MSU Division of Public Health is proud to announce Linda Cornish as one of the recipients of the 2022 Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award. “I could not think of a more dedicated staff member deserving of this very important Jack Breslin award,” said Wayne McCullough, PhD, interim director of the College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health and director of the Master of Public Health Program. 

This award is presented annually to six university support staff members selected by the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards Selection Committee. Named after Jack Breslin, who personified “Spartan Spirit,” this award recognizes university employees who embody Breslin’s qualities and exemplifies excellence in their position. 

Not only has Cornish served as the Operations Manager of the Division since its inception in 2014 - she was the very first employee. “She has since grown in her role from building management to overseeing a small team that is responsible for HR, finance, building operations, finance, post-grant award administration, and security. While stressful at times, she leads the team to artfully address the needs of the entire Flint location with great efficiency and transparency.” said McCullough.

According to her co-workers and colleagues, she has consistently gone well above and beyond since day one. Lydia Merritt, Curriculum Support Coordinator for the Master of Public Health program, said, “Linda never asks who is going to do any needed tasks, she simply goes about getting them done.”

Cornish has been a critical part of the Division’s growth over the years. 

Cornish always takes the extra step to ensure new personnel feel comfortable and provides answers to any questions they may have. Faculty member John Clements, PhD said, “When I was hired, Linda was the consummate professional, helped me with any questions and concerns I had, was very quick to resolve issues, and now that I have been here three years, I know she is a person I can always depend on to answer questions even if they do not to relate to her areas of responsibility.”

She brings her generous spirit, enthusiasm, and expertise to her position every day – without seeking recognition. According to Jill Vondrasek, Division of Public Health Communications Manager, “Linda loves to mentor and support young adults. Her big (and quiet heart) leads her to ask co-workers to donate clothes to help young people in need. She has bought winter coats and other clothing for people in the community. She does not want recognition for these acts of kindness. It is just a part of her approach to living her values - values that align with what it means to be a Spartan!”

Cornish balances qualities of compassion and caring with a clear capacity to make decisions. Faculty members emphasized her helpfulness with personnel issues, and the extent to which she has supported them in making hard but necessary decisions while respecting University-wide policies. She also works hard to find solutions for the Division’s success despite obstacles that may come up. 

John Clements, PhD put it best when he said, “In short, DPH could not function as it does without her.” 

Congratulations, Linda!