2022 Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award — Elizabeth J. Caskey

Described as the heart of Allegheny College’s Biology Department, lab technician Liz Caskey is no doubt a vital force in the Steffee Hall of Life Sciences. Having been with the department since 1996, Caskey has had a hand in every Senior Comp, experiment, and lab, bringing patience, wisdom, and friendliness to each situation. She is always behind the scenes making sure glassware is ready for classes, helping faculty with lab supply orders, and so much more. According to her colleagues, the biology department simply wouldn’t exist without her.

“Ms. Caskey is the definition of loyalty, service, and dedication, being with the department for so many years and in such an effective and amazing way,” says Neil Whaley ’13. “She might as well be a part of the Steffee building walls.”

While Caskey offers assistance to the biology faculty, she is particularly noted for the way she supports students. She helps seniors with their Comp projects, from ordering supplies to giving advice to helping with techniques. She keeps track of their budgets, answers thousands of questions, helps them find unique reagents, and takes care of all sorts of animals.

Furthermore, Caskey serves as an informal advisor to her student workers, lending a kind ear both inside and outside the lab. She supports their career aspirations by writing letters of recommendation for graduate school and job applications. Students who work for Caskey stay in touch with her for years, seek her out when they visit Meadville, and even invite her to come visit them.

“Ms. Caskey provided a source of refuge and comfort when schooling became difficult and challenging for me,” Whaley says. “With a listening ear and an energetic presence, she helped provide the confidence and endurance I needed to excel in not only biology, but academics as a whole.”

“Liz genuinely cares for every student she comes into contact with,” adds Jordan R. Gaston ’16. “Having worked for her from the first semester of my freshman year to the last day of my senior year, Liz was my unofficial Mom while I was at Allegheny. If I ever had a problem, Liz was the first one I would call, or if I got good news, she was the first I’d tell.”

Assistant Professor of Biology Tricia Humphreys acknowledges the importance of Caskey’s connections with students in addition to her incredible work.

“This type of relationship with staff is something we don’t talk about nearly enough at Allegheny, given the impact it has on students’ careers and lives,” Humphreys says. “Here in Steffee Hall, we are very aware of Liz’s contributions to the College and her tremendous impact on our students.”