Deborah Smith - 2007 Recipient

Deborah Smith

“Heart and soul.”

“Unfailing excellence.”

“Contagious enthusiasm.”

These are just some of the words friends and colleagues use to describe Deborah Smith. With the Department of French Studies for more than 30 years, Smith’s “magic touch” has touched many lives.

French Studies Chair Jeff Tennant says Smith’s impeccable organization and keen analytical skills are sincerely appreciated in the department. However, it’s her human side that really makes her an outstanding staff member.

“She is always there for people, to give a listening ear when they have problems, be they work-related or personal,” says Tenant. “You have her full attention when you enter her office.”

Part-time instructor Sherri Clendinning agrees. It was Smith, she feels, who got her and other graduate students through to the end of their schooling.

“She was our anchor when we felt overwhelmed by the struggles and obstacles,” says Clendinning. “She makes each person she comes in contact with feel important and that they matter.”

Smith was deeply touched by the nomination and honoured to be chosen.

“For me, this award is confirmation that I have succeeded with my goal: each and every day I set out to do the best job that I can and I try to make everyone's life a bit easier,” says Smith. “My focus is always to treat people the way that I would like to be treated. It's pretty easy, actually.”

Smith is quick to turn the award back on the Department of French Studies.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen, but I feel that this award should be shared with my co-workers and chair of our department,” she says, adding she couldn’t imagine working elsewhere. “It takes a team to make everything work and that is what we have in our department.”

 by Paul Mayne                                   

 Western News