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University Honors Three as This Year's Outstanding Staffers
Schutte, Arthur, and Aboud

2006 Outstanding Staff Employee Awards recipients are, from left, Jessica Schutte, assistant director of financial aid; Catherine Arthur, information technology consultant in telephone services; and Mary Aboud, administrative analyst specialist in kinesiology.

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Cal State Fullerton recently recognized the dedicated service of three staff members who were named this year's recipients of the Outstanding Staff Employee Awards.

June 22, 2006
by Pamela McLaren

Three shining examples of dedication, purpose and service were recognized this month as the 2006 recipients of Cal State Fullerton’s Outstanding Staff Employee Award.

“All three of our honorees receiving the prestigious Outstanding Staff Employee Award have truly exhibited extraordinary performance,” said President Milton A. Gordon in announcing the names of Anaheim resident Mary Aboud, administrative analyst specialist in the Kinesiology Department; Santa Ana resident Catherine Arthur, information technology consultant in Telephone Services; and Diamond Bar resident Jessica Schutte, assistant director of financial aid.

Each was introduced during the university’s annual Staff Recognition and Appreciation Day event.

“It has been noted about this person that she treats each student as she would her own son or daughter,” said Gordon of Schutte, a member of the campus staff for about 16 years. She takes great personal interest in student success, and her calendar “is filled with the names and phone numbers of students whom she has assisted in the past and now continues to check in on to ensure that they are successful at Cal State Fullerton.”

“She could have won this award for several years,” said Ann Sciotino, associate director of financial aid, who nominated Schutte. “She’s just a gem overall.”

“I’ve often thought if one looked up the definition of ‘creativity’ in the dictionary, Jessica’s picture would be there,” said Sciotino. “For example, she recently presented a session on ‘satisfactory academic progress’ to a group of 30 Summer Bridge students. Jessica took what could have been a boring lecture and turned it into almost a game. … These incoming freshmen came away with a clear understanding of how to protect their financial aid and academic standing throughout their time at Cal State Fullerton. 

“Jessica has a unique ability to inspire cooperation and commitment while infusing the workplace with a spirit of fun. She leads by example, never shying away from difficult tasks and pitching in to ensure departmental goals and standards are met,” Sciotino added.

“Jessica treats each client as a unique individual. She sees the person behind the paperwork and hears the questions that aren’t asked,” Sciotino noted. “She invests herself in each student’s success and goes the extra mile on a daily, even hourly basis. … Jessica represents the best of what Cal State Fullerton offers.”

In 30 years of service to Cal State Fullerton, Catherine Arthur has built a solid reputation for accuracy, attention to detail, persistence and ability to make significant improvements to campus processes and technology. “This person is a real problem-solver,” said Gordon, citing instances in which Arthur has consolidated paperwork to improve understanding, and identified unused equipment and telephone lines to save the campus money.

“As the telephone systems at the Irvine Campus were being installed, she took it upon herself to check each unit there, feature by feature, to ensure that it was fully operable for fellow employees,” he noted. “As the project leader for the new campus voicemail system, she created team standards and personally spent time testing and retesting systems to ensure that a new unified messaging platform would be successful.”

Beyond her efforts on behalf of fellow campus members, Arthur also is known for her endeavors to ensure greater coordination with vendors in other areas of the country and outside the United States.

The Cal State Fullerton alumna (B.A. history and German ’74) recently insisted on tracking down a 32-cent error so that she could balance the university’s more than $20,000 billing statement and to ensure that the university has a reliable and accurate billing system.

“Cathy sees a need and she fills it,” said Jeni Cansler, supervisor of telephone services. “It’s just a part of her personality to see how something can be done better or more efficiently. We’re so lucky that she is a part of the telephone services team.”

Like her fellow honorees, Mary Aboud also is known “for her efficient work style, ability to head off problems and for coming to work with new ideas about improving her department,” said Gordon. When her department launched a new graduate program in 2004, the university alumna (M.A. sociology ’02) “set up the entire admissions component, made improvements to the graduate admissions process, handled all the program correspondence, compiled the program handbook, and evaluated and implemented course recommendations.”

Supportive of her fellow staff members, the 12-year campus veteran took on additional responsibilities when two co-workers were on maternity leave. In addition, Gordon noted, she developed “an innovative e-mail questionnaire for graduates about their experiences at Cal State Fullerton that is being used for feedback within the department and as a tool for educating new graduate students.

“Mary consistently thinks of the needs of the departments and the university, and has a priority to do what is right for the ‘good of the university,’” said Aboud’s nominator Kathleen R. Koser, chair and associate professor of kinesiology.

“She is strategic in finding a way to get the ‘most’ for the ‘least’ cost,” Koser noted. “No matter what the request or timeline, Mary researches the answers and forwards me information to make informed decisions.

“We have developed a wonderful working relationship, and Mary is appreciated by all for the many contributions both large and small she has made throughout her nine years in our department,” Koser added. “She is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever worked with.”

Beyond her campus efforts, Aboud has served with the WISE Place, a shelter for abused women, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Cancer Society.

The Outstanding Staff Employee Award is funded by the Presidents Associates. Each recipient receives a check for $1,500, season tickets to CSUF College of the Arts productions and sporting events, plus a special parking permit good for one year

Media Contact:

Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs at 657-278-4852 or


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Aboud and Gordon
Mary Aboud with CSUF President Milton A. Gordon

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Arthur and Gordon
Catherine Artur with CSUF President Milton A. Gordon

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Schutte and Gordon
Jessica Schutte with CSUF President Milton A. Gordon

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