Mary Riner's Can-Do Spirit Uplifts Commerce School

May 27, 2010 — Long recognized at the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce for her dedication to the success of every student, professionalism and commitment to excellence in every task she undertakes, Mary Riner is regarded as an indispensable member of the McIntire community.

Now she's being recognized as a winner of a 2010 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contributor Award.
As McIntire's director for employer relations, Riner is responsible for communicating and working with employers and students to coordinate interviews and to help match students with job opportunities. In this role, she assists nearly 700 commerce students and several hundred companies each year – and she does so with cheerfulness, efficiency and effectiveness that is noticed and appreciated by all with whom she comes in contact.

"Out of everyone I work with, Mary Riner stands out in my mind as a person who goes beyond what is expected of her as a career services representative," said one recruiter from a major accounting firm. "She is always eager to help out with any request that I may have, whether big or small. … Her professional demeanor and pleasant personality make it a joy to recruit at U.Va."

Riner is also responsible for producing the McIntire School's annual career placement report, its online Commerce Career Services newsletter and its annual career fair, which typically draws some 90 employers and more than 1,000 students from McIntire and the greater University, as well as from other area universities.

Sometimes faced with major logistical challenges (the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Hurricane Isabel in 2003, to name two) Riner has, with characteristic calm, professionalism and good humor, each year created a remarkably successful Career Day event.

"Mary approaches all her responsibilities with enthusiasm, accuracy and professionalism," said Tom Fitch, McIntire's assistant dean for career services. "It is so comforting to be able to depend on her high level of attention to detail, which invariably produces superb final products."

While Riner's professional achievements have distinguished her as an outstanding contributor to the McIntire School and the University, it is her cheerfulness, selflessness and unshakably positive "can-do" attitude that distinguish her as a truly remarkable colleague and friend.

"Mary is known throughout the McIntire School for her ability to make everyone around her feel better," said Gerald Starsia, McIntire's associate dean for administration. "A chance meeting, an e-mail – any interaction with Mary is an uplifting experience."

— By Mary Summers Whittle