Center for Excellence Honoree: Tami ReillyTami Reilly is not one to sleep in.
The assistant athletic director for fitness and wellness is often at work by 5 a.m. so she can complete necessary paperwork and be available to students when they need her. And it's not uncommon to see her still in the office as late as 9 or 10 p.m.
"She wants students who come to Quinnipiac to have the best experience they possibly can," said Meghan Trull, who has worked for Reilly for five years and is currently her graduate assistant. "No matter what kind of day she is having, if someone comes in with an issue or with something they want to talk with her about, she will take a step back and listen."
Reilly, who has been at Quinnipiac for eight years, has been recognized for her efforts with the university's most prestigious staff honor, the Excellence in Service to Students Award. She was honored at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students awards Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 14 in the Recreation Center on the Mount Carmel Campus.
"No matter how much work she has to do, when a student comes in with an issue, she will drop what she is working on and take care of it first," Trull said. "It's one of those things, as a student worker, I see it, but you know, it's one of those things I really wanted the rest of the university to see that we, as students, respect and appreciate her."
Reilly developed and manages the new fitness centers on the York Hill and North Haven campuses. She also oversees the fitness classes and the gym on the Mount Carmel Campus.
"She does everything with a smile, and that's one of the best parts about her personality," Trull said. "She's one of those people who loves life so much that when you see her, it's contagious. She loves being here - being at a university where she gets to do what she loves. Every single day she comes in with a smile and a positive attitude."
Reilly said she treats the students the same way she treats her own kids. "I always wanted to be the type of person I would want my son to be able to go see if he needed to talk with someone," Reilly said. "Kids don't always feel comfortable going to you all the time as the parent and so it's important to have additional outlets."
Michael Medina, assistant director for intramurals, said Reilly is constantly looking for ways to satisfy both the students who are serious about fitness and work out daily and the people who are looking to learn how to use certain pieces of equipment for the first time.
"What many people won't see by just walking into the Recreation Center is the amount of effort it takes to put together a full schedule of cardio and aerobic classes in addition to the special events that she runs in the Burt Kahn Court and the studios," Medina said. "Her reach is beyond the ellipiticals, weight room and indoor track. For the past four years, I have seen her promote community projects as well, like the 're-use a shoe' program that recycles sneakers that would otherwise be thrown out. She has also donated boxes of food to the Connecticut Food Bank during her annual turkey trot and bunny hop fun runs."
Reilly connects well with her students, Medina said. "She has so much excitement and passion for the job because she loves working with the students," Medina said. "I've seen her take steps toward making the student life experience here at Quinnipiac even better than it already is."
One of the ways she accomplishes this is by training students to be fitness instructors, Medina said. Seventy-five percent of recreation classes are taught by students, he said. Someone who is a spin instructor, for example, could use the skills acquired on the job at the local gym after graduating.
"They're learning leadership skills by teaching the classes," Medina said. "From talking with her students, I could tell you that they see her not just as a supervisor, but as someone to look up to for advisement and guidance."