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Chico State

Celebrating Dianne Suschil: 2022’s Employee of the Year

2022 Employee of the Year honoree Dianne Suschil holds up her trophy and certificate after being honored at a ceremony on campus.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Not all heroes wear capes.

Some walk (and bike and dance) among us, offering the time of day, positive solutions, and a helpful perspective when their peers need them—and this creates a positive ripple effect. For the last 19 years, Dianne Suschil has been that everyday hero on campus. An administrative analyst (AA/S) with International Education and Global Engagement (IEGE) by title, she has served faculty, staff, and students in ways that extend far beyond her job description.

Suschil’s career at Chico State began in 2002. Seeking a lifestyle change after 20 years in corporate sales management, she found her way to a part-time administrative job at the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, which was purely based on things she loves: music, dance, art, outdoor activities. There, she immediately made a positive impression.

“In everything she does, Dianne Suschil epitomizes excellence in customer service,” said Tracy Butts, dean of the college and a longtime fan of Suschil. “During her time here in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Dianne always went above and beyond—no matter the task asked of her. Her calming presence brought a spirit of collegiality and helpfulness to the Dean’s Office. This is because Dianne cared deeply about the college and its people, and she endeavored constantly to make it a place where people wanted to work.”

After 14 years of growth and community building, Dianne found her way to IEGE, where she has been a champion to students, community members, and staff, juggling responsibilities that span the length and breadth of the department’s core offerings (Passport Place, Study Abroad and Exchange, International Student and Scholar Services, et al).

“Dianne literally could not be more delightful, supportive, kind, or keen. She is a rock, on which we all lean and depend,” said Jennifer Gruber, associate vice president for IEGE. “She spends so many hours staring at spreadsheets and analyzing data so our staff is poised to make the best decisions for our department and for the University.”

Given the magnitude of her contributions, it is only fitting that she was recently named 2022’s Employee of the Year at the Staff Excellence Awards—on the eve of her retirement from Chico State. It is with deep gratitude and admiration that we wish her farewell.

What’s the secret to a successful career on this campus?

I think treating everyone you deal with in the way you would like to be treated. That’s just a big part of it. Give your colleagues grace and time. Don’t assume you know their workload or what stress they might be under.

Is there someone on campus who has made a particularly big impact on your journey here?

Yes, it was the first group that hired me—Marilyn Terrell and then Marie Knox. They trained me initially and set me up for success. Marie has a way of approaching a task that really made an impression. When I would go to her with a question or problem, her answer would always be, “Oh, that’s easy, I will help you.” And that has stuck with me and I have tried to carry that with me.

What have you learned about yourself through your journey at Chico State?

That I am capable of far more than I thought. When I came here, I thought, “I’ve done sales and I’ve been on a computer but not office support work.” I had been working in corporate sales out of my home office, in my car, on the road. Suddenly, I was back in an office environment, working with people day in and day out. And I had all these resources that I wasn’t used to, and people to bounce ideas around with. It was just a whole new realm for me. And when I welcomed it and let go of the nerves, it was an ‘aha’ moment. I knew this is where I belonged. That’s really, really special. Yeah, it really is.

Dozens of people clap and cheer for Dianne Suschil who was given a major award.
Staff erupt with cheers when Dianne Suschil is named Employee of the Year. Photo: Jason Halley / University Photographer

Quick Takes

Happy place on campus: Everywhere. I just love walking on campus—how beautiful is this place?

Words of Wisdom: Don’t act from a place of fear. Do things from a place of strength and passion. Make decisions that you know will lead to the type of life that you want and deserve.  

If you could snap your fingers and magically create an environment on campus: I think a badminton court on the lawn outside of Kendall Hall.

Joys outside of work: My grandchildren and my children. Gardening. Hiking. Jigsaw puzzles. Dancing is my favorite. I’ve been a long-time attendee of Jazzercise all these years—it still exists. We don’t wear leg warmers anymore, but staying active brings me joy. I love Bidwell Park. And I love to travel.