Campus News

Chet Arcaba Earns 2024 YB Award for Extraordinary Service

Now 45 years into his Oberlin career, director of facilities stewardship garners widespread praise for his tireless dedication to the campus and community.

May 6, 2024

Communications Staff

Chet Arcaba.
Photo credit: Bryan Rubin

Chet Arcaba, Oberlin’s director of facilities stewardship, is the recipient of the 2024 YB Staff Award for extraordinary service, presented annually to an Oberlin staff member.

A 45-year employee at Oberlin, Arcaba was honored by President Carmen Twillie Ambar at a spring social for faculty and staff held May 6 at the Heisman Field House.

Arcaba has served in numerous roles on campus since his hire in 1979, among them lead data control clerk, equipment technician, network technician, and telephone manager. He has been director of facilities stewardship since 2016.

For years, he has been on call around the clock, responding to weather-related emergencies, infrastructure breakdowns, and much more.

Carmen Twillie Ambar with Chet Arcaba.
Arcaba was honored by President Ambar at a May 6 employee social. (photo by Hayley Vitale)

Chief Facilities Officer Kevin Brown marvels at his colleague’s excellence.

“I came to Oberlin with 35 years of experience in facilities, and Chet demonstrated to me a new level of customer service I had never seen,” says Brown. “In most organizations, that level of expertise will never exist. It’s untrainable. It’s a result of Chet’s years of customer service: the trust he has built within the Oberlin community, his work ethic, and his keen intellect. Folks just know that Chet will take care of them.”

Praise for Arcaba is as voluminous as it is effusive. Following are reflections from colleagues who endorsed him for the YB Award:

  • “Chet has been a pillar of support for our community.”
  • “Chet’s contributions to Oberlin College not only honor YB’s memory, but also exemplify the kind of leadership and service that can inspire others to strive for excellence in their roles.”
  • “His approach aligns closely with Oberlin’s historic milestones, as he recognizes that progress is the product of dedicated effort and collaboration within and beyond our community.”
  • “Chet’s impact on our campus is a testament to his exceptional dedication and serves as a model for how institutional employees can play a pivotal role in advancing the strategic goals of the college.”
  • “His dedication to Oberlin College is unparalleled. He has made himself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for his entire tenure.”
  • “Chet is a champion for the staff and students. He always puts everyone before himself.”
  • “His daily commitment to Oberlin’s well-being is a part of his rare altruistic character. I feel lucky and honored to know him.”
  • “I trust Chet’s guidance and knowledge implicitly. He maintains a level demeanor no matter what is going on, and he treats everyone fairly, with dignity, and respect. His leadership embodies the true spirit of what Oberlin stands for.”

The YB Staff Award was established to honor the extraordinary service of the late Yeworkwha Belachew—“YB,” as she was affectionately known—who served Oberlin in numerous roles for more than 35 years, most notably as ombudsperson and founder of the Oberlin College Dialogue Center. The center was renamed the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue upon her retirement in 2016.

First presented in 2016—to Belachew—the YB Award was established to recognize a non-faculty employee of the college or conservatory who demonstrates daily commitment and performance in advancing Oberlin’s strategic goals through exemplary service.

For more information about the YB Award and a complete list of past honorees, please visit the Department of Human Resources’ Awards and Recognition page.

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