University News

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Emeritus Sue Martinelli-Fernandez and Professor Emeritus and founding Chair of the Department of Women's Studies Polly Radosh
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Interim President Kristi Mindrup and Adria Craft, storekeeper III in Biological Sciences
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Interim President Kristi Mindrup and Pam Clark, office support specialist in Facilities Management
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Retired Academic Leaders Fund New Award Program; Inaugural Recipients Announced

May 16, 2024

Printer friendly version

A version of this article first appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Western: The Magazine for Alumni of Western Illinois University. This release has been updated with additional information.

MACOMB, IL - - College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Emeritus Sue Martinelli-Fernandez and Professor Emeritus for Sociology and founding Chair of the Department of Women's Studies Polly Radosh have recently established an award to recognize WIU's civil service employees through an endowment fund and an annual award program.

Martinelli-Fernandez, who is affectionately known as "Dean Sue," and Radosh have been friends and colleagues for many years and have frequently discussed their shared interest in recognizing the value of work performed by civil service clerical employees. Both worked in some form of clerical or staff work early in their lives. Over the years, they recognized the importance of clerical workers in the smooth functioning of the University, despite the fact that they are often the most underpaid staff in their divisions and departments.

Both Martinelli-Fernandez and Radosh have had personal and professional interests in documenting the disparities in salaries and professional opportunities in fields dominated by women as opposed to those dominated by men. Clerical work is among those traditionally female occupations consistently remunerated at a lower level of compensation than a traditionally male job. While they recognize this award does not fix that disparity, it is their way of recognizing that the work that is performed by civil service employees matters, despite the low compensation.

"The indirect leadership exerted by civil service employees, who often run departments, should be recognized and we hope this will bring attention to those who are the backbone of our departments and divisions," Radosh said.

The establishment of an annual award program signifies Radosh's and Martinelli-Fernandez's commitment to acknowledging outstanding achievement, leadership and dedication among civil service employees. The awards, each worth $500, recognize and reward exceptional service within specific departments and across the University.

"One award will be given explicitly to a CAS secretary and another to any secretary across departments," Martinelli-Fernandez said.

Establishing this award fulfills a promise Martinelli-Fernandez made to herself 30 years ago – to help those who support, encourage and engage with the University community and contribute to the success of the faculty, staff and administration.

Martinelli-Fernandez acknowledges the impact Radosh has had on her personal and professional life, emphasizing the importance of collaboration. Their shared values center around respect, improvement in the lives of others and a commitment to positive change, in this case positive recognition for civil service employees.

Both Martinelli-Fernandez and Radosh believe the award is a testament to the essential role played by office staff at Western.

"We need to continue the momentum gained, as well as recognize the need for collective action to address the wage gap," Martinelli-Fernandez said.

"We have already seen a positive impact on morale and motivation through the award initiative program," Radosh said. "Actions speak louder than words, and their initiative provides tangible support to those who are often not acknowledged."

These two strong women aren't alone in their support of WIU's clerical employees. In total, more than 50 individuals have provided financial contributions to the Martinelli-Radosh Civil Service Endowment, showcasing a wide range of support from faculty, staff, students, community members, retirees, alumni and others.

"Our hope is that this initiative stands as an inspiration to recognize, respect and support the unseen heroes of WIU: the civil service employees who play a vital role in shaping the University's success," Martinelli-Fernandez said.

The inaugural recipients of the Martinelli and Radosh Civil Service Awards for Excellence were recognized at the annual employee service recognition event in April 2024.

Adria Craft, storekeeper III in Biological Sciences, was recognized for her efforts in multiple areas of campus.

"Her role is multi-faceted and includes the storekeeping needs of the department along with plant care needs of both the department greenhouse and Malpass Library," her nominator said.

Craft's nominator also shared about her mentorship with student interns, her dedication in preparing Waggoner Hall for the incorporation of departments formerly located in Tillman Hall and her work in improving the visual appearance of Department of Biological Sciences spaces.

Pam Clark, office support specialist in Facilities Management, was recognized for her contributions to her department and her welcoming demeanor as the first point of contact when guests enter the Physical Plant. Her nominator also mentioned Clark's efforts to make all employees in Facilities Management feel included.

"An example of their generosity and overwhelming support of staff occurred right before the winter break when the department had a holiday party. Since Facilities Management runs a 24/7 operation, we have three shifts that work in rotation. She took the time to prepare a meal and deliver it to the individuals working third shift in the heating plant, so they could enjoy the festivities, as well."

Craft and Clark exemplify the attributes and qualities Martinelli-Fernandez and Radosh aimed to celebrate by establishing this new award. Moving forward, two civil service clerical employees will be honored with this award every spring.

Those wishing to support the Martinelli-Radosh endowment can make contributions online at

Posted By: Drew Donahoo (
Office of University Communications & Marketing