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Week of December 12, 2011

U-M Service Awards honor staff for their commitment

Each year, the university honors close to 1,300 staff members reaching milestones of 10 years of service or more through the Service Award Program.

In the fall, the university hosted two banquets at the Michigan League to honor staff who have made an enduring commitment of 30, 40, 45 and 50 years of service to U-M. On Oct. 10 a banquet honored staff from the U-M Health System (UMHS). A week later, a banquet was held honoring staff from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. 

The following are profiles of U-M employees honored for 45 years of service. For a complete list of all staff recognized for service milestones, go to

45 years of service

Martha Moon, facilities manager, Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences, College of Engineering

Martha “Marti” Moon has worked in the same department at U-M since she first started on Sept. 12, 1965. Hired in the College of Engineering as a clerk, or “gal Friday” as they were commonly referred to at that time, Moon assisted with all office operations. Today as facility manager, Moon says she feels privileged to be in her 45th year at the university. “I have been given the privilege of nurturing and mentoring students that were the same age as I was when I started. I have seen them go on to make their mark in the world,” Moon says.

Born in Mount Erie, Penn., Moon moved to Michigan at the age of 7. She grew up in the Ypsilanti area, attended Ann Arbor schools and met and married her late husband here. When he was drafted to the Vietnam War in 1965, the young couple was forced to rearrange some of the plans they’d made. Moon went from being a wife that didn’t have to work, to needing to find a job to help support her new family while her husband was away at war. That’s how she came to the university.

When she’s not at work, Moon enjoys spending time with her eight grandchildren, gardening, volunteering at her church’s soup kitchen and singing.

After working at the university for a few more years, she says she plans on making her passion to serve the community her full-time job.

Linda Branch, retired financial specialist associate, Patient Accounts, UMHS

Recent U-M retiree Linda Branch enjoyed working at the university for 45 years because of its excellent benefits, work environment and her coworkers. “It’s been a great run. I met great people here and made lots of friends. It’s just a great place to work,” Branch says.

After relocating to Michigan with her family, the Mississippi native was hired in a university lab two days after her 18th birthday. Branch worked in the lab for nine months before she was transferred to Patient Accounts, where she remained until her retirement this year.

Branch witnessed many changes take place during her time at the university. One that she feels she played a small part in implementing was a more relaxed dress code for female employees.

When she first started working at the university, female employees weren’t allowed to wear pants to work. Many of them found it difficult to do the necessary bending, moving and lifting that took place when filing documents in skirts and dresses. Branch was a part of a group of women that decided to rebel and wear them to work one Friday. Soon after, the university allowed women to wear pants to work regularly.

Now in retirement, Branch plans to continue being involved with her church, to travel the world and to enjoy her favorite hobbies, which are bowling and roller skating.

Elaine Jordan, Information Resources Technical Specialist, Hatcher Graduate Library

Elaine Jordan applied immediately when she saw a position opening at the Hatcher Library advertised in the Ann Arbor News. This position stood out to Jordan because just a few years before she was a member of her high school’s Future Librarians Club.

Forty-five years later, Jordan still enjoys working in U-M’s Hatcher Library.

“My daily library work is interesting and challenging. The opportunity to work on many library committees in the past was rewarding, especially working on the library diversity efforts,” Jordan says. She is proud of the advancement in diversity she has witnessed the university as a whole make over the decades.

In addition to working on numerous library initiatives during her U-M career, Jordan was a member of the Women of Color Task Force. In 1992 she received the award known today as the Beulah Sanders Stafford Leadership Award for her outstanding service in leadership.

Jordan credits her longevity at the university to memorable colleagues she’s worked with along the way who have made her experience here enjoyable.

Her favorite hobbies include reading, watching movies, knitting and working on crossword puzzles. She looks forward to having more time to do those activities and to spend with her grandchildren after retirement.

Janice Arcuri-Otis, administrative assistant, Nursing Services, UMHS

Jackie Arcuri-Otis began her U-M career 45 years ago in Department of Physics. A well-versed university employee, Arcuri-Otis has had the opportunity to work in multiple departments on campus and in the health system. “I’ve enjoyed working for everyone that I’ve supported. It’s nice to be able to work with people on both (campus and in the hospital),” Arcuri-Otis says.

Arcuri-Otis has witnessed first-hand the gradual transformation of U-M’s campus, hospital and Ann Arbor’s downtown area in general, since she started working here in the ’60s. She has seen buildings added and removed, the relocation of departments, the old hospital demolished and the development of many infamous one-way Ann Arbor streets.

An Oklahoma native, Arcuri-Otis relocated to Michigan with her family at the age of 5. She grew up in Ypsilanti and still enjoys spending time with friends in the city’s historic Depot Town.

Arcuri-Otis has no plans of slowing down after retiring in the near future. She will volunteer at the hospital, spend more time with family, especially on the farm they own in Stockbridge and do more reading, traveling, solving Sudoku puzzles and making crafts with her church’s volunteer group, Stitches of Love. She also plans to remain physically active and fit. She currently enjoys jogging and walking with coworkers and friends and participating in MHealthy’s Active U program.

Connie Dickerson, information resources assistant senior, Law Library

Connie Dickerson began working part-time in the U-M Law Library just three weeks after graduating from high school. Now a full-time employee, Dickerson has been working in the library for 45 years. Along with her interesting job duties in the catalogue department and friendships she’s developed with coworkers over the years, she credits her longevity to the university’s accepting and accommodating environment.

Dickerson has seen many changes made to the campus and surrounding areas since she began working here in 1966. “When I first started here, Briarwood (mall) was not there. It was farmland,” she says. On campus, she is looking forward to the future renovation of the Law School, expected to be completed by 2013.

Dickerson commutes to Ann Arbor from her hometown of Bellville, where she lives in the house that she and her seven siblings grew up in.

She is a big U-M football fan and enjoys attending games regularly during the season. Other hobbies include attending hot air balloon shows, collecting any item that sparks her interest and spending time with family; relaxing and sightseeing with a sister who lives in northern Michigan; and spending time with her nieces and nephews (some grand) that live in the area.

Karen Samford, administrative specialist, Information and Technology Services

Karen Samford began her 45-year U-M career in Laundry Services, where she did billing, payroll and purchasing for the department. She then transferred to U-M Tel, the university’s first independent phone system. Today, she works in the ITS Comm department. She enjoys the work she does there because each task often requires her to delve deeper into other areas and assignments.

While the positions and departments Samford have worked in are very different, she believes they all have two things in common — great coworkers and management. “I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve worked with. I’ve had some very good bosses, which is part of why I’m not in a hurry to retire,” Samford says.

Technology at the university has advanced greatly since Samford started working here in the ’60s. Of the many changes she’s had to adjust to, switching from typewriters to computers has been the most welcomed.

Outside of work, Samford hosts new member classes at her church, Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor. She enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her 4-year-old grandson and visiting her mother, a U-M retiree, who lives in Samford’s hometown of Saline.



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