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For several years, Sam Lapin knew that the administrative assistant at the Northern Kentucky University - Grant County Center was hard working and dedicated.
That prompted Lapin, a faculty member, to nominate Connie Lawrence for NKU’s annual awards program.
Now the rest of the employees know how good she is at her job after she was named one of the school’s outstanding office/clerical staff as part of the 2012 Regents Distinguished Service Awards program.
Lapin hired Lawrence in 1998 as secretary for the NKU-Grant County Center.
“I consider it the single best decision I’ve made in my 15 years working at NKU,” Lapin wrote in his nomination letter. “At the time, the NKU-Grant County Center had just opened and it was critical that we effectively connect with the community. Connie was perfect for that role. It seemed that every person who came through the door, knew, respected and loved Connie. I later learned this was earned by Connie’s longtime dedication to the community.”
Her first job out of high school was a telephone operator for Cincinnati Bell. She moved on to Grant County Deposit Bank. She stayed home when her daughters, Alicia and Angela were small, but eventually went back to work part time in a chiropractor’s office.
Lawrence has also served as a member of the Williamstown Board of
Education for 16 years.
“I do love my work here,” she said. “The one thing I really appreciate is the skills I’ve taken from each work place that have set a career path for me. Customer service is what it’s all about.”
Lapin said Lawrence isn’t just a secretary.
“She was the entire support staff for an extended campus location of NKU,” Lapin wrote. “In short, Connie’s leadership, enthusiasm, loyalty, initiative, creativity and courtesy are at the very heart of why the NKU Grant County Center has been successful and has grown so rapidly.”
Betsy John Jennings, the director of extended campus initiatives, agreed.
“She’s the best. She’s dedicated and committed and she cares for the students,” John-Jennings said.
Education has always been important to Lawrence.
“I tell students here at the center that whatever they’re going to be, they need to be the best,” Lawrence said.
While the enrollment at the NKU-Grant County Center varies each semester, Lawrence has personal contact with nearly all the students.
This year’s enrollment is 196 students enrolled in 16 classes.
Lawrence said her work ethic comes from her parents who taught her to give her best effort.
“I always look to improve and I don’t do something to be thanked or for recognition,” she said.
Lawrence was notified that she had been nominated for the award and that her attendance was requested for a luncheon in March.
She said she was already teary-eyed because Dr. Jim Vortruba, president of NKU, was honored for his years of service. He is retiring after this school year.
She cried softly when information about the award recipient was read.
“It was truly an honor,” she said, but is quick to move the subject back to the center.
“This is a wonderful environment. We are a family and everyone here cares about the students,” she said. “It makes me the happiest to see the student progress and succeed.”
Lawrence is a member of Fairview Christian Church. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading and crafts.
Since joining the staff at NKU, she’s become a season ticket holder at the main campus.
“I couldn’t do anything that I do without the support of my family,” she said.
“It was an honor to be recognized, but more than that it’s about the NKU-Grant County Center and what we provide here. I’m glad to be part of it,” Lawrence said.