University Celebrates Faculty and Staff Excellence

Annual event recognizes members of the George Washington community who honor university values.

Celebration of Excellence
Senior Matthew Wilson greets Vice President for Human Resources Sabrina Ellis (right) after winning the Student-Staff Excellence Award.
November 11, 2013

The George Washington University paid tribute to faculty and staff members who have shown exceptional dedication to the university at the 12th annual Celebration of Excellence held on Thursday.

Five awards were given out: the Staff Excellence Award, the Faculty Excellence Award, the Student-Staff Excellence Award, the Departmental Excellence Award and the Collaborative Partnership Award. Three finalists were chosen in each category after being nominated by their colleagues.

Vice President for Human Resources Sabrina Ellis described the values that GW has adopted—communication, community, diversity, excellence, learning, respect, service, sustainability and teamwork—and said that the individuals nominated for awards have consistently demonstrated these qualities. She said they have also shown a commitment to collaboration and working together to achieve university goals.

“They woke up every day and said, ‘I’m going to be excellent.’ They have demonstrated that resolve,” Ms. Ellis said.

She introduced President Steven Knapp, who also emphasized the importance of collaboration and how faculty and staff members work together to help not just the GW community but the local D.C. community as well. He asked everyone nominated for an award to stand up to be recognized by the audience.

“It’s impressive to see how many of you are appreciated for what you do every day at George Washington,” Dr. Knapp said.

Michael Morsberger, vice president for development and alumni relations, presented the Student-Staff Excellence Award, which highlighted the accomplishments of a student staff member. Senior Matthew Wilson won for his dedication to the Center for Student Engagement.


“Matthew is an exceptional student coordinator for finances, and has gone above and beyond as a community builder and advocate for student organizations,” Mr. Morsberger said.


He read from Mr. Wilson’s nomination, in which a recommender said, “Matthew is guided by his unwavering dedication to diversity, as well as his guiding principles of high ethical standards and personal integrity, lifelong learning and personal commitment to transformative and engaged activism through education.”


Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz and Ms. Ellis presented the Departmental Excellence Award. The Facilities Operations Reuse Team won for their work developing reuse systems within the GW community. The team has repurposed and donated approximately 3,000 pieces of furniture and given them to GW offices or local charities.


“This effort saves the university money and also supports our overall sustainability goals to serve as better stewards for the environment,” Mr. Katz said.


Provost Steven Lerman took the stage to honor a faculty member for what he called exemplifying “the pinnacle of passion for teaching and learning.” Tara Radin, assistant professor of strategic management and public policy in the School of Business, received the Faculty Excellence Award.


The person who nominated Dr. Radin called her “truly an example of an outstanding professor who goes beyond her duties to help her students and the overall GW community.”


Vice President and Secretary Aristide Collins and Barbara Porter, chief of staff in the president’s office, recognized the Committee on International Student Success (CISS) as an example of an outstanding collaborative partnership. GW’s international student population has grown dramatically, Ms. Porter said, largely in part because of the efforts of CISS. The international student population totaled 3,134 in 2013—an increase from 1,800 in 2005.  


“The committee includes over 25 members from offices and departments across the university, and their efforts have enhanced the student experience for our expanding international student enrollment,” Ms. Porter said.


Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa and Vice President for External Relations Lorraine Voles presented the final category of staff excellence. The award, which 300 individuals were nominated for, went to Director of Research Assessment and Facilitation Patti Lieblich.


“She works across all 10 schools and genuinely cares about researchers’ interests and professional development. The most distinguished researchers typically ask to work with her, while junior faculty are advised to seek her out as they begin to pursue funding opportunities,” Ms. Voles read from Ms. Lieblich’s nomination.



Celebration of Excellence Finalists

November 11, 2013

Staff Excellence Award

Patti Lieblich
David Ruda
Taylor Wood

Faculty Excellence Award

Tara Radin
Michael Bamdad