Pancake Breakfast Comes With a Side of Snow

Pancakes, bacon, fruit, juice, coffee … and would you like snow with that?

Nearly 700 University of Virginia employees turned out on a snowy Monday morning for a staff appreciation pancake breakfast at the John Paul Jones Arena. University President Teresa A. Sullivan and other top administrators, deans and vice presidents donned toques and aprons and stood at serving tables, tongs at the ready.

The surprise snowstorm, which closed area schools, may have held down attendance, but employees whose children were home for the day were invited to bring them along.

"I'm glad we can give people a nice, hearty breakfast on a snowy morning," said Susan Carkeek, vice president and chief human resources officer.

Two dozen round tables, dressed with tablecloths and daffodils, were all but full by 7:30 a.m. Travis Henderson, Eddie Morris and Kevin Lawrence of Facilities Management were enjoying breakfast while anticipating they'd be on snow-removal duty soon.

Lawrence said he's been to staff-appreciation events before, but they were sponsored by individual departments, not the entire University. "This is new," Morris agreed. "And it's nice."

A quartet of Health System employees sat nearby. "This is a nice gesture," said Marisa Vacca, who works in governmental relations. She noted that she had been served by her former boss, Tom Harkins, now chief environment of care officer.

She said she also appreciated that the plates and utensils were compostable. According to University Human Resources, leftover food that had not been heated would be donated.

— By Marian Anderfuren