Karen Plaut’s face showed a look of surprise and perhaps a little embarrassment as her co-workers gathered around her.
Plaut was presented with an Outstanding Supervisor Award in honor of National Boss Day on Tuesday. The awards, given by MSU’s Family Resource Center, started seven years ago at the university to honor bosses who are well-liked by their employees.
“I’m absolutely and completely shocked,” said Plaut, chairwoman of the Department of Animal Science.
There will be more surprises from the Family Resource Center throughout the week in honor of National Boss Day.
“I’ve had a lot of complaints about supervisors who don’t ‘get it,’ so I wanted to find some good ones,” said Family Resource Center coordinator Lori Strom.
“We’ve moved grown men to tears with this.”
Strom read a list of comments that co-workers had written about Plaut when they nominated her for the award. They said things like: “Makes people feel like they matter,” and “Has integrity, fairness and a great sense of humor.”
Members of the staff and a party committee burst in on Plaut during a meeting in Anthony Hall.
They surprised her with a sheet cake bearing the Spartan helmet and a banner. She also received a gift — a framed board with pictures of the animal science department staff.
The award is often a testament to the longevity of the boss who has worked with a staff for a while and who his or her co-workers enjoy working for them.
“People want to come to work because of the boss,” Strom said.
Plaut started as the animal science department chairwoman in January 2005. She holds three degrees in animal science and part of her research involves studying the mammary gland of bovines and dairy cows
Her co-workers said she is very flexible about their schedules.
“When I had to have shoulder surgery, I was out for six weeks and then I had to have physical therapy, and she was OK with it,” said Faye Watson, an administrative assistant in the animal science department.
Plaut was selected as a recipient of the award last May and her department worked to keep quiet about it.
Although she didn’t suspect anything before her surprise, she said she was happy to be recognized nonetheless.
“I feel completely honored and humbled,” Plaut said.
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