Mary Harris-Robinson, an Administrative Support Assistant II in the College of Health and Human Services, was named by her co-workers recently for a rare second time as Employee of the Month.
Harris-Robinson, who joined the university in 1996 after 25 years with Union Carbide, was recognized in a special ceremony held on Friendship Walk near the University Student Union, which was renamed for the second time as Mary Harris-Robinson Lane.
President F. King Alexander praised Harris-Robinson, a Lakewood resident, for her helpfulness and positive attitude.
“Mary is willing to go the extra mile to help anyone,” he said. “She’s well-known throughout campus for her charismatic personality.”
Harris-Robinson felt honored to be selected twice as employee of the month.
“I was really shocked just to see my name on the list,” she said. “I feel one reason I’ve been recognized is that I’m the kind of person who believes in detail work. I go all the way to the last mile if I can help someone. I’m not the kind of person who quits easily.”
Harris-Robinson’s university connection goes deeper than a paycheck. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management degree from CSULB in 2002. “It was something I promised my grandmother I’d do before she passed away,” she explained. In fall 2001, she established the Hardy, Harris and Eatman Scholarship supported by her own personal bake sale from October to December and donations that have raised $1,600 each year for the past three years.
“These cookie sales fund two $400 scholarships for majors in Radiation Therapy while the balance goes to grow the scholarship fund,” she said. “I love helping other people. I grew up that way. My grandmother taught me that a successful person should always help others and to give something back.”
Harris-Robinson joined the university in February 1996 as a Clerical Assistant II in the College of Health and Human Services, where she remained until moving into her current position in 2005.
Her duties include answering the telephones, greeting visitors and directing all calls to the appropriate persons. She schedules meetings and use of the college office conference room as well as distributes incoming and outgoing mail. She maintains the office supply inventory, assists the administrative coordinator in supervising student assistants and schedules students to do daily deliveries to campus academic departments and administrative offices. She also assists students as needed with paperwork.
“I get along very well with people, I don’t care who they are, I just try to treat everyone the same,” she said. “If more people had that attitude, there might be less trouble in the world. Helping other people is my number one thing.”
Her off-campus volunteer activities include serving as an usher for Long Beach’s International City Theater, escorting athletes to the award podium and to the Olympic Village for the Special Olympics held in Culver City and participating in Orange County’s Arthritis Walk sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation.
One of the reasons Harris-Robinson enjoys her work is the staff. “It wasn’t until I met my co-workers that I was really sure I’d made the right decision to come here,” she said. “I admire them for the way they reach out to help. Plus, they seem to enjoy themselves and this campus is a beautiful place to work.”
Harris-Robinson entertains thoughts of retiring someday. When she does, she hopes to return to the poetry she first published in 1988 and to expand her writing into children’s books.
“There are lots of issues out there like discouraging smoking that I think I’d like to write about,” she said.
Harris-Robinson is glad she chose CSULB. “I’ve had an amazing time here,” she said, “and I’ve done things beyond my wildest imagination.”
Harris-Robinson received several gifts with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, four tickets to one 2007 CSULB home game of her choice, a coupon good for one free Original Tommy’s World Famous Hamburger, admission for two to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, a $10 gift certificate to Katella Deli and a coupon for one free Whopper from Burger King.