Paula Garvin, a long-time coordinator in the Office of Career Services (OCS), received the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Appreciation Award during Harvard Law School’s virtual Class Day ceremony on May 26. Garvin was recognized by the Class of 2021 for her warmth, encouragement, and going “above and beyond to make Harvard Law School feel more like home.”

This is the third time Garvin, who’s retiring after more than 30 years at OCS, has received the award. As the front desk and program coordinator, Garvin supported hundreds of Harvard Law students over her three-decade career at the law school, offering encouragement and connecting them with resources and services.

“Paula joined the Office of Career Services in August 1990 and has been an invaluable and indispensable member of the OCS team,” said Mark Weber, assistant dean for Career Services. “Anyone who knows Paula knows that she has been the heart and soul of our office and a vital part of the broader law school community.”

In her remarks, Garvin thanked the Class of 2021 for “becoming my honorary family” and celebrated them for their hard work and perseverance.

“There were times when you probably felt lost, tired and wondered if you’ll make it through the end,” she said. “But you held on, and today we celebrate and give thanks, because you defeated those feelings and completed the race.”

Garvin also reminded the class to provide support and words of encouragement to individuals who may also feel lost and alone. “Don’t be timid, those small gestures may make a big difference for someone,” she said. “Don’t do it for praises, instead, do it from the heart. The rewards will come.”

“They say that people will always remember how you made them feel. I will always remember Ms. Paula and how she made me feel welcome, seen, and loved at HLS,” said Class Marshal Marvellous Iheukwumere ’21. “Her heartwarming smile, nurturing spirit, and genuine care and concern always powered me through some of my low times at HLS.”

Garvin is the 25th recipient of the staff award and the 17th since the award was renamed for Suzanne Richardson, who was the HLS dean of students from 1993 to 2004.

Read more: Harvard Law School celebrates the Class of 2021