President's Service Award - Fall 2007
Sometimes there just aren’t enough adjectives – organized, intelligent, dedicated, friendly, sensitive, professional, supportive and humourous were all words used to describe Barbara Gillis by her University colleagues. And then, in the next breath, many of these same people said it’s near impossible to put Gillis’s value to the University into words.
Gillis was raised in Tisdale, coming to the U of S in 1981 to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, which she completed in 1985. Two years later she earned her Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation.
Gillis’s employment history with the U of S began in 1986 with the College of Medicine, where she stayed for 13 years before moving to the College of Arts and Science. In 2003, she was promoted to her current position, director of finance and administration for the college.
In this capacity, Gillis manages the many large and complex budgets of the college and its departments. However, her work hardly ends there. She oversees the college’s human resources, IT, facilities and other miscellaneous operations, and represents the college on various University-wide committees.
Gillis goes about her duties with a quiet competence and unfailingly positive, calm, and friendly demeanour. She quickly earned a reputation in the college that there isn’t anything she can’t handle in an efficient and effective manner.
Those who work with Gillis describe her as an inspiration, one who always gives far more to the University than she takes from it. Whenever questions arise about college procedures or administration, one will often be met with the response, “Barb will know” or “Ask Barb.” Sure enough, an answer is generally forthcoming soon thereafter.
Colleagues also say their many inquiries to Gillis are never pushed aside, and never dealt with in anything but a collegial and welcoming manner. And while the processes Gillis handles are often complex and difficult for the layperson to understand, one can always count on her to explain things in terms adjusted to the listener.
It may, indeed, be difficult to put Gillis’s contributions to the University into words, but perhaps that’s fitting in an instance such as this. For in many cases, it’s simply what Gillis is – friendly, professional, and loyal with a perpetually positive attitude – that have endeared her to so many and made her such a deserving recipient of the President’s Service Award.