Three Pomona College Staff Members Recognized for Their Exceptional Service

Gina Brown-Pettay, Matt Walker and Blanca Flores

Each spring, outstanding Pomona staff members are nominated for the Peter W. Stanley Distinguished Staff Award, a distinction established in 1997 to recognize College staff for their service and excellence beyond their job requirements.

In the first year back on campus after the pandemic, 22 individuals were nominated, with more than 147 nominations submitted by staff, faculty and students.

The award committee selected three outstanding staff members for this year’s award in recognition of their positive impact on our campus community. This year’s recipients are:

  • Gina Brown-Pettay, academic coordinator for the History and German and Russian Departments
  • Blanca Flores, building attendant
  • Matt Walker, media services coordinator

Gina Brown-Pettay

With 21 years of service at Pomona, Brown-Pettay is the academic coordinator for the departments of History and German and Russian. Her colleagues recognize the extraordinary combination of skill, aplomb, experience, professional know-how, common sense and unflappability that she brings to tasks large and small.

Brown-Pettay received nominations from faculty and students as well as Pomona College alumni.

A faculty member notes, "Gina really cares about our students. In addition to supervising and training them to be valuable members of our department, Gina listens to them and becomes an important part of their support network. She has a wonderful and caring rapport with students, which is evidenced by how long our student employees stay in our department.”

A Pomona alumna described her as one of the best supervisors she ever had. “From an organizational standpoint, Gina was a master conductor who worked behind the shadows, orchestrating the entire department's functioning so that it was harmonious and cohesive.”

“Gina brings the two departments together in many productive and collaborative ways,” said one of those who nominated her. “The atmosphere between the two departments is very congenial: we co-sponsor academic lectures and invite each other to our department events."

Blanca Flores

A building attendant for housekeeping, Flores has been a part of Pomona College’s staff for 21 years and works mainly in Smith Campus Center’s (SCC) Edmunds Ballroom. Flores’ impact on campus is such that she received an unprecedented 114 nominations.

During the pandemic, Edmunds was widely used by physical education classes as well as by ballroom dancing. One of her nominations noted that she keeps the SCC and Edmunds in amazing condition. Not only has the ballroom been used more, but standards for cleanliness have been more rigorous due to the pandemic.

One of her many nominations states: “Her hard work has allowed PE [physical education] and other ballroom courses to happen safely during the construction of the new athletics center. PE is a way for students to de-stress and have balance in their lives – she makes this possible!”

Because of her commitment to her work, Flores has created a space for community engagement that has been vital for campus life during the pandemic.

Flores goes above and beyond, not only to provide a positive experience on campus for students, but for staff as well. One of her nominations by a staff member stated how much they loved ceviche after visiting Mexico, Flores’ home country. Flores, who knows how to make ceviche, learned about this, and she made and brought some for the person the next day.

Matt Walker

Walker is described in one of his nominations as a “force of nature” who loves what he does. He has been a member of the ITS team at Pomona for 24 years and currently serves as the media service coordinator.

His keen ability to interact with staff, faculty and emeriti faculty was highly praised in his nomination: “He is such a great, competent technical resource for the College.”

His capacity to manage multiple projects is one of his greatest assets. “Matt is the master of doing 150 things in a day. He will set up six computers, fix a printer, talk to 12 people on the phone, set up a microphone in Rose Hills Theatre and make sure the teams schedule is set,” one of his nominations says.

Another nomination calls out Walker’s ability to help in any capacity he can. Walker is part of the College’s Emergency Response Team where he oversees recruitment and leads the volunteer members of the Disaster Assistance Response Team.

His Pomona colleagues note that Walker brings a great sense of humor to work--he's always in a great mood and people enjoy hanging out with him.