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Chancellor's Award: Thompson a `shining example'


Editor's note: This is the third of four Chancellor's Award winner profiles.

Lucinda Thompson is probably one of the most sought-after people in the Department of Family Medicine.

She is the department's human resources facilitator and keeps all the personnel-related details for the faculty and staff in the building. Answers about sabbaticals, vacations, maternity leaves, benefits and personal work issues are all at the fingertips of Thompson in the tiny office she fondly refers to as "Paperwork Place."

Mountains of paper stacked high up the walls make the job appear monumental. Thompson, in her quiet and confident demeanor, makes the job look easy. Her value to the department and the people who rely on her for answers is one reason she was selected to receive a 1999 Chancellor's Award. She accepted a $500 check, a 24-hour paid leave and a framed certificate as her reward for being a "shining example" of "compassionate service."

Timothy Ives, associate professor of pharmacy and family medicine, pointed to these qualities in his recommendation of Thompson for this prestigious award.

Having relied on her help with an insurance problem during a family emergency, Ives recalled, "She took it upon herself ... to get the information I needed. She did it the only way she knows: both right and well."

Having known Thompson for 15 years, Ives referred to her as a "uniquely meticulous individual who truly takes great pride in her work."

All in the family

Somewhat bashful about all the attention, Thompson noted that it's her 16-year-old daughter who has always been the award winner in the family. Her swimming, baton and academic awards will now have to make room for mom's accomplishment.

Thompson equates her work in family medicine with her personal responsibilities as a parent.

"We practice the family concept here," she said.

Whether it's her teenager who needs advice or an employee wanting to work out a plan for retirement or maternity leave, she said, "They know they can come to me and be comfortable that, whatever the issue, it will be resolved; whatever the question, I will find the answer."

Every family needs a person to lean on, and Thompson said she enjoys filling that role in her work family.

"I have a knack for making people feel comfortable. I'm able to bond and have a good relationship with the faculty and staff here," she said, noting that her number-one resolve is to be accessible and always make a good effort.

The door is always open

Other than the front door to the family medicine building, Thompson's doorway sees the most activity in the department. Her supervisor, Robbie Snuggs, said Thompson is the one who is tuned into and works with people on both the family practice and administrative floors of the building.

"If anybody knows the answer, it's usually Lucinda," she said. "She's a great listener, takes initiative and can switch gears easily. That's what makes her so approachable."

Her co-worker Sue Vitellaro agreed: "Lucinda's door is always open."

And now it seems it's open even wider to hide a colorful, computer-generated sign of congratulations. "I put the sign on the outside of her door, but she moved it," Vitellaro said.

Thompson's modesty about her accomplishments is part of what makes her so likable. Her 26 years of experience is part of what makes her so valuable.

And, when she takes her day of paid leave at Thanksgiving time, she should rest assured that it was well deserved.



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