2004 Lurene Johnson and Monica Voiles


Lurene JohnsonLurene Johnson

Lurene Johnson, a shipping and mailing clerk at UW-River Falls, has been named as one of this year's recipients of the Chancellor's Recognition Award to Classified Staff.

Tom Weiss, director of purchasing services and Johnson's supervisor, nominated Johnson because of her upbeat attitude.

"Lurene shows what we used to call in the U.S. Army a 'can do attitude.' Whatever the task, whatever the job, whatever the project, her response seems to indicate 'I can do it,' " Weiss said.

Nathan Beeman of housekeeping services said Johnson has one of the most physically demanding positions on campus, but is always smiling.

"Often times I have seen her moving items with a hand truck that must weigh twice her weight, yet she never asks for assistance," Beeman said.

Johnson has worked at UW-RF for three years. She delivers mail, packages and freight to every department on campus, rain or shine. Johnson said the most rewarding aspect of her job is seeing people as she makes her deliveries. She also loves working outdoors. When Chancellor Lydecker, who died March 25 in a car accident, told Johnson she had received the award, she was stunned.

"I just started shaking and crying and the Chancellor started crying. We were all crying. I was very, very happy and very, very shocked," Johnson said.

Johnson's favorite memory of her time at UWRF involves Lydecker. She said she was pushing a cartload of paper once when the Chancellor approached her and asked if she could try.

"It had to weigh 300 pounds. She pushed it for a while and said 'I think I'll keep my job,' " Johnson said.

Johnson resides outside of Ellsworth with her husband Brian and son Benjamin. She emphasizes how lucky she is to have Weiss for a supervisor.

"I'm lucky to have the boss I've got. He's a nice guy and treats me with respect. That means so much," Johnson said.

Monica Voiles

Monica Voiles

Monica Voiles, office manager of the UW-River Falls Admissions Office, is one of this year's recipients of the Chancellor's Recognition Award to Classified Staff..

Director of Admissions Alan Tuchtenhagen, Voiles' supervisor, believes her position is one of vital importance to the success of the University's enrollment.

"Her upbeat, helpful and cheery approach to her job has made a positive impression on literally thousands of students," Tuchtenhagen said.

Voiles has worked in the admissions office since August, 1995. She is involved in all facets of the admissions process, such as speaking with prospective students, assembling recruitment materials and registering students. She said she loves her job because she has great faith in the UW-System.

"I love what I do because I get to meet people as they're looking for schools and help them become enthusiastic about what we have at UW-RF," Voiles said.

She also serves as housemother for the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. President Brandon Bruder of Alpha Gamma Rho said Voiles has been one of the best additions to the fraternity in a long time.

"Monica is our mother figure away from home and always wants to help us succeed and become better men," Bruder commented.

Voiles said of her housemother position, "They take good care of me and they make me laugh."

Dean Stephen Ridley of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences said her dedication to duty and her employer is rare.

"Knowledge is important, and when combined with a positive attitude and a welcoming demeanor, one's effective working knowledge seems to be multiplied into another dimension. It is this dimension in which Monica operates," Ridley said.

Voiles said receiving the award was an honor, but bittersweet because of Chancellor Lydecker's death. Lydecker told her she had received the award the day before she died.

"I think about how I would have handled the conversation differently. Of course, you don't know it's the last time you will speak to her," Voiles said.

Voiles resides in River Falls and has four children: Kristofer, Marnisa, Keith and Kyle.