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Kelleher, Medeiros receive Torchbearer Awards for extraordinary service to PC

Providence College honored two staff members for extraordinary service during its annual Torchbearer Award Ceremony, held in Aquinas Hall Lounge and sponsored by the Department of Human Resources.

This year’s recipients, nominated by their colleagues and chosen by a committee, were Catherine M. Kelleher, R.N., director of student health, and Maureen Medeiros, administrative assistant in the Department of Economics.

The awards were presented by College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80. They are given each spring to the employees who best live out the College’s mission, make extraordinary contributions to the success of their departments, and work collaboratively across campus to advance goals and initiatives. 

In addition to an inscribed plaque, recipients receive $1,000, a one-year membership to the Concannon Fitness Center, 50 free lunches in the Alumni Hall Food Court, an additional discount in the College bookstore, two season-ticket packages to the men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s hockey, or women’s hockey program, and a designated parking space near their work location.

Catherine M. Kelleher, director of student health

Kelleher, who has been employed at the College for 39 years, directs the Student Health Center, located in Bedford Hall. It serves the health needs of full-time undergraduate students from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday during the academic year, and offers Health Education & Wellness programming for the campus community.

Kelleher, who began work at PC in September 1974 as a staff nurse on the 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift, oversees a physician, two nurse practitioners, an administrative assistant, and a receptionist.

At the awards ceremony, she recalled the time in 1983 when she became a patient, having been injured while working in the health center. She rode to the emergency room accompanied by a Dominican, Rev. Thomas J. Ertle, O.P. ’51, ’82G, & ’84Hon., now the College’s assistant chaplain.

The next day, the college president, the late Very Rev. Thomas R. Peterson, O.P. ’51 & ’85Hon., called to tell her not to worry about work, that she was in his prayers, “and that I was a part of the PC family,” she said. “Family — that is a word I will never forget him saying.” 

Whenever Father Ertle is asked how’s doing, he responds, “Never been better,” Kelleher said. “I would like to echo Father Ertle’s words today and say being with all of you and receiving this award is wonderful. It’s ‘never been better!’”

Kelleher was praised for her devotion to students, her relationship with Rhode Island health professionals and hospitals, and her commitment to the College. She volunteers to serve “Midnight Breakfast” to students in Raymond Dining Hall during final exams. She hasn’t missed a men’s basketball game since the Dunkin’ Donuts Center opened in 1972, and attends women’s games as well.

Kelleher said her interaction with students “is the highlight of my day.” 

Kelleher is a resident of Narragansett, R.I. Her daughter, Courtney Kelleher Dubois ’01 & ’03G, is a third-generation PC alum, and her son, Michael, is the original “Friar fanatic,” she said. She has two grandchildren. 

Maureen Medeiros, administrative assistant, Department of Economics

Medeiros began working in the Department of Economics in February 2006 following a career in retail customer service management. Her office is in Sullivan Hall.

Medeiros was praised as the department’s “go-to” person who is passionate about her work and dedicated to her co-workers and students. She prepares faculty schedules, types exams, books interviews for new faculty, and proctors classes when asked. She also booked speakers for the honors society banquet.

Students say they rely on her help to decipher their schedules and course requirements and to figure out how to overenroll for classes. 

When the Department of Economics lost two long-time faculty members in the last several years, Medeiros assisted their grieving families in collecting their personal and professional belongings with “compassion and grace,” her nomination letter said.

Medeiros said students are the best part of her job.

“I love the interaction with the students,” she said. “I also have student workers here with me, and it’s always fun to have them for four years. That’s what it’s all about, the students, just being here to help them with the transition of learning and growing and being away from home, and that’s my goal every day when I’m here.”

Medeiros, who lives in Rumford, R.I., said she is frequently on campus in her free time to watch basketball, lacrosse, and soccer with her sons. The oldest, Kyle Medeiros ’17, has just completed his freshman year at PC, while the youngest, Zachary, is 14. Medeiros and her husband, John, have been married for 27 years.

“I love working here,” said Medeiros. “The campus is beautiful, the people are fantastic. I don’t mean to sound gushy, but I love my job. It’s a fun place to come to.”


— Vicki-Ann Downing

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