Ann Cronin, Jeanne Hillery, and Jessica Garrett Receive MIT Excellence Awards


Each year, the MIT Excellence Awards recognize a small number of exceptional members of the community who have “made extraordinary efforts toward fulfilling the goals, values, and mission of the Institute.” In 2011, three DUE staff members have been called out for their outstanding accomplishments, dedication, creativity, and leadership: Ann Cronin from Airforce ROTC, Jeanne Hillery from DUE headquarters, and Jessica Garrett from the Edgerton Center.

Below are excerpts from the nominations of each individual which give you a sense of the profound impact each has had within their own offices, the DUE community, and MIT as whole.

Ann Cronin – Unsung Hero: Working behind the scenes

Ann has served as the Administrative Assistant for the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 365 for more than 17 years. It is with her extensive experience and knowledge that she is able to carry a heavy workload to include: budgeting, uniform issue, personnel issues, and overseeing large scale events for hundreds of people. In addition, she works seamlessly with students, often serving as a mentor to them, with fellow MIT employees, neighboring Universities, and other military organizations to get the job done right and on time. Every day she goes above and beyond what her normal job description depicts which is why she is our “Unsung Hero”. It is because of all that she does that MIT was home of the United States Air Force Cadet of the Year in 2010. She provides key continuity in a department with a naturally high turnover rate, and takes it upon herself to help with the training of new department personnel both within our department and of our sister-service departments of the Army and Navy units here at MIT. Furthermore, she continued her quest for excellence this summer when she flawlessly kept the office running when all six people in the office were either away for an extended period of time or moved to new duty assignments.

Ann is truly the driving force within our department. If she could receive an Air Force award the citation would read, “The professionalism and commitment to excellence demonstrated by Ann Cronin reflect great credit upon herself, the Department of Aerospace Studies, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

JeanneJeanne Hillery – Bringing Out the Best: Everyday leadership throughout MIT

Since Jeanne Hillery, joined DUE as the Director of Finance and Administration in 2000, we have all come to count on Jeanne’s thoughtful, compassionate, expert guidance to navigate both day to day circumstances and times of uncertainty. Over the past 10 years she has dedicated herself to raising the level of expertise and knowledge of the staff at all levels in DUE who are engaged in financial work. She regularly convenes a standing committee of staff from across DUE (the Financial Management Made Easy/FAME group) to make sure they are up to date and informed about current financial systems and processes. She has developed training materials and documentation in order to raise the skill level of DUE financial staff. Additionally, she spends countless hours providing one-on-one guidance, training, mentoring and support. Besides ensuring that staff have the requisite level of expertise, she endeavors to instill confidence in their own abilities and the importance of their work.

Jeanne’s dedication to bringing out the best in people would be admirable in any situation. In the recent hard economic climate, our appreciation of these attributes reached new levels. During this time when we needed to work cooperatively to conserve resources and preserve morale, Jeanne has been a role-model across DUE, providing hope, ongoing support, a steady focus on getting things done and an enduring sense of organizational purpose. Despite expanded demands on her own time, she redoubled efforts to help others build their skills and maintain optimism. The human factor—knowing she cared about them as individuals—made a big difference.
All of us in DUE are fortunate beyond words to work with Jeanne Hillery. Her positive impact has been far-reaching. She makes hard issues seem much easier even in the midst of change.

JessicaJessica Garrett – Greening of MIT: Protecting our planet

Jessica Garrett is the K-12 Projects Coordinator for the MIT Edgerton Center. She runs our outreach project with the Gloucester Public School system, helps develop new K-12 curriculum, is the secondary teacher for our outreach classes, and helps maintain our website. If something needs to be done, she just does it, regardless of whether it's in her job description. Jessica has a tireless work ethic, is always cheerful and helpful, and regularly goes above and beyond. So when she volunteered to be our center's Green Ambassador, because she's so passionate about the environment, we got a lot more than a few new recycling bins.

Jessica took greening our offices to a whole new level. Not content to just put up regular recycling signs, Jessica researched all possible items that could go into single stream recycling and put up several of her own signs (in the most conspicuous locations) that detailed exactly what could and could not go into the bins. She researched all technology items that could be recycled and put up additional bins with detailed signs. She made specific labels to go on trash bags for ease in recycling packing materials. Anything we generate on a regular basis, she has researched and figured out the easiest and most convenient way for us to recycle it, and makes sure our entire staff knows about it. And that's just recycling. Jessica constantly encourages our office to buy the most environmentally friendly products and to use them as efficiently as possible.

With her endless enthusiasm and determination, Jessica seems to make everyone and everything she touches turn green.

Join the Celebration

We can all celebrate the accomplishments of Ann, Jeanne, and Jessica at the 2011 awards ceremony which will take place on Tuesday, March 1, from 3-5 pm at Kresge Auditorium. The ceremony is open to all members of the MIT community and no tickets are required.