MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury has named the recipients of the 2021 Virtue Family Exceptional Service Awards, which are presented annually to faculty and staff.
This year, five recipients were selected in recognition of the many and varied contributions of faculty and staff at Middlebury as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The 2021 Virtue Family Exceptional Service Award recipients are:
Pam Berenbaum, director of the Global Health Program and professor of the practice of Global Health
Phil Cyr, stockroom, receiving, and shipping coordinator and rink attendant, Facilities Services
Jennifer Erwin, director, Event Management
Barbara McCall, executive director, Center for Health and Wellness
David Wick, associate professor and program chair, International Education Management Program, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Clockwise from upper left: Pam Berenbaum, Barbara McCall, David Wick, Jennifer Erwin, Phil Cyr
“These individuals have demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to our students through their work and continue to do this during a time when the pandemic brings new challenges,” said Middlebury President Laurie Patton. “They recognize that so many factors have a strong impact on a student’s experience and education at Middlebury.”
Established in 2017 by Ted ‘82 and Dani Shaw Virtue ‘82, P’10, ‘15, the award traditionally recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond their normal professional responsibilities to support and connect with students in ways that build a more engaged and inclusive Middlebury community. Each year, faculty, staff, and students of the College, Institute, Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences are encouraged to submit nominations for this award. A committee of faculty and staff reviewed 38 nominations.
Below is additional information about each of the recipients:
Pam Berenbaum, director of the Global Health Program and professor of the practice of global health, began teaching at Middlebury College in 2010. Nominators noted that she has attracted tremendous numbers of students into the program through her engaging teaching, mentorship, and dedication. She has also consistently reached out to community partners for her classes. One student who worked on a project to explain local health needs said, “It was really rewarding to be able to uncover so much about Addison County, from the work that different organizations do to how COVID has affected the community.” Student nominators also said she provides space for students to be heard, checks in to see how they are doing, and creates a welcoming learning environment. Several pointed out her multiple roles on campus and in the community, including as a member of the leadership team of the Experiential Learning Centers, faculty advisor to the GlobeMed and Amnesty International chapters, as well as her service of almost 10 years on the board of local nonprofit WomenSafe.
Phil Cyr, who joined the College in 2000, is the stockroom, receiving, and shipping coordinator as well as the rink attendant. Student nominators, some of whom have worked alongside him in the mailroom, repeatedly praised his unfailing friendliness and optimism, incredible dedication to his work, and willingness to take the time to help, even if it means staying late. One nominator and member of the women’s ice hockey team said, “Phil has completely elevated my athletic experience here at Midd. He treats us like professional athletes and acknowledges the work we put into our sport, returning the same hard work in the way he keeps our rink clean and beautiful.” Another noted, “He has impacted my life and my teammates lives more than he’ll ever know” and called his work “exceptional.” Students also voiced appreciation for Phil’s efforts to always ask how their day is going, and to keep in touch with them and their teammates during the difficult times since the pandemic began.
Jennifer Erwin, director of Event Management, has worked at Middlebury since 2014. One nominator noted that Jen has been the workhorse behind the scenes of nearly every aspect of COVID-related work at Middlebury, yet she has never sought recognition. Nominators noted that in 2020 Jen—with characteristic patience, diligence, flexibility, and energy—took on the new role of managing Middlebury’s COVID-19 testing program, which at times required scheduling and organizing a staff of over 55 people and coordinating up to 2,400 tests a day. She did all of this while still serving as the director of Event Management, a job that immediately became more complicated during the pandemic as careful planning and execution were required for every type of campus event. Always student-focused, Jen found ways to make many student events happen, and ensured a vibrant and safe experience on campus, including a completely reorganized and successful undergraduate commencement in May 2021, with six simultaneous outdoor venues and streaming to audiences around the world.
Barbara McCall, executive director of the Center for Health and Wellness, joined the Middlebury staff in 2013. With empathy and authenticity, she has made Middlebury a safer, healthier place for students and the campus community. Barbara has strengthened the Center for Health and Wellness and her team’s approach to meeting students’ needs during a difficult time by expanding services and increasing student access to physical and mental healthcare, including more access to counselors of color via TimelyCare. One nominator called this development “a total game-changer” because the greater services support all students, especially students of color. While Barbara’s work with the Green Dot program has helped to normalize conversations around sex, consent, and relationships, she has also helped students who have been impacted by sexual assault, stalking, dating, and relationship violence through her efforts with MiddSafe, now an integral part of Middlebury’s support network for students in crisis.
David Wick, an associate professor and program chair of the International Education Management program (IEM), arrived at the Institute in 2014. A nominator praised David’s dedication to his students and his hard work, especially last year during the pandemic when all courses at the Institute were fully online. During that time, he created a high-quality online educational experience for his students. He also agreed to teach French courses when there was a faculty need; took over Professor Emeritus Edgard Coly’s course after his unexpected death and helped students who were grieving his loss; and served on the Institute’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force as a faculty representative. David’s colleagues have continuously recognized him for his achievements as a faculty member and have nominated him to multiple boards and committees and for the Faculty Excellence Award, the Institute’s top teaching award. David is also known for his passion, willingness to listen, and his ongoing interest in improving pedagogy and practice.