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Janice Watkins Award Winners 1995 Article

Watkins winners work for success by Susan Baltasi

What do the winners of this year’s Janice Watkins Award, presented each year to outstanding staff members, have in common?

All three - Fannie Davis Jones in veterans affairs, Jeanette Coleman in campus housing and Linda Delort in nursing - climbed the ranks to their current jobs after years of hard work and dedication to the university.


Jones, coordinator for veterans’ affairs, has been a UIC employee for 15 years. She makes sure veterans’ paperwork is complete and they receive their GI benefits on time.

She joined UIC as a clerk stenographer in the College of Associated Health Professions in 1979, then worked in student affairs for seven years.

Jones has spent most of her life in Chicago. She went to Wendell Phillips High School and attended Chicago State for one year before going to Taylor Business Institute.

“My job has been very rewarding,” said Jones. “When the students come back to thank me, that just makes my job worth it all.”

She’s active in her church, where she works with other members of her parish to help alcoholics, drug addicts and the homeless.

“Even though it seems like they’re hopeless, there is good there,” said Jones. “Just knowing someone is concerned can bring out the good.”

She would like to continue helping others by working with a prison ministry and assisting women who live in Chicago housing projects.

“I want to let them know there’s a way out,” said Jones, who lived in Stateway Garden for five years.

“Then, when they get out, they can go back and help the other women there. That’s my dream.”


Jeanette Coleman, information services supervisor in campus housing, has a long track record with UIC.

Coleman joined UIC as a library clerk typist in 1976. Since then, she has been a secretary and administrative clerk.

Coleman has worked in campus housing for two-and-a-half years.

“I counsel students regarding room changes and housing contracts,” she said.

Along with the duties of her job, Coleman was the adviser for the National Residence Hall Honorary Society.

“I developed strong relationships with students,” she said.

“Because it took me a while to complete school, I want to encourage others to stay in school. I have a commitment to higher education.”

Coleman is the secretary of her church, where she teaches the teen Sunday school class. She is an avid reader of books on psychology, human relations and counseling.

“I like to read things that will help me relate to people,” she said.


Linda Delort, an administrative assistant in the college of Nursing, has worked on campus for 26 years.

She says she enjoys her job in the College of Nursing, because “they have allowed employees to take on as much responsibility as they can handle.”

Delort first came to UIC as temporary worker in 1969. Before long, she was hired as a full-time employee.

“My nomination (for the Janice Watkins Award) came as a complete surprise. I’ve been very lucky to have been noticed by the faculty,” said Delort.

“I was raised to believe that if you’re going to do a job, do it well.”

When she’s not at work, Delort likes to read or spend time with her nieces and nephews.

Not long ago, she took her nephew- who’s interested in Egyptology - on a sleep-over at the Field Museum.