20th Annual Awards Ceremony Honors Public Safety Staff and University Partners

Awards highlight individual commitment and special service to safety at Columbia

February 27, 2024

Safety at Columbia took the spotlight at Public Safety’s 20th annual Awards and Recognition Ceremony held on February 20 at Low Library. The awards recognized Public Safety staff who had perfect attendance or earned a promotion in 2023 and bestowed four individual awards for exceptional service and commitment to safety.

Following an invocation led by Dean of Religious Life Ian Rottenberg, 24 team members who did not have an unanticipated absence and eight staff who earned promotions in 2023 were presented with a certificate. The list of perfect attendance recipients included Patrick Oakley, director of Morningside Operations, who has not missed a day in 17 years since his start as a Public Safety officer, and Officers Jaime Rodriguez and Michael Layne who have kept perfect attendance for an incredible 20 and 23 years, respectively. 

Individual award honorees included three University partners: Associate Dean for Student Intervention and Family Engagement Matthew Patashnick, for his professionalism in navigating difficult situations and for being a 24/7 partner; Director of Environmental Health & Safety Christopher Pitoscia, for assisting with the training of Public Safety supervisors and providing expertise for laboratory and chemical safety planning and incident response; and Ching Gonzalez, a recent retiree and former manager of HR Operations and Executive Administration who received the Ricardo Morales Crime Prevention Award for his dedication and partnership in helping to promote safety events and create safety awareness.

Special recognition awards were presented to three Public Safety members - Mary Dooley, senior administrative manager, Bobby Lau, assistant director of Morningside operations, and Barbara Williams, security officer. Dooley, who is celebrating 40 years at Columbia University, was honored for her unrelenting commitment to Columbia and Public Safety - and for inspiring so many of her colleagues to do the same during her long career. Lau was commended for his immediate response to a medical emergency at the Law School, helping the individual remain calm until first responders arrived at the scene. Williams was recognized for going above and beyond to keep a Columbia community member safe in her security booth when confronted by a suspicious nonaffiliate at the bus stop.

"I am beyond proud of the dedication, commitment, and outstanding service shown by each of the honorees, not only to Public Safety but to the entire Columbia community," said Public Safety Vice President Gerald Lewis Jr. "Each of you truly embodies our core values of pride, professionalism, and service."

The event, held in the Low Memorial Library Faculty Room, included a full house of spectators and guests from inside and outside the University.  

See the full list of perfect attendance and promotion recipients below.

One Year: 

  • Dennis Chavez, Security Officer
  • Ricky Dudley, Security Officer
  • Stephen Jones, Security Officer
  • Flecia Scott-Roach, Security Officer
  • Lorenzo Segarra, Sergeant
  • Jeoung Hwang, Sr. Tech. Support System Specialist
  • Branko Yurisak, Assistant Director

Two Years: 

  • Jose Hernandez, Security Officer 
  • Bobby Lau, Assistant Director 
  • Yiling Tang, Director 

Three Years: 

  • John Murolo, Director  

Four Years: 

  • Omar Piron, Manager
  • Michael Pellegrino, Assistant Director
  • Robert Ramos, Director

Five Years: 

  • Biram Diouf, Security Officer

Six Years: 

  • Adeyemi Adegoke, Security Officer
  • Oscar Farina, Manager
  • Jorge Farina, Executive Director

Seven Years:

  • Jean Abraham, Security Officer

11 Years: 

  • Kathleen Caravello, Sergeant

13 Years:

  • Pericles Almanzar, Security Officer

17 Years:

  • Patrick Oakley, Director

20 Years:

  • Jaime Rodriguez, Security Officer 

23 Years:

  • Michael Layne, Security Officer 
  • Sade Hayden, Sergeant
  • Daniel Loor, Sergeant
  • Stacy-Ann McLeod, Sergeant
  • Jose Gonzalez, Senior Sergeant
  • Noel Pichardo, Senior Sergeant
  • Guido Torres, Lieutenant
  • Gregorio Matos, Assistant Manager, Community Engagement
  • Fernando Jaquez, Assistant Director, Technology & Projects