Cora Higgins   2003 UNB President's Medal Recipient

Cora Higgins is a Library staff member who will be familiar to hundreds of our Saint John campus students and faculty, both current and past. Many do not know her name but she will have touched their lives and work through her long-time service at the Library Circulation Desk.

When people think of Circulation services they are reminded of overdue books, library fines, and pleas for leniency or absolution. Since 1976, Cora Higgins has served on the front lines of the Circulation Desk, checking out, and back in again, books and journals, answering the telephone and juggling many other unseen tasks and responsibilities. Her career in the Library began even earlier when she worked as a student assistant in Circulation while attending UNB Saint John. With more than 26 yearsÕ service in the Library, Ms. Higgins is one of the most senior staff members on campus.

It is not for longevity that she deserves this award: it is for her dedication and commitment to providing an essential service and for her genuine care and concern for the students with whom she comes in daily contact. The Library is one of the most public buildings on campus and the Circulation Desk is a front line service that must be staffed at all times. Whether it is a snowstorm or staff emergency, Ms. Higgins takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the Circulation Desk is staffed and open for business.

When it comes to student needs and concerns, she understands the pressures of time and of financial resources and takes a compassionate and caring approach to resolving problems. Ms. Higgins understands the role of the library in supporting the students' learning and research needs and it is from this viewpoint that she handles problems and deals with the many issues that arise in the course of a day. On one notable occasion she came to the rescue of a student who was choking and handled the crisis in a cool, calm and effective manner.

Cora Higgins balances a demanding job with a busy family life, an interest in gardening and the outdoors, and, as any of her colleagues can verify, a strong interest in horses and riding. From her time as an undergraduate during the early years of the Saint John campus to her days now spent with family and serving on the front lines in the Library, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the university community. She is very deserving of the President's Medal for outstanding service over the span of a career.