The Division of Student Affairs held their annual Gamsky award ceremony on Tuesday, December 10. The 2019-2020 recipient of the Neal R. Gamsky Quality of Student Life Award was presented to Pat O’Connell, facilities manager for Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality.

O’Connell has worked behind the scenes in Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality for the last 22 years, first as the manager of the Bowling and Billiards Center, and now as the facilities manager of the Bone Student Center, Braden Auditorium, Student Services Building, and the Bowling and Billiards Center. He knows every square foot of the facilities he manages, and is dedicated to making sure the buildings are properly maintained, safe, and beautiful so that our students, faculty, staff, and guests feel at home.

In addition to supervising full- and part-time staff, O’Connell has supervised a considerable number of students throughout his career at Illinois State. His decision-making is centered on students and their experiences, which is evident in his actions every day. He also served as the coach of the Illinois State bowling team for a number of years. Countless students have benefited greatly by O’Connell’s example and mentoring.

O’Connell has been instrumental in the design and construction of the Bone Student Center Revitalization. The insights gained from working with students over the years has allowed him to influence the projects in a manner that have led to more student-friendly spaces, as he continually advocates for and helps to deliver spaces that better meet the needs of current and future Redbirds. He has also freely shared his vast knowledge of the Bone Student Center and Braden Auditorium with the design team and contractors, helping to navigate complicated decisions.

O’Connell is a well-respected staff member, described by his colleagues as thoughtful, patient, and trustworthy. He is also humble, offering praise to other full-time and student staff before acknowledging his own contributions. O’Connell is known as a leader with a great attitude, strong work ethic, attention to detail, and commitment to creating a welcoming and safe environment for all. His work ethic and dedication to the University is unmatched.