2017 SLU Stars Recognized for Living the Mission

SLU Stars recipients gather for a photo at the breakfast ceremony. From left to right: (front row) Tina Gray, Susan Androff, Kristin Knobloch; (back row) Zack Thatcher, Blake Noyes, Carolyn Merkel, Debie Lohe
Seven members of the University community were recognized as the 2017 SLU Stars in a ceremony on Thursday, March 30. The awardees are as follows:
  • Susan Androff, Internal Medicine
  • Tina Gray, Pediatrics
  • Debie Lohe, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning
  • Carolyn Merkel, Student Financial Services
  • Blakeslee Noyes, Pediatrics
  • Zack Thatcher, Psychology
The SLU Star award is an annual peer-to-peer recognition award to honor faculty and staff whose commitment to the mission is not a singular event, but a continuous story of the mission in action. The award recognizes colleagues who demonstrate professionalism and behavior congruent with the University's Ignatian ideals and Cura Standards, and whose accomplishments further the mission of Saint Louis University. SLU Stars are those unheralded people in our departments who regularly go above and beyond to touch the lives of the colleagues, students, clients, friends, and family they interact with on a daily basis. As an initiative within the Cura program, SLU Stars support a culture of understanding, respect, and appreciation for everyone, and they inspire a collaborative and collegial working, learning, and social environment.

SLU Stars are nominated by their peers to receive the award. Each nomination cycle, the SLU Stars Committee reviews nominations and selects those which best speak to the criteria of the award. The SLU Stars Committee includes:
  • Alexis Bruce-Staudt, College for Public Health & Social Justice
  • Judi Buncher, Mission & Identity
  • Peter Garvin, Department of Public Safety
  • Cathy Happa, Internal Medicine
  • Katie Hoff (Chair), Learning & Development
  • Maddie O’Connell, Learning & Development
  • Rita Stites, Pediatrics
  • Cathy Zimmer, College of Arts & Sciences
This year, Chris Collins, S.J., Assistant to the President for Mission & Identity, and Mickey Luna, Vice President for Human Resources, offered remarks. Luna expressed, “During each award cycle, the committee receives numerous nominations, which in itself is a tribute to the regard SLU colleagues have for one another. Not only do these tributes tell the story of our mission one SLU Star at a time, but they also reflect how ardently the nominators admire and support their colleagues.” Katie Hoff, SLU Stars Committee Chair, added, “it is an honor to be nominated, and an even greater honor to be chosen as a SLU Star.” Collins remarked that the Society of Jesus was built around friendship, and it is wonderful to bring together individuals from across the University community in a form of friendship as SLU Stars.

To learn more about the SLU Stars award, please click here.
The following is a summarized version of the nominations of each SLU Star:

Susan Androff, ambulatory care nurse in General Internal Medicine. The ambulatory care clinic has gone through many transitions through the years, and Susan has been a presence of strength and positivity through them all. She exudes positivity in her work and builds the morale of her fellow colleagues. She portrays leadership by patiently training new recruits, teaching them to take pride in their work while encouraging them to work diligently to serve our patients. Susan, thank you for your contagious positive attitude and commitment to serving our patients and your colleagues.

Tina Gray, director of operations for Pediatrics. Tina treats faculty and staff colleagues the same regardless of their position or their affiliation with the University. She acts not only as a manager, but also as a mentor and helps her staff solve problems and proposes ways to achieve their goals. She also offers the same kind of support and sense of community to others within the University, particularly on the Medical Campus, and to those in administrative roles in other departments such as SLUCare and the Practice Management Organization. Tina, thank you for your commitment to creating a positive work environment that allows others to thrive.

Kristin Knobloch, advanced practice registered nurse within the hospitalist section of Internal Medicine. Kristin has been integral in growing the hospitalist program at SLU. She helped pioneer the program through her ability to collaborate and innovate. She has done an immense amount of work to help other staff and faculty in the hospital understand how the hospitalist section functions; her efforts have substantially improved communication amongst the different care providers. Kristin, thank you for building relationships to help your colleagues succeed and provide excellent patient care.

Debie Lohe, director of the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning. Debie is a colleague who evokes respect from those with whom she interacts. In her work, Debie brings great intellect paired with an understanding of the perspectives of both faculty and staff who educate our students. She is a highly competent professional not only in her direct field of work, but in bridging those skills and knowledge with broad concepts of student learning that requires collaboration in support of holistic student learning. Debie, thank you for your work to help your faculty and staff colleagues best serve our students.

Carolyn Merkel, financial services associate in Student Financial Services. Carolyn demonstrates care and concern for members of the SLU community, as well as those around the area. She has to work with many different offices and departments as her position requires; she always follows through and has an excellent repertoire with everyone with whom she speaks. Carolyn focuses on improving process and procedure to help her colleagues work more easily and therefore better serve our students’ needs. Carolyn, thank you for your caring spirit for your colleagues and students in the workplace.

Blakeslee Noyes, professor in Pediatrics. Over his time at SLU, Blake has led his division and supported all the efforts of the Pediatrics department through quiet, humble service, thoughtfulness and hard work. He is known among the faculty and staff of the Department of Pediatrics and Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital for his consideration, devotion to patients, families and colleagues, and having a calm, steadying hand. Blake has demonstrated commitment to Cura Personalis by mentoring a culture of compassion at all times. Blake, thank you for your care and concern for the whole person in your daily work.

Zack Thatcher, administrative secretary in Psychology. Zack has been instrumental in making sure that the Neuroscience program runs smoothly and successfully throughout its growth over the past two years. Zack is a conscientious worker who works well with students, faculty, and co-workers, anticipating their needs and following through with all tasks that he is given. His relentless work ethic to help others manage their work and assist with problem solving has been a great asset to the entire Department of Psychology. Zack, thank you for caring about the success of our students and your faculty and staff colleagues.