"I'm very surprised and very honored that they would choose me," admitted Blaschke, who thanked all of her coworkers and family present for a reception in her honor in the Betty Turner Asher Room of Old Main on the USD campus. "The people, the students, faculty and staff make this a great place to work."
Nominated for the award by several coworkers, including June Larson, chairperson of the nursing department, Blaschke was commended for her work ethic, congeniality and organizational skills.
"Mary is always warm and friendly, and she responds to student requests and needs in a positive manner," Larson explained in her nomination submission. "She is top-notch in carrying out her duties for the Vermillion campus, and she goes above and beyond to help with the needs that we have program-wide as well."
Blaschke, who has worked at USD since 1981 in a variety of positions, including the education department and computing services – which is now called ITS – has been with the Department of Nursing since October 2002. Her duties as office manager include supporting the campus director, assisting faculty with class materials, keeping track of student lists and serving as a contact person for the department. While she enjoys all aspects of her job, Blaschke says she appreciates the campus for its openness and cooperative spirit.
"It's a total community," she described. "No matter where you go on this campus or what your question is, everyone is willing to help you find the answer."
Blaschke and her husband, Gary, currently reside in rural Spink. They have three daughters, two living in Sioux Falls, and another residing in the Denver, CO, and two grandchildren.