People of SU

Accolades Add Up

Written by Mike Thee

May 20, 2014

bright red and white SU umbrella on a rainy day

Controller's Office staff members Mark Schoen and Jonathan Seeber will receive this year's staff awards.

Two unassuming "numbers guys" admired by numerous colleagues are the recipients of this year's staff recognition awards. 

Mark Schoen, financial and information systems senior analyst, will receive the Excellence in Leadership Staff Award, while Jonathan Seeber, payroll analyst, will be presented with the Lee Thurber Outstanding Staff Award, which is named for the staff person who worked in the University Relations department and then as the personal secretary to former President William Sullivan, S.J. The two Controller's Office staff will be honored alongside this year's McGoldrick Fellow, Paul Holland, associate dean of the School of Law, at the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Party on May 30.

Schoen says his role, broadly speaking, is to "support institutional decision-making by maintaining the university's accounting information systems, gather and analyze data to support financial managers in performing their work and assist the university in meeting its financial reporting and compliance requirements," adding, "The job is never dull!" 

"Mark works tirelessly to resolve issues, focus on customer service, and recreate and transcribe processes left undocumented," Chief Financial Officer Connie Kanter says of Schoen. "His ingenuity, curiosity and good-natured attitude are used to solve problems posed by those at every level of the organization: the CFO, an administrative assistant, a student worker. He treats all he encounters with respect and dignity." 

"Mark Schoen is an all-around great guy," says Tammy Shadair, manager of budget and operations in the Center for Service and Community Engagement. "He is wonderfully understated, but such a joy to work with. In short, Mark gets stuff done. I never have to wonder if he'll complete a request and he's always so pleasant-you'd never know if he was having a bad day. He also goes out of his way to educate." 

Many of the colleagues who nominated Schoen for the award wrote of his calming demeanor and stabilizing presence following the sudden passing last June of David Ingham, director of accounting and information systems. 

Not surprisingly, Schoen downplays his role in what was an extraordinarily difficult time. "I'm convinced the award says much more about the Controller's Office team and the campus community than it does about me," he says. 

"Nothing can really prepare you for suddenly losing a longtime colleague like David Ingham, whose skills and knowledge of the university's financial systems were irreplaceable. The Controller's Office pulled together unlike anything in my experience. And, the patience and support we received from the campus community was something I'll never forget. The past 12 months and this award simply reinforce how deeply grateful I am to be a part of this very special community." 

The nominators were similarly effusive in their praise for Seeber, who is responsible for processing of payroll and independent contractor payments. 

"Jonathan truly embodies the mission, vision and values of the university," says Rita Lin, payroll manager. 

"What I admire most about (Jonathan) is his enthusiasm for helping others," says Joyce Cubelo, senior accounting technician in the Controller's Office. "He is always very gracious and respectful, even when he is in a challenging situation. I have not seen or heard him complain about a staff or faculty member, nor have I seen him disrespecting anyone." 

Seeber's commitment to serving others is felt on this campus and beyond. "Jonathan loves to volunteer," says Lin. "He has not only served as the Controller's Office United Way ambassador for the last five years, but also has been volunteering for the United Way of King Country as tax preparer on his own time. He lights up with enthusiasm when he shares with us how he helped several taxpayers put money into their pockets through tax refunds." 

"I'm humbled and honored to be selected for the Lee Thurber Award," says Seeber. 

SU's annual Appreciation Party for Seattle University faculty and staff is scheduled for Friday, May 30, noon-3 p.m. in the Connolly Center, North Court . All faculty and staff are invited and encouraged to attend!  All offices are authorized to close at noon to allow employees to attend the party. As an additional expression of thanks, staff employees can begin their weekends at the close of the event. Staff employees who choose not to attend the Appreciation Event are expected to work until 3 p.m.