Colleen Ryan, a member of the university since 1999, was recognized recently as employee of the month by her peers in the College of the Arts (COTA). A special ceremony was held on Friendship Walk near the University Student Union, which was renamed Colleen Ryan Lane for the month.
President F. King Alexander cheered Ryan’s selection and praised her unfailingly professional attitude and extraordinary help in seeing that both on- and off-campus individuals and organizations have pleasant and successful events on campus. “She is practically a perfect staff member,” he said.
Ryan was honored to be named employee of the month. “That’s especially true because the staff of the College of the Arts is so dedicated, loyal, highly trained and professional,” she said. “So to be singled out is quite an honor.”
Ryan’s campus connection goes beyond the elementary teaching credential she recently received from CSULB. She was encouraged to apply for a position at CSULB by her mother, Anne Bykerk-Plante, an administrative coordinator for Professional Studies and a 30-year member of the university, and by her aunt Maureen Bykerk, an instructional support technician in the Nursing Department for 22 years. Her 3-year-old son Jack attends the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences’ child care center.
Ryan comes to CSULB from a career at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. “One of the things I’m proudest of since joining the university is being part of the college’s growth,” she said. Her responsibilities as facilities manager include managing both the Gerald R. Daniel Recital Hall and the University Theatre.
“The theaters I manage used to have a number of dark days but now they are almost never dark,” she explained. “The University Theatre is used as a lecture hall every day during the week and has seen increased use from student events such as guest lectures, panel discussions and talent shows. Community groups also use the space for events. The Daniel hosts more than 200 events every year. This is all very challenging and exciting.”
She also serves as the liaison between the College of the Arts and Physical Planning / Facilities Management to deal with construction and maintenance projects. She points with pride to her participation in the recent Art Department renovation. “I did all the equipment ordering and attended my share of construction meetings,” she said. “I worked closely with former Art Department Chair Jay Kvapil, who was tireless during the project. I learned a lot about the construction process.”
When she isn’t busy on campus, Ryan is involved with the Arthritis Foundation as a response to her 8-year-old daughter Caitlin’s diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She recently served as co-chair of the Orange County Arthritis Walk that sought as its goal $187,000 for arthritis research and to fund a camp for kids.
“It was a fantastic choice to join CSULB,” she said. “This is a great community and I have received endless support from the people I work with. It’s great to stay in touch with academia and with the students, the faculty and all their creativity.”
Ryan received several gifts along with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a Sunday brunch for two on the Queen Mary, two admissions to Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts, a $10 gift certificate to Dale’s Diner, one full-service diamond finish car wash at the Circle Marina Hand Car Wash and a coupon for a free Whopper from Burger King.