Stuart beams when Benedictine puts on its best face for visitors
March 25, 2009
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Among the first things that many visitors to Benedictine University notice is the lush landscaping, the cleanliness of the campus and the impeccable condition of the University’s many buildings.
What they do not see is the dedication and labor that go into maintaining the University’s 109-year-old, 108-acre campus.
“With an old and historic campus comes old and historic buildings,” said Jay L. Stuart, director of Campus Services at Benedictine University. “Dealing with infrastructure and equipment problems or repairing a leak in a tunnel may not be exciting to people. People may feel hot or cold air, but they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes to provide adequate temperatures.”
The work that goes into keeping Benedictine University functional and friendly is the realm of Stuart, whose dedication to his profession and the Benedictine campus has not gone unnoticed. Stuart was recently named the recipient of the Benedictine Life Award, the highest honor the University can bestow upon an employee or community member.
“It’s important to me that Benedictine makes a good first impression with our visitors,” Stuart said. “Whether that means ensuring that the grass is well manicured, the flower beds look pretty, the snow is cleared in the winter…before a visitor even reaches their destination they can already tell what kind of institution this is.
“That is a complete reflection on our team and the University as a whole,” Stuart said.
Stuart has been with Sodexo, Benedictine’s campus services provider, since 1991. He joined the Benedictine community as custodial manager in May 1997. Four years later, he was named director of Campus Services. He oversees more than 50 employees who are involved in areas including custodial, grounds keeping, maintenance, construction and renovation.
The Benedictine Life Award is presented to the employee who has fostered the spirit of community among employees, who has demonstrated the Benedictine qualities of life by helping to create a warm and hospitable atmosphere in the work world, and who has demonstrated the balanced spirit of prayer, work and creative leisure in his or her own life.
“Every day, Jay exhibits a caring heart, an ability to listen to the needs of others and a true appreciation of living and working in community,” said Charles Gregory, executive vice president of Benedictine University. “He goes out of his way to assist students, faculty and staff when any are in need of his or his department’s services.
“That is not to say his job is secondary,” Gregory added. “If his department does not perform, we certainly would not function as the institution we presently enjoy. But whether coming to campus at 2:30 a.m. to address a problem or shoveling snow at 4:00 a.m., he exemplifies the Benedictine values with care and compassion.”
Stuart lives in Plainfield with his wife and three sons.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education
recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes
magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business
as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.