Cynthia Madrigal and Joaquin Rios Win Distinguished Staff Award

Joaquin Rios and Cynthia Madrigal

Each year, Pomona College recognizes a staff member for distinguished service or effort beyond what is required in their daily job. This year two staff members received the Distinguished Staff Award: Academic Coordinator Cynthia Madrigal and Building Attendant Joaquin Rios.

The awards were announced by President G. Gabrielle Starr at the annual staff recognition luncheon, held this year in a packed Edmunds Ballroom.

Cynthia Madrigal

In the mornings, Madrigal works in Pearson Hall, and in the afternoons, she relocates to LeBus Court. Madrigal, unlike most academic coordinators who work in one department, serves as the academic coordinator of three departments: Art History, Classics and Gender and Women’s Studies. She has been at Pomona for 18 years.

“She serves all three ably, covering the budgets and all the arrangements for all three departments,” says George Gorse, chair of art history. “I completely rely on her. She is a very hard worker who takes on massive amounts of responsibility with efficiency and grace.”

An anonymous nominator concurs: “Providing support to three different programs/departments is a challenging feat in and of itself. Each entity has their own nuances and demands, and Cynthia provides assistance with grace, resilience and professionalism.”

On top of her role as an academic coordinator, Madrigal serves on the Staff Council as the treasurer.

Joaquin Rios

Rios has worked at Pomona for 10 years as a building attendant in the Housekeeping Department.

He is deeply appreciated for the thoroughness of his work. “He is on top of every space in the Edmunds building. He goes above and beyond to make sure everything is immaculate, organized and in order. The kitchen area is always clean, including the refrigerator,” writes one nominator. Another one adds, “Joaquin has a tremendous task in front of him maintaining the spaces for computer science, with a high concentration of students over a small number of classroom, office and social spaces.”

Two people mention how Rios cares for their plants: “It took me months to realize that he’s been watering all my plants without me ever asking him.”

Beyond the work he does, many point to Rio’s kindness and friendliness. “Joaquin always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He greets everyone with a smile,” says one person. “My every interaction with him is positive, and I often see how he makes everyone’s days brighter. He has also clearly had an impact on the students in our department,” says another.

One nominator writes, “Joaquin is the best of Pomona College. Everyone who interacts with him appreciates and trusts him.”