Celebrating Staff

Four employees were recognized for their exceptional contributions through the College’s Distinguished Service Award and the inaugural Staff Council Kenyon Spirit Award.


A pair of awards honoring four staff members and administrators and their dedication to the campus community were announced recently.

The Distinguished Service Award — given to employees with exceptional accomplishments who provide outstanding service to students, staff and others — was presented by President Julie Kornfeld to Babette Cichanowicz, administrative coordinator in the Career Development Office, and Samantha Hughes, Civil Rights/Title IX coordinator, at the annual Years of Service recognition ceremony on May 30.

And a new honor, the Staff Council’s Spirit Award, went to Dean of Student Development Robin Hart Ruthenbeck and Groundsperson Michael Schirtzinger. They were celebrated during a Staff Council event a week earlier on May 22.

The Distinguished Service Award was established during the 1998-99 academic year and goes to one administrator and one staff member, each of whom receives $500.

Babette Cichanowicz.

Cichanowicz, who joined the College in 2013, is responsible for the Career Development Office’s newsletter and its social media content, as well as training interns, managing alumni travel for panels, and much more. 

A nominator called Cichanowicz “the glue that holds the Career Development Office together. She is professional, cares about her work, and she is kind. Students seek her out for support, not only because she is the first point of contact in our office, but because she is knowledgeable, genuine and thoughtful.”

Samantha Hughes.

Hughes has dedicated herself to Kenyon over two separate stints at the College, the most recent one beginning in 2006. She has served in a variety of roles, including area coordinator for first-year students, dean of residential life, chief student affairs conduct officer, and interim vice president for student affairs.

“She approaches every task with thoroughness and purpose, ensuring that students receive the support and resources they need to thrive at Kenyon,” a nominator said. “Whether providing a safe and inclusive residential environment, guiding students through sensitive Title IX processes, or offering compassionate support during challenging times, Samantha's impact on the Kenyon community has been profound.”

The Staff Council’s Spirit Award was created this year to recognize one exempt and one non-exempt staff member who foster community and embody the “Kenyon spirit.” 

Hart Ruthenbeck, who joined the College in 2017, oversees a multitude of projects that emphasize community and philanthropy. These include the Source, the College initiative that provides free grocery supplies, winter clothing and everyday essentials to students. Hart Ruthenbeck also created Grati-Tuesdays at Peirce Hall and partnered with staff and faculty to host several "Spilling My Tea" events in honor of Kenyon’s bicentennial.

Robin and Mike
Robin Hart Ruthenbeck and Mike Schirtzinger. Photo by JJ Jemison '13.

“Robin has a strong relationship with many of our students on campus and is well respected as an educator, peer and friend,” Kornfeld said during the presentation.

Schirtzinger started at Kenyon in 2015 and has served in a number of capacities in the grounds division of the maintenance department, providing knowledge of agronomy and agriculture that has been helpful to students, staff and faculty. In his spare time, Schirtzinger volunteers with local youth through 4-H, FFA and the Knox County Fair.

“Mike exemplifies the adage that knowledge is power, but as we all know at Kenyon knowledge is most powerful when shared,” Kornfeld said.