It was quite a relief to the Staff Excellence Award Committee members when Celeste Dietterle stepped down after three years of service . . . because now she could finally be a recipient.
To Dietterle’s great surprise, she was presented with the Staff Excellence Award for Professionalism during the State of the College address last December.
Dietterle began her life-long career at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in the School-to-Work program at Oyster River High School and now has two decades of consecutive employment under her belt. “I just got my letter announcing that I’ve completed twenty years of service,” she says with a look of wonder. Dietterle was the first person in her high school to become involved in the School-to-Work program, and served as a secretary in the morning before attending school through the afternoon. As a teenager, she was in the good company of her father and an uncle, who both worked as herdsmen at the dairy, and another uncle, who worked at the creamery in Barton Hall. After graduation, Dietterle began working full-time in the Physics Department until 1982 when she left to begin a journey into motherhood that brought her four active boys one right after the other.
During that busy time of raising her sons into young adults, Dietterle went from soccer mom to competitive player in an indoor arena that has since closed. That change enabled her to trade in her position as left wing forward for a membership with a walking club in her hometown of Newmarket, and she stays competitive by participating in half marathons as a walker. Dietterle happily returned to UNH in 1996 and joined the staff of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) when she began working with the Animal and Nutritional Sciences Department.
When her department was restructured and merged into the new Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences (MCBS) Department a few years ago, Dietterle felt fortunate to remain in Kendall Hall. “I know everyone here,” she says. “I know what they want, and I try to take care of them.” Indeed she does, as department chair Rick Cote can attest: “Celeste is a phenomenal asset to the Department and the College. Not only does she single-handedly carry out many academic administrative duties for the folks in Kendall Hall, she also is highly knowledgeable about the two accredited undergraduate programs in our department (Dietetics and Medical Laboratory Science) as well as creating and administering the department’s attractive and informative web sites that showcase our undergraduate and graduate programs. I don’t know what we’d do without her talents and positive, can-do attitude.”
Dietterle’s a natural multi-tasker in a position that demands flexibility in responding to the constantly changing needs for registration, permission slips, exam preparation, affiliation agreements for internships, and anything and everything in between. There are typically three or four students in Dietterle’s office at any one time, and she thrives on her ability to help each one of them. After all, Dietterle’s favorite part of the job is the people.
In recent years, Dietterle has become proficient in Dreamweaver and now Drupal, as part of her responsibility in managing the MCBS website. “It’s all on the job acquired knowledge,” she says, demonstrating her proficiency in adapting to change. Dietterle works at her desk, surrounded by photos of her smiling family. As a testament to how valuable her service is to the University, when her sons came closer to college age, she expressed a desire to go from hourly to becoming a permanent, benefitted employee. “In 2000, they created this job for me,” she says. “This is a great place to work – a great department. We have a lot of good support and a fantastic Chair. I love it.” With this recent Staff Excellence Award, it’s clear that Dietterle’s sentiment is returned three-fold by those who lives are improved by her presence.