As her length of service was announced, the crowd of faculty and staff inside 1 Constitution Wharf’s conference room rose to its feet in thunderous applause. It was Ether Day, the annual opportunity to recognize and thank employees for their years of service. On this day, the longest serving employee was the day’s last - the School of Nursing’s Patrice Nicholas, who has spent 45 years within the MGB system.
As she sauntered to the stage during yesterday’s ceremony, waiting there was President Paula Milone-Nuzzo, who gave Nicholas an appreciative hug and a bouquet of flowers. Tears were shed by Nicholas, who seemed amazed at the good fortune she has experienced, especially during the 30 years she has spent at the IHP.
“I made a whole career here and never got bored,” said Nicholas. “The Institute has grown but it still has a small school feel to it. You feel as if you know people, and even if you are just meeting them for the first time, you feel as if you know people. That is special.”
Ether Day honors employees for every five years they have worked within the MGB system; this year, 52 employees were celebrated, making it the IHP’s largest Ether Day in the school’s history. Ether Day falls on the anniversary of the first public surgery using the flammable liquid, ether, as an anesthetic at Mass General Hospital.
“As a group, you have seen many changes in your time here, even in the past five years,” President Milone-Nuzzo told the celebrants, of which she was one having recently reached the five-year mark. “But through them all, you have remained dedicated to our mission. You are a very special part of this organization’s history. You’ve helped us face change, maintain our graduate student focus, advance our educational programs, and prepare tomorrow’s health care leaders.”
While Nicholas claims the longest tenure within the MGB system, the longest tenure at the IHP is claimed by Val Grande, User Account Administrator in Information Technology who has been with the IHP for 35 years.
“I’ve been here for so long because the Institute is a super dynamic place and it’s always changing,” says Grande, who has also worked in the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy and the Graduate Program in Nursing. “When I started it was a sleepy little school with just a couple of hundred students and it has changed every year dramatically since then. It’s grown and it’s always been great place to work with great people here.”
Lesley Maxwell, Associate Chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Charles Haynes, Professor with Communication Sciences and Disorders, each celebrated 30 years; both remember sharing a small office together as they began their IHP careers.
“What keeps me here is the students,” says Maxwell. “The students teach us as much as we teach them, and I know it sounds trite, but they really have changed our lives and made them better.”
“We’ve introduced some impactful changes that have been felt across the U.S. and internationally as well,” says Haynes. “The dedication to respecting diversity is something that we still are working at but the progress we have made has been a big change. It’s a healthy place for people to be.”
To Jack Gormley, the IHP has been the place to be.
“It’s been the best 5 years of my career,” said the Dean of Student Services. “It’s been my favorite place to work by far. The students make it so fabulous. They are so focused. They are so committed. Some know they are not going to make a lot of money, but that’s not what is important to them. They are here to make a difference in healthcare, so I get to be a small part of that.”
Rebecca Hill recounted how she has given birth to three children during her decade here.
“It’s gone by in a blink of an eye,” said the Associate Dean for the School of Nursing. “It’s been a nice work life balance to be here and to see the growth that has happened since I started 10 years ago has been amazing. It’s nice to see lots of familiar faces that are still here 10 years later but also welcoming new faces too. I love it here.”
So does Teresa Kimberley, Director of the Brain Recovery Lab, who has been here for five years.
“The continued opportunities to make an impact in rehabilitative sciences is one reason I love it here, but really it’s the amazing people who make it a joy to come to work every day.”
Throughout the ceremony, Associate Vice President of Human Resources Sarah Welch reminded those in attendance of the music, movies, TV shows, news and facts, and cost of gas during each of the five-year milestones, along with important IHP milestones. In 2017, it was the New England Patriots mounting the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history over the Atlanta Falcons, and the launch of the IMPACT Practice Center. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck and the IHP moved into its fourth building (2CW). Fifteen years ago, Apple introduced its first iPhone while Janis Bellack was named the IHP’s fifth president. Twenty years ago, the Patriots’ won their first Super Bowl, gas cost just $1.36, and the IHP’s endowment exceeded $20 million. The first Harry Potter book was introduced 25 years ago while the Physical Therapy and Communication Science Disorders programs received accreditation. The year 1992 was the last time the Summer and Winter Olympic Games were held the same year and when the IHP moved into 101 Merrimac Street. Thirty-five years ago, the “This is Your Brain on Drugs” commercial was launched, and the IHP had an enrollment of 254 students. And in 1977, the TV show, “The Love Boat” launched, and so did the IHP when MGH was awarded degree-granting authority.
Seeing it all has been Nicholas, who is grateful for her journey so far.
“The IHP is the most stimulating environment that I could imagine. And you can continue our own education as you educate the next generation. I love the IHP.”
Judging by the longevity and dedication on display at Ether Day, she’s not alone.
Ether Day Recipients 2022
Rawan AlHeresh, Occupational Therapy; Deborah Altsher, Enrollment Services; Jessica Asiello, Occupational Therapy; Meaghan Clapp, Physician Assistant Studies; Mary Beth Coughlin, School of Nursing; Bill Elizondo, Information Technology; Annie Fox-Galalis, School of Healthcare Leadership; Sarah Friel, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Shweta Gore, Physical Therapy; John Gormley, Student Affairs and Services; Klint Kairanna, Enrollment Services; Julie Keysor, Physical Therapy; Teresa Kimberley, Physical Therapy; Sarah Kolodenker, School of Nursing; Emilie Larrivee, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Chris Lim, Physician Assistant Studies; Paula Milone-Nuzzo, Office of the President; Hien Nguyen, Information Technology; Tina Phan, Occupational Therapy; Brian Reis, Human Resources; Jessica Upton, Student Affairs and Services; Amanda Worek, Communications Sciences and Disorders.
Peter Cahn, Provost Office; Elizabeth Cornforth, Physical Therapy; Linda Evans, Continuing Professional Development; Lynn Foord, Health Professions Education; Jordan Green, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Letitia Harris, Finance; Rebecca Hill, School of Nursing; Tiffany Hogan, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Rita Olans, School of Nursing; Sofia Rohter, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Margaret Sipe, School of Nursing; John Wong, School of Nursing.
Doug Gross, Physical Therapy; Antonia Makosky, School of Nursing; Laura Stengle, Enrollment Services; Lauryn Zipse, Communications Sciences and Disorders.
Donna Applebaum, Physical Therapy; Elena Deocampo, Physical Therapy; Gayun Chan-Smutko, Genetic Counseling; Melissa Feller, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Keshrie Naidoo, Physical Therapy
Jennifer Duran, School of Nursing; Anne McCarthy Jacobson, Physical Therapy; Marjorie Nicholas, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Laura Plummer, Physical Therapy.
Charles Haynes, Communications Sciences and Disorders; Lesley Maxwell, Communications Sciences and Disorders.
Jean Bernhardt, School of Nursing; Valerie Grande, Information Technology
Patrice Nicholas, School of Nursing.
NOTE: For some employees, their years of service represents combined IHP/MGH/MGB experience.
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