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Awards Honor Dedication to Service
November 03, 2011
Service Excellence Awards highlight exemplary service within university community.
During George Washington University’s 10th annual celebration of service excellence among faculty, staff and students, 15 individuals and groups were honored Tuesday for their commitment to two of the nine GW Values: service and excellence.
“This event pays tribute and honors people in our community whose personal character and deep commitment to excellence bring such a great distinction to the George Washington University,” said Dick Golden, special assistant for broadcast operations and university events, and master of ceremonies for the awards.
George Washington President Steven Knapp told the full house in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom that the current academic year marks the beginning of the last decade of the university’s second century, as well as the eve of its 100th anniversary in Foggy Bottom. A spirit of service—to teaching, to research and to the community—has played a large role in the university’s longevity and its achievements, he said.
“None of that would be possible, or even conceivable, without the extraordinary depth and breadth of contributions that all of you together make,” Dr. Knapp said. “I’m continually impressed by your collective commitment to service as well as your individual achievements. I’d like to congratulate all the nominees for your accomplishments.”
The university’s vice presidents presented the 2011 Service Excellence Awards, which were chosen from a pool of more than 600 nominees. Nominations came from faculty, staff members, students, parents and alumni. In several cases, the award committee chose to name two individuals or groups as winners because of the large number of nominees.
Dana Tai Soon Burgess, chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Katelyn Fleming, a project manager in the School of Public Health and Health Services, each won a Faculty Choice Award. Mr. Burgess’s nominators cited his leadership within the department, as well as his dedication to student advising. Ms. Fleming’s nominators mentioned her “exceptional communication skills and can-do attitude” in managing complex projects and keeping staff members informed.
Two Sustainability Awards went to the Division of Information Technology and the GW Solar Thermal Team. The Division of Information Technology received the award for the group’s work on the Sustainable Technology Initiative, which was established in 2008 when GW signed the American College and University Climate Commitment. The IT group has worked extensively on server virtualization—converting one actual physical server into many virtual servers—which has dramatically reduced GW’s carbon footprint, to the effect of removing 120 cars from the road. The GW Solar Thermal Team helped GW become home to the largest source of solar power on the East Coast by managing the financial analysis, planning and installation of three solar thermal systems on Building JJ, 1959 E Street and Ivory Tower.
The Alumni Choice Award went to Joseph Greenberg, regional director of undergraduate admissions for New England. Vice President for Development Mike Morsberger, who presented the award, said Mr. Greenberg received dozens of nominations from parents, students and alumni praising his kind nature and commitment to GW. One nominator wrote of Mr. Greenberg, “He is the catalyst and ambassador for the huge growth of both applicants and the quality of students at GW. He is an invaluable resource to GW and greatly deserves this honor.”
Rachel Krausman received the Student Staff Choice Award, which is given to a student staff member. Ms. Krausman, a junior international affairs major, works in the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service and played a pivotal role in organizing the 2011 Freshman Day of Service, coordinating logistics for more than 2,200 participants, visiting all the service sites ahead of time, and managing a team of peers—all while maintaining a full course schedule. Her nominators called her “involved, intelligent, kind-hearted and community focused.”
Two Service Collaboration Awards, given for exemplary work across departments, went to the Degree MAP Online Degree Audit Software team and the Freshman Day of Service planning team. The Degree MAP team’s work on a new degree auditing program revolutionized the advising model, said Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz, and changed the advising conversation from prescriptive to developmental. The Freshman Day of Service, held on Sept. 11 this year, involved “many moving parts from different divisions that come together and make it possible.”
Staff Choice Awards were given to Linda Brown, manager of university cashier services, and Mary Waring, outreach coordinator in the Office of Veterans Services. Ms. Brown has been described as “a problem solver, a caring individual and an all-around helper in Colonial Central,” said Vice President for External Relations Lorraine Voles, who presented the awards. “Her nominator said of her, ‘She’s the kind of team player you want on your team, and as your coach.’” Ms. Waring, who was nominated by numerous students and staff members, serves as an advocate for GW’s 700-plus veterans and works to ensure they get the most out of their educational experience.
Academic Technologies and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office each won a Departmental Service Excellence Award. Academic Technologies was recognized for its work on the GW Mobile App, which allows users to access course schedules, driving and walking directions on campus, the library database and more. The team mentored a group of SEAS students who helped create the mobile app. The Columbian College Advising Office was recognized for its work in scaling up the advising program in a few short months, adding 10 new advisers and creating a pre-professional advising center—all in time for the fall semester.
The Parent Choice Award went to Florence Claasen de Mourges, an employee in the Office of Study Abroad in Paris. “Florence isn’t with us today, because as part of this award, she got an all-expense paid trip to Paris,” joked Robert Chernak, senior vice president for student and academic support services. But he told the audience that the parent who nominated Ms. De Mourges described how she went out of her way to assist a GW student arriving in Paris who experienced lost luggage, technology failures and serious homesickness. “Florence truly went above and beyond the call of duty to get this student settled,” Dr. Chernak said. “The parent described her as the student’s guardian angel.”
Heather Schoff, a coordinator in the Center for Student Engagement, and Trina Fletcher, a SEAS graduate student in engineering management, each received Student Choice Awards. Ms. Schoff coordinates the Third and Fourth-Year Experience program, the Emerging Leaders Program and the Experience D.C. Program, and was nominated both in the Student Choice category and in several other categories. Ms. Fletcher is the cofounder of Dream Girls, a mentoring program for girls living in Southeast D.C. Dream Girls has developed a partnership with SEAS and Anacostia Senior High School to help expose more young women to science, math and engineering.