Patrice Bolton recalls that when anyone came to the house to visit her grandmother, Gladys Turner, they could not leave until they had something to eat. In fact, Bolton said, her grandmother used to cook in anticipation of visitors.
“That’s how she was,” said Bolton, whom Turner raised in Montross, Va. “She’d give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. I guess that rubbed off on me.”
Bolton, who works part time supporting George Mason University’s graduate programs in the School of Business, has created the same open-arms vibe in her Arlington Campus office. With professionalism and attention to detail, she has become a go-to person for students, faculty and staff.
For that, she is George Mason’s June Employee of the Month.
“It’s hard to explain how awesome she is,” said Rebecca Diemer, the School of Business’ director of graduate academic services.
“I do have a sense of pride about my work,” Bolton said. “I just try to do whatever I can to help. I go the extra mile because everyone is so nice. It’s like a family.”
Bolton’s strength is her ability to stay on top of, and fulfilling the varied needs of, students and faculty while also attending to organizational chores within the office, Diemer said.
For example, it’s not unusual for graduate students, many of whom work full-time jobs, to request Bolton print out information they need for a class. Bolton also ensures faculty members have all the necessary tools in their classrooms.
Are parking validations, gift bags and nameplates needed for an upcoming event? Bolton has it covered. Is someone needed at 6 a.m. on Saturdays to greet the caterers providing food for that day’s classes? Bolton is ready and willing to get up early.
There also is this: “Any time I come in on a Saturday, just to check up on something, there is always a student sitting in the lobby chatting with Patrice,” Diemer said. “She’s just somebody students can chat with and unload on or have a little break from class and talk about something else. She’s just a calm, consistent presence.”
Bolton said graduations bring tears to her eyes.
“You’ve been with these students. You’re attached to them,” she said. “You’ve been with them since the beginning of their journey and now you watch them finish. It warms your heart.”
Bolton will be formally presented with her award by Mason President Ángel Cabrera at 10:45 a.m. Friday, June 2 in his office on the fifth floor of Merten Hall. Her family, co-workers and friends are all encouraged to attend the ceremony. Those who are unable to attend the ceremony may watch the Facebook livestream at https://www.facebook.com/workingatmason/.