Lorenzo Jackson, leader and ‘Pillar of Excellence’

When the Center for Africana Studies hosts a book talk or discussion at 3401 Walnut St., one of the key participants isn’t behind the podium or on the panel. He might not even be there during the event, yet his work is deeply valued by the Center’s faculty and staff. Custodian Lorenzo Jackson makes sure the guests will be able to focus on learning and ideas by ensuring that the environment is clean and welcoming. From the meeting rooms and offices to the building’s entrance near one of the busiest corners on campus, Jackson goes out of his way to make sure each area looks its best.

Amy Gutmann and Lorenzo Jackson on stage, Jackson holds an award.
Penn President Amy Gutmann and Lorenzo Jackson, holding his Pillar of Excellence Award. (Photo: Penn Human Resources)

“We have been the beneficiaries of Lorenzo’s outstanding service, support, and genuine concern for us,” says Gale A. Garrison, the Center’s associate director.

Garrison is not alone. Hundreds of people who work in or visit 3401 Walnut benefit from Lorenzo Jackson’s commitment to outstanding service, including his coworkers in Maintenance & Housekeeping.

Jackson orchestrates highly visible projects, such as annual carpet cleaning. But his smaller daily actions—like gathering empty boxes to help a faculty member move her book collection or making sure extra-large trash receptacles are available for catered events—also make a big impact. So does his attitude.

“Lorenzo always welcomes me with a smile and a warm greeting which I greatly value and appreciate,” says Garrison.

“Lorenzo has always been bigger than the job he gets paid to do,” says Director of Housekeeping Wendy Sparks. That’s one reason Lorenzo Jackson earned a Pillar of Excellence award this year.

Read more at Penn Human Resources.

By Stephanie Brown