When one door opens, another closes. We’ve all heard that cliché. But many of the doors around Salus University – both at The Eye Institute’s (TEI) Oak Lane campus and the main campus in Elkins Park, Pa. – were open, warm and welcoming to kick off the season last week with the annual holiday party and door decorating contest.

In the spirit of the season, Salus family members had a chance to show off their creativity and door decorating skills in a good-natured competition that was ultimately judged by University president Dr. Michael Mittelman and provost Dr. Barry Eckert.

“I do this every year. It’s always fun and it’s something I look forward to,” said Dr. Mittelman. “Everybody is a winner in my view.”

Still, the judges had to choose winners. And, it was difficult, given the level of the creative competition.

In the end, there were several winners, who received gift cards as prizes. At TEI, first place went to the William Feinbloom Low Vision Rehabilitation Center; second place to administration; and third place was a tie between the residents’ office and Optometric Clinical Affairs.

At the Elkins Park campus, first place went to the Office of the Registrar and the Speech-Language Institute; second place was awarded to the Physician Assistant Studies program and the Pennsylvania Ear Institute; and third place went to the facilities department.

The Speech-Language Institute door – a creation of Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, interim department chair/program director; Ken Newton, MS, CCC-SLP, instructor; Patricia Mayro, MA, CCC-SLP, interim clinical director; and Taylor Evans, office manager - featured penguins and snowmen, each adorned with the names of clinical educators; Olaf, the character from the film “Frozen;” and holiday lights.

“We came up with the idea and then added the lights because we wanted to do something that added a little pow,” said Evans. “It feels wonderful to win, but it also makes me feel like I have to put a little extra into next year’s contest.”

Once the winners were chosen and gift cards distributed, it was off to the Hafter Student Community Center in the afternoon, where the gymnasium was decked out in holiday decorations and the DJ spun seasonal tunes.

Scrumptious hors d’oeuvres were served by President’s Council ahead of the buffet meal, after which attendees could sample the dessert table filled with homemade sweets from staff members. Each partygoer was given a raffle ticket upon entering the gym, and prizes were given – the grand prize was a 50-inch television – to the lucky ticket holders.

The party itself takes about two and half months to plan, according to Maura Keenan, MBA, CEBS, vice president of Human Resources, who along with team members in HR planned the festivities, which attracted approximately 200 faculty and staff this year.

“I think we did great this year because we had better door prizes and that always makes it fun,” said Keenan. “And, the food was very good this year.”

Dr. Mittelman praised the party planners for another stellar job of giving faculty and staff a top-notch holiday party.

“I want to thank Maura Keenan and her team. I also want to thank our facilities and maintenance staff, they always make this place look nice,” said Dr. Mittelman. “Thank you for coming and making this a great party, and for those of you who decorated your doors today, thank you very much. You made us much more festive and there’s lots of creativity around here.”

As lunch concluded, Dr. Mittelman presented length of service awards to faculty and staff. They included:

45 years – Dr. Joel Silbert, professor at PCO.

35 years – Dr. Elise Ciner, co-director of the Special Populations Assessment and Rehabilitation Center.

30 years – Dr. Andrew Gurwood, professor of Clinical Sciences, Module 1, TEI; Dr. Helene Kaiser, director of the traineeship program and coordinator for the Clinical Skills Course and Laboratory at PCO; Dr. Jean Marie Pagani, interim associate dean of POM, director of Traineeship Program and director of the internship program at PCO.

25 years – Dr. Lynn Greenspan, assistant professor at PCO; Dr. Fabiana Perla, chair of Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies; Winifred “Wendy” Sontag, associate controller.

20 years – Marlene Hill, financial aid secretary; Ed Slosky, network administrator; Chawn Thomas, administrative coordinator; Tracey Robbins, administrative coordinator.

15 years – Jill Leslie, director of Institutional Technology and Support Services; Carolyn Mason, contact lens representative.

10 years – Alexis Abate, director of Communications; Brooke Kruemmling, associate provost; Dr. Victor Bray, associate professor, Osborne College of Audiology; Lachelle Smith, director of the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Program; Dr. John Fitzgerald III, associate director of the PA program, director of clinical programs and medical director; Dr. Linda Casser, coordinator of Interprofessional Education at PCO; Alison Wilk, Learning Resource Center clerk.

Five years – Jerry Bevans, maintenance technician; Amanda Lusaitis, administrative coordinator; Caitlin Vitoria, assessment data manager; Jasmine Campbell, vision therapy coordinator; Samuel Mathias, classroom technology manager; Claire Wyszynski, administrative assistant; Dawn Ciccarone, clinical instructor, Occupational Therapy; James McParland, institutional service clerk; Marietta Dooley, Learning Resource Center Servicers director; John Clark, security officer; Elizabeth Sedunov, assistant professor, audiology, Residential Program;  Melissa Cinciruk, associate director of admissions; Robert Serianni, interim chair and director, Department of Speech-Language Pathology; John Gaal, vice president of clinical operations; Dr. Mary-Jo Thomas, assistant professor at PCO; Dr. Robert Barsotti, associate professor in the PA program, physiology and pathophysiology; Terrill Johnson, medical records clerk; Michael Speirs, associate professor; and Chris Esposito, network services director.
After the awards and prizes were given out, attendees then whooped it up with games, including reindeer ring toss and marshmallow toss, after which the DJ cranked up some non-holiday music and attendees showed off their line-dancing skills until it was time to go home.