Center for Excellence Honoree: Cherie Finoia

Cherie FinoiaCherie Finoia does more than keep her floor clean and bright, she also brings smiles to the faces of everyone she encounters.

Finoia, a mother of two current Quinnipiac students and a member of the facilities staff, has been recognized for her efforts with the university's most prestigious staff honor, the Excellence in Service to Students Award. She was honored at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students Awards Ceremony on Oct. 14 in the Recreation Center on the Mount Carmel Campus.

"If every single faculty and staff member had a little bit of what Cherie has in terms of passion, dedication and genuine concern for the students, then Quinnipiac would have something no other institution in the country could come close to," said Benjamin Wald, a Quinnipiac student who nominated Finoia. "Cherie always has a smile on her face and a warm, open heart. She dedicates so much of her time to bettering the environment that both staff and student leaders work in every day."

Finoia, who has worked at the university for seven years, maintains the second floor of the Carl Hansen Student Center.

"It doesn't matter if she has been scrubbing the floors for seven hours, she wants to make sure the students have everything they need and are comfortable," Wald said. "Every single day I am greeted with a broad smile. I feel like I am at home. You can't put a price on that."

The recognition is long overdue, Wald said. "Cherie is much more than a facilities staff member," he said. "In one short day, I have seen her act in the numerous roles she makes herself available as: A cheerleader, a friend, a mom and an advocate."

Matthew Mancini, a recent nursing graduate, said Finoia was one of his first real friends at Quinnipiac. "I still can recall my first encounter with her when I was a freshman," he wrote in his nomination letter. "Being a commuter, I did not have as many friends around campus as most other students, and so I spent a good deal of time in the lounge of the second floor of the student center."

Mancini said Finoia recognized him after several visits and introduced herself with a warm smile. "Since then, I have become friendlier with Cherie and have looked forward to seeing her every day that I come on campus for classes," he wrote. "No matter what Cherie is doing, she always stops to say, 'hello,' and ask how my classes are going, and, of course, to wish me luck on my exams."

Mancini said he would often joke around with Finoia about how she knows the name of everyone who passes through her work area. She, however, deflected this praise, saying it was just part of her job.

"It has been my experience that Cherie goes above and beyond her position as a custodian each and every day," Mancini said. "When Cherie arrives at her job every morning, she does so with a spirit of enthusiasm and energy which is contagious to the students and faculty who she continuously greets."

However, Finoia said the pleasure is hers. "Seeing all of these friendly faces just brightens my day," she said. "My job is so enjoyable. I get to see all of these wonderful people every day."

Christina Finoia said news of her mom's recognition filled her with joy.

"My mother being nominated for this award meant the world to her and I'm glad that people have begun to appreciate her just as my family has," said sophomore Christina Finoia. "When I go to visit her on the second floor of the student center, there are countless students that stop to say, 'hi.' The relationships that she has formed with the students have meant so much to her. She does not leave her work at school when she clocks out at 2:30 each afternoon, she brings home stories and always has something nice to say about the students and staff."

Wald said Finoia is a unique and special part of the University community.

"She cares," he said. "And that's the most important part about her. She doesn't have the most glamorous job in the world, but she still shines as the most glamorous person in the world."

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