In his 20-year -- and still counting -- career at Case Western Reserve University, Michael Yeager not only has been the perfect example of customer service but also personifies the lifelong learning environment that is Case Western Reserve.
Since starting at the Kelvin Smith Library in 1988, Yeager has grown his skills from librarianship to interlibrary loan to systems administrator for the entire library management system.
Yeager; Ramona David, admissions and program manager for The Institute for Management and Engineering (TiME); and Colleen Barker-Williamson, director of Thwing Center for programs and leadership, were each honored by President Barbara R. Snyder with the President's Award for Distinguished Service during the university's 2008 Staff Awards Brunch Wednesday in the Thwing Center ballroom. David and Barker-Williamson were featured in Case Daily Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
While at work in the library, Yeager is known not only for his patience and amiable demeanor in working with patrons but also for his tireless pursuit of seemingly unobtainable research resources. He has been known to track down rare copies of faculty-requested materials as far away as in France.
"Over the years, Mike has become for me not only an indispensible support but a highly respected colleague," a faculty nominator wrote. "His devotion . . . to the university community is extraordinary."
In addition to his dedication to service for others, Yeager is committed in responsibility to self.
He completed his bachelor's degree in biology at Case Western Reserve in 1989 and then, while moving up through the customer service ranks at the library, took it upon himself to develop his personal interest and fledgling skill set in technology.
By committing to online tutorials and hands-on training, in addition to his full-time service at the library, Yeager has mastered several IT systems and assumed the role of analyst programmer. He now supports all library computers -- 100 public, 100 staff and 60 classroom workstations -- and administers public borrowing, internal budget management, cataloging, acquisitions, serials and reporting.
"Whether he is troubleshooting system problems, representing our needs at various user group meetings, providing training on particular features of the catalog, programming . . . or advising us on the best way we can accomplish goals related to the catalog," another nominator wrote,"we know we can always depend on Mike to provide excellent service."
The university's staff awards event is conducted each year to recognize and honor employees with 10 and 25 years of service, along with the recipients of the President's Award for Distinguished Service. Each President's Award recipient receives a $1,000 cash gift and a certificate of recognition. Ten- and 25-year service award recipients receive a gift of their choice and a certificate of recognition.
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