2023 in review: McMaster staff reflect on proud moments  

Dylantha Fernando standing in front of a window on campus with greenery on the other side of it

We asked some staff members — the unsung heroes of McMaster — about their proudest moments of 2023. Spoiler alert: it’s the people. 

As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s time to look back and celebrate the wins, the lessons learned, the kindness, care and impact of the people at McMaster.

McMaster staff are often the unsung heroes of the university and a driving force behind its collective success. They keep everything running smoothly— many of them even working during the holiday closure.

We asked some staff members about their proudest moments of 2023. Spoiler alert: it’s the people.

Dylantha Fernando, Senior Development Officer, University Advancement  

Circle headshot of Dylantha Fernando

I take pride in working at McMaster. Each day brings the privilege of connecting with alumni, community members, and donors who share a deep bond with our university. Collaborating with the brilliant minds in the Faculty of Health Sciences and our University Advancement team, we help alleviate financial barriers for students, fund groundbreaking research, and further establish McMaster as a global leader.

Sophia Holness, Associate Director, Digital Student Experience

circular headshot of Sophia HolnessThe University Technology Services (UTS), Campus Relationship Management (CRM) Digital Transformation Project team continues to amaze me with their commitment to providing outstanding service to internal partners using the CRM. The team successfully launched the Current Student CRM – a new application aimed at delivering a more holistic online student experience. This year, they continued to make improvements to all CRM applications through data transfers, administrative workflows, and the MacHub student portal, to name a few.

Dean Mougenot, Manager, Parking Services

Circular headshot of Tony Zotti
Tony Zotti

Tony Zotti, a part-time Parking Control Officer, (pictured left) is someone who stands out to me. He is a role model for others through the kindness and care he takes in helping the community get to where they’re going safely in our parking lots. He’s even won the heart of some of our smallest community members, a McMaster Childcare Centre child, who’s made it a requirement at his pick-up and drop-off to greet his friend Tony with a wave and high-five through the car window. A highlight I’m sure for both of them

Melanie Hayter, Senior Manager, Campus Safety 

circular headshot of Melanie HayterI’m most proud of our leadership and the entire department’s work this year, as we strive to take a more proactive role to safety within our campus community. Our Officers actively worked on this by conducting Welcome Week Rep and Community Advisor training, participating in human rights and anti-racism in policing training with the Equity & Inclusion Office, and by speaking to international students about safety in our community.

Ayo Osinowo, Employment Equity Specialist, Workplace and Talent Initiatives

circular headshot of Ayo-OsinowoA lot of the work undertaken this year required a significant amount of collaboration with a broad range of partners across the McMaster community. And so, it was very fulfilling to be able to foster a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, truly feel heard, and then have the privilege to use the insights gained from these discussions to influence and inform policies, practices, and programs.

Chef Randal Patriquin 

circular headshot of Randal PatriquinHospitality Services was recently awarded the Employer Partner of The Year recognition from the Immigrants Working Centre (IWC), for hiring and supporting over 30 new immigrants at Centro. It’s wonderful to see these employees continue to develop, improve their English language, and build confidence to converse on a regular basis. Most of the employees placed through IWC have left their countries under difficult circumstances, yet they are so positive and determined to succeed. I am thankful to be able to work with them. They are truly inspiring!

Marc St-Jean, Projects Director, Facility Services, Design and Construction

circular headshot of marc st. jeanI’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Susan Millman, Construction Contracts Administrator, for many years now, who works tirelessly to support Design and Construction. I am thrilled to see Susan advancing her career at McMaster. I am also proud of the incredible team involved in the recent construction of the McLean Centre for Collaborative Discovery (MCCD), a state-of-the-art, 10 story LEED Gold expansion for the DeGroote School of Business. This new facility will connect students in interconnected learning hubs to collaborate in real world, problem-based discovery.

Thank you to those who took a leap this year, supported and cared for another, kept the lights on, innovated or created something memorable.

As you reminisce on the challenges, strengths, and moments from this year, what are you most proud of?

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