Leaders in Their Field

Group photo of the custodian honorees with President Salovey.

Knowledgeable, proactive, positive — and tirelessly committed to maintaining the clean, safe spaces that allow the Yale community to thrive.

That’s how one Yale custodian, Apryl Jefferson, and two custodial team leaders, Charles Clark and Laticia Hyman, were described last week at a luncheon hosted by President Peter Salovey honoring their nomination for the CINTAS Custodian of the Year award, a national contest sponsored by the business services company to recognize exceptional custodial service at schools and universities.

All the nominees have worked at Yale for many years and were selected by their managers to be considered for the award.

“Collectively, you represent nearly a century of service to the Yale community and, individually, the very best of our values: dedication, diligence, and tremendous enthusiasm,” the president said during the luncheon, held at the President’s House. “Of course, as the COVID-19 pandemic underscored, you are vital contributors to Yale’s mission. Your service ensures safe, efficient, and sustainable workplaces and enables our colleagues to perform their world-class research, scholarship, and teaching.”

In their managers’ citations, all three nominees stand out as leaders in their field who consistently seek not only to meet but to exceed expectations: Apryl, with an “exemplar work ethic”; Laticia, in her “wonderful rapport” with others; and Charles, for his “incredible creative energies and a refreshing idealism.”

While these nominees were not ultimately selected for the award, announced on May 3, the nominations themselves (the first for Yale custodians) offered cause for celebration, which promises to become a regular occasion. In addition to Apryl, Charles, and Laticia, the luncheon was attended by their managers and other Facilities leadership.

“Custodial services impact all of campus. You all are the first impression of Yale Facilities to the communities you engage with every day,” said J. Mike Bellamy, vice president for Facilities and Campus Development. He recalled a conversation, early in his tenure at Yale, in which President Salovey noted the importance of custodial staff as frontline workers — during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond — and the need to make sure that role was recognized. Today, J. Mike concluded, “We thank you for everything you do.”