a massive amount of back and forth from NBC's production team. Kelsey happily worked overtime, kept a great attitude, encouraged and appreciated our students, and flawlessly organized a world-record setting event.  She represented NMU as capable and dedicated to the largest news organization in the country. Kelsey seized this event to make sure the opportunity was presented properly and with ease, actually earning the unofficial title of "easiest campus to work with" from one of the producers. This is the standard for NMU employees - dedicated, positive, encouraging and appreciating of students, and able to take on any sized task and execute flawlessly.


Don Salo, Director - EAN, IT & Technical Services

Without Don Salo’s commitment to the Educational Access Network (EAN), his willingness to work long hours miles from home and his fearless attitude when work takes him to extended heights in cold weather, EAN would be just a great idea sitting in a box. NMU's continued growth with our new Global Campus program and on-line student population is directly tied to Don's work.


Over the last several years, NMU has developed a wireless broadband service that would intimidate most campus IT professionals. Don physically builds these transmitter systems. He draws on years of welding, construction, mechanical maintenance and electrical experience to complete these installations without incurring the typically high costs similar project often require. Since 2010, he’s completed tower projects at over 20 sites in communities throughout Marquette, Houghton, Delta and Iron counties, while navigating tremendous challenges such as regulations to mount on historic buildings and overcoming U.P. terrain that makes signal reception unpredictable.


On a regular basis, he meets with city managers and their engineering departments to coordinate NMU’s needs with their facility installation requirements. Don is literally the face of NMU at these sites and our University’s reputation hinges on how well he represents our interests. He also looks out for the interests of our host communities. Don builds community wherever he goes. He smiles a lot, speaks softly but with authority and never misses a chance to give someone else credit for the work they do. He understands that connections and building communities go hand-in-hand and makes sure that, by example, others understand that too. His positive attitude, can-do attitude is contagious.


View the list of past award recipients

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