Junius Atkins Jr. of Riverhead has received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Suffolk County Community College announced yesterday.

The Riverhead resident began work at the college’s eastern campus when the campus opened 37 years ago.

He was recognized at a college ceremony on Nov. 7.

“Mr. Atkins is the ideal case study of a hands-on leader who has worked his way up the ranks to assume a supervisory role in which he is unafraid to model the hard work and physical labor that goes along with a custodial career path,” said SCCC former director of plant operations Nicholas Palumbo.

Atkins, Palumbo said, is “constantly attuned and open to new trends in what is generally considered a field with little innovation. Junius has refined and enhanced his department’s function through the use of a computerized work order system, incorporated microfiber cleaning tools, adopted green cleaning products, championed digital communications equipment for all departmental staff, and embraced the use of zero emissions vehicles for campus transport.”

In his nominating letter Palumbo summed up Atkins like this:

“Finding a single person who is willing to say one negative thing about Junie is on par in futility with keeping the green pine tree pollen out of the Shinnecock Building in May. As for myself, I have but one complaint: That is the knowledge that at some point well before I am retirement eligible, he will walk into my office with his impossibly shiny black boots, hand me a crisply typed retirement announcement, and jump into his immaculate Mustang coupe never to be seen again. Before that day comes, I would like the honor of recommending him for an award that is not only well deserved, but long overdue.“

Atkins is one of five SCCC faculty and staff members to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for superior professional achievement.

“The individuals selected for this honor are role models within the college and the SUNY community,” Suffolk County Community College president Dr. Shaun McKay said.

The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are System-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence. These programs underscore SUNY’s commitment to sustaining intellectual vibrancy, advancing the boundaries of knowledge, providing the highest quality of instruction, and serving the public good. Through these awards, SUNY publicly proclaims its pride in the accomplishment and personal dedication of its instructional faculty, librarians and professional staff across its campuses.

Suffolk’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence recipients are:

Faculty Service
Amy Czura, Associate Professor of Biology

Professional Service
Drew Fawcett, College Associate Dean of Institutional Advancement
Christopher Gherardi, College Associate Dean of Faculty and Professional Advancement

Scholarship and Creative Activities
Dan Gilhooley, Professor of Visual Arts

Classified Service
Junius Atkins, Custodial Worker III


Source: Suffolk County Community College press release issued Nov. 11, 2014.

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