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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: July 28, 2003
Volume 38, Number 24


Swanson earns Staff Council service award

By Laurie Mellas Ramirez

President F. Chris Garcia congratulates Swanson, recipient of the 2003 Jim Davis Staff Councilor Award for Meritorious Service.

Marguerite Swanson, you’ve come a long way, baby.

Recently tapped to manage the newly designed Human Resources Service Center set to open at University and Lomas in September, “Mimi” got her start at UNM in 1976 cleaning monkey cages in the Psychology Department.

“I’m a living example of career development at UNM,” Swanson said.

But first she was a star student with a penchant for politics. While earning a bachelor of university studies (’81) she served as ASUNM president and during her master’s program led GPSA.

“You can be a politician at UNM, too,” Swanson said. “ASUNM was a gas. I learned about leadership, freedom of expression and experienced true politics. It was my most fun time.”

A founding member of UNM Staff Council, she served as president in 1991-92. Swanson established rapport between the council and UNM Executive Cabinet, helped write the council’s governing documents, trained and mentored new members and served as speaker.

In June, Swanson was honored with the Jim Davis Staff Councilor Award for Meritorious Service.

“The award means a lot to me because I knew Jim. He was good, kind, cheerful and happy until the day he died. The award is designed to keep Jim and the values he lived everyday alive at UNM,” Swanson said.

Swanson held academic roles in the library and Honors Program, and most recently, managed Staff Services where she taught others how to advance within the UNM system. A proponent of “Staff as Students,” she worked one-on-one with employees to map out education and career plans.

“I’ve always been a champion for the underdog. I question authority. Why can’t things be different for those less fortunate? I’m not afraid to take the risks and I’m willing to accept the consequences,” she said.

In her new HR role, Swanson will promote a strong customer service ethic.

“The center will be very user friendly. Bilingual and one-on-one assistance will be available. We will also work with retirees before they even leave UNM to plan their second careers,” she said, noting that she will also mentor those she supervises.

This gal no longer monkeys around, but she will climb out on another limb.

“I would like see a widespread plan for career development and a true commitment to education, including an educational leave policy for staff,” Swanson said.