Not a dry eye could be found in Hartford Seminary’s Meeting Room as dozens of colleagues, family, and friends paid tribute to Roseann Lezak, Director of Administration and Facilities, as she retired after a marathon 38-year career.
As a young single mother, Roseann took a job as a secretary at Hartford Seminary in 1982, just as the Seminary was moving into its modern, Richard Meier-designed building at 77 Sherman St. She raised her two children on campus and worked in several different departments, including as Director of Human Resources, and finally as Director of Administration and Facilities.
In that role, Roseann was responsible for the management and upkeep of 17 buildings, including housing for students. She answered calls any time of the day or night about compressors, backed-up plumbing, outages, and faulty sump pumps. For 17 years, she worked with Facilities Maintainer Ron Malcolm, who was one of the many former colleagues who came her retirement party to wish Roseann well.
President Joel N. Lohr, who arrived at Hartford Seminary in July 2018, called Roseann a friend and a model employee who has “made thousands of calls to make sure snow was plowed, the doors were open, or messes were cleaned up.
“When I traveled recently to Indonesia and Singapore people would ask about you as if you are a member of their family, a mom. You are giving, generous, selfless person, and we can all learn from you.”
Trustee Frank Resnick, who headed the board’s Facilities Committee for many years and worked closely with Roseann, said she was “always doing” and knew every “nook and cranny” of every building on campus.
“Hartford Seminary has been extremely fortunate to have had Rose to rely on,” he said. “I believe that an important measurement of one’s career is whether it made a difference that you were there; it has clearly made a difference that Rose Lezak was here.”
Professor Miriam Therese Winter, who has been at Hartford Seminary for Roseann’s entire 38 years, wrote a special poem and song for the occasion. The song, sung to the tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain,” in part said:
“Rose … we thank you here today.
Flourish in the years ahead we pray.
You have made our burdens lighter, made our world a little brighter,
and we bless you as we send you on your way.”
A steady stream of speakers, including former Hartford Seminary President Michael Rion and President and CEO of Leadership Greater Hartford Ted Carroll, spoke about Roseann’s work ethic along with her compassion for the Seminary’s students, who came to see her as a family member. She would often volunteer to drive them to grocery stores, banks, doctor’s appointments, or wherever they needed to go. That compassion extended to other nonprofit organizations that Roseann supported, including Foodshare, for which she organized an annual turkey drive. The Seminary donated $200 in Roseann’s name to another of her favorite nonprofits, the Ana Grace Project, which was formed after the Sandy Hook shootings to promote love, connection, and community for every child and family.
It was announced at the event that one of Roseann’s legacies will be an endowed fund that will provide for an annual staff lunch to honor milestone work anniversaries. Contributions can still be made to the fund at this link. Look under Program Designations for The Roseann Lezak Years of Service Award.
Roseann was also presented with a sump pump spray-painted in gold to honor all the floods and late night emergencies in Hartford Seminary’s basement.
Congratulations, Roseann! You have earned a relaxing retirement!