2010 President's Award for Outstanding Service Recipients

Wilbert "Bert" H. Ahern

Wilbert "Bert" H. Ahern, Horace T. Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of History, University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM), has made extraordinary contributions to the University of Minnesota through its programs, policies and governance. His exceptional work and leadership, which spans more than four decades, includes support for American Indian and under-represented groups in higher education, curricular and pedagogical innovation, shared governance and institutional administration and public engagement. He is credited with developing the first two courses on African American history at UMM and continued to develop and teach courses on African American and American Indian history throughout his career. Professor Ahern has mentored countless students and faculty, and has provided a voice and a connection for under-represented groups. He played a pivotal role in shaping liberal arts curriculum at UMM. Professor Ahern was a leader in the initial development of First Year seminars at UMM and he served on planning committees for the UMM Summer Scholars Program and for the development of the Honors Program. In addition, he led a major reorganization of the UMM General Education Program, which was considered to be among the most significant changes ever made in the College's curriculum. He played a key role in the establishment of UMM's Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and in the transition of an ad hoc network of Bush faculty development grant administrators into the nationally known professional development organization, Collaboration for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Professor Ahern's service to the University of Minnesota is strong and extensive. He has served on numerous committees at all levels of the University, from UMM's Executive Committee (the steering committee for the Assembly) to campus task forces, search committees, to all-University committees such as the Senate Committee on Educational Policy, the All-University Honors Committee, and on presidential search committees. Professor Engin Sungur wrote, "Professor Ahern's service to UMM is second-to-none. It does not involve only some aspects of the campus life but all. He is the memory of our institution, the key player of UMM's history, the protector of the faculty, the voice of faculty, and the leader and initiator of important and difficult academic issues. Every member of the UMM community is indebted to him for the future that he prepared for them. Bert Ahern deserves this award more than anybody that I know of." Professor Ahern retired May 2010.

Randall "Randy" C. Croce

Randall "Randy" C. Croce, coordinator, Labor Education Service (LES), Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies (CHRLS), Carlson School of Management (CSOM), is committed to the mission of the University of Minnesota. He has demonstrated his commitment and dedication through his outstanding work with the Council of Academic and Professional Administrators (previously called ASAC, now referred to as CAPA) and University governance; in individual units of the University through extra video work and projects; through outreach in the community, particularly the community of organized workers and allies throughout the state; in Labor Education Service; and through his exemplary work in CHRLS and CSOM. Mr. Croce's job is primarily focused on creating video related to the outreach mission of LES. He has volunteered his knowledge and expertise to help other departments and programs. For example, he made five videos for the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking in the School of Social Work, which have been used to illustrate the process of forgiveness and reconciliation, and used worldwide. He has also made videos for Chicano Studies, produced a documentary on the Immigration History Research Center, produced an important documentary titled, "If Stone Could Speak/Se la pietra sapesse parlare," a story of the scalpellini (stonecutters) who left northern Italy from 1880 onward to settle in the granite and marble districts of Vermont. This documentary won the 2008 Richard Hathaway Award from the Vermont Historical Society for the year's foremost contribution to the history of the state, and Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Black Swamp International Film Festival, Toledo, Ohio. He has received over twenty awards for his video work. His contributions to University governance is described as profound and having a long lasting impact. He is credited with drafting the ASAC Constitution and Bylaws, which formed the basis of the documents that continue to govern CAPA. He also initiated the rewriting of the Regents Policy on P&A Appointments and represented CAPA in the first and several subsequent meetings of P&A employees from all Big Ten universities. In addition, he worked tirelessly to ensure representation of P&A employees on appropriate University Senate committees and on the effort to integrate P&A representation on the University Senate. As a University Senator, he was active and engaged. He also has served on other University and CSOM committees including the University Classification and Compensation Committee, Dispute Resolution Work Group, Big Ten Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), and the Senate Committee on Committees. He served on the CSOM Staff Retreat Planning Committee and chaired the Industrial Relations Center Committee on Space Needs. He wrote the first draft and oversaw revisions to the Constitution and Bylaws for his department. His nominator, Pam Stenhjem wrote, "Randy's work should be considered part of our state's historical treasure. His contributions provide critical historical documentation that is part of our state's heritage. He serves as an ambassador for the University and this in turn reflects in untold ways upon the University's reputation and relationship with the community at large. His contributions in service to the University, through governance and his work, are nothing short of exceptional."

Jay M. Denny

Jay M. Denny is a principal engineer in Facility Management's Energy Management Group. One of his first extraordinary contributions to the University of Minnesota was the start-up and initial testing of the St. Paul campus central chilled water facility. Through his efforts, 24 separate St. Paul campus buildings were connected to a single central chilled water system, saving the University over $1 million annually in energy and maintenance costs. Most recently, he has spent most of his waking hours working on the University's newest high technology research building, the Medical Biosciences Building (MBB) to bring it online and to make it a safe environment for researchers. Mr. Denny is always looking for ways to save energy while ensuring that the faculty, staff and students who live or work in the University's buildings are as comfortable as possible. His mantra is "Anyone can save energy by making people uncomfortable or by making them do without. A clever engineer's goal should be to save energy without anyone noticing." The Energy Management Group established a goal in the fall of 2008 to reduce energy consumption on campus by five percent, or approximately $2.25 million per year by the end of fiscal year 2010. With a few months to go, the University is within striking distance of reaching that goal. Jay Denny is credited with the effort, vision, and engineering expertise to save the University more than $2.1 million per year in reduced energy consumption. A dedicated and committed employee, Mr. Denny rarely takes time off for himself. The majority of his vacation hours are donated to other University employees in need of extra vacation time for medical reasons. On one occasion he took time off to support the University's 2009 Solar Decathlon Team. He volunteered his time and expertise to the University of Minnesota's student team that designed and built the University's solar powered house for the Department of Energy's sponsored international competition. It was selected as the top award winner in engineering and lighting among 19 entrants. His knowledge and expertise has had a positive influence on organizations and firms critical to the University's success such as Xcel Energy and the design and construction community throughout the Twin Cities area. Jim Green, Jay's supervisor wrote, "Jay's selection for this award would recognize one of this institution's true unsung heroes. During the course of my professional life I've had the good fortune of working with a handful of individuals whose extraordinary professional skills and knowledge were surpassed only by their commitment and dedication. I put Jay Denny at the top of that 28 year-in-the making list of all-time game changers."

Jean Freeman

Jean Freeman served as the head coach for the University of Minnesota Women's Swimming and Diving team for 31 years. She is described as an outstanding pioneer, leader, teacher, coach, mentor, volunteer and the kind of person who makes everyone around her better and who always brings a positive attitude, humor and dedication to any endeavor. During her tenure as head coach, she produced 27 winning seasons; won two Big Ten Championships in 1999 and 2000; won 208 dual meets; coached two national championships; 14 Big Ten Championships; 175 All-Americans, and over 1,000 student-athletes. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including being named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times; she received 20 American Swimming Coaches Certificate of Excellence Awards; and was inducted into the Minnesota Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She was also the recipient of the 1999 National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy. In 2000, she was inducted into the University of Minnesota "M" Club Hall of Fame and the University of Minnesota Aquatics Hall of Fame in 2006. She served as the coach of the USA National Team at the World University Games in South Korea. The Jean Freeman Endowed Scholarship was established in 1998 and is awarded annually to a female swimmer who signifies the "total person" concept, and who shows strong motivation, commitment and dedication to personal growth. Coach Freeman has made a significant impact in the implementation of Title IX and the promotion of equal opportunity for female student-athletes at the University of Minnesota and beyond. She has also been very active in promoting and developing programs for inner city and minority youth. For example, she put together a plan for a swim clinic held annually at the University Aquatic Center for youth in the community and Greater Minnesota. Joel Maturi, director, Intercollegiate Athletics, wrote, "Jean Freeman bleeds Maroon and Gold. She possesses a fierce pride in Minnesota. Her service as an educator and coach for 30+ years touched and influenced many lives. Each one of those individuals carries a part of the message learned from the many facets of Jean's broad philosophy of life and learning."

Stephen G. Granger

Stephen G. Granger is the former special assistant to the dean in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM). Prior to his position as special assistant to the dean (1987-1994), he served as the vice chancellor for Student Affairs (1963-1987) and director of counseling (1960-1962) at UMM. His academic expertise is in psychological testing and vocational counseling. When UMM opened in 1960, he was hired as the first director of counseling. During his administrative tenure, he was active in institutional research and had the responsibility for writing and administering two Title III grants amounting to $900,000, which supported a variety of campus initiatives. He was instrumental in preparing UMM's North Central Accreditation reports as well as authoring other important institutional reports and data books. He also taught the course Psychology of Individual Differences for many years. As the special assistant to the dean, Dr. Granger played a key role in the development of the College's program of Institutional Research and Management Information Systems. Described as a "champion of students," he served as the executive secretary for the Scholastic Committee and worked on non-instructional aspects of the academic program that dealt directly with the student body. He provided critical support for the development of UMM's Minority Student Program that achieved the largest percentage of students of color in the University of Minnesota system. In addition, he assisted in the areas of space allocation, class scheduling, and long-range physical planning. His research and writing about the physical plant paved the way for the core of the UMM campus to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (2003). He is credited with mentoring a generation of UMM staff from all levels of the administration, including chancellors. Elizabeth Blake, professor emeritus and former vice chancellor, Academic Affairs and dean, wrote, "Steve Granger cares deeply and passionately about the University of Minnesota, Morris and its students. He has a poet's vision of what UMM can be for a student, a vision of the transforming power of liberal education offered in an inspired, supportive academic community, and he has served that vision unwaveringly."

Caroline Clarke Hayes

Caroline Clarke Hayes, professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Technology, also serves as the faculty liaison to the Minnesota state legislature, and plays a significant role in promoting gender equity across the University of Minnesota (U of M). Her exceptional service to the U of M is demonstrated through her teaching and research activities, and through her dedication and service to her department, her college, and the University at large. As an outstanding teacher and researcher, she advises many graduate students and provides excellent classroom instruction. As a researcher, she recently served as PI on three grants, including one with NSF for more than $325K. She serves as co-chair of the Women's Faculty Cabinet and in that role she works tirelessly to improve the climate in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) not only on the Twin Cities campus but at the University of Minnesota Duluth as well. She has authored two chapters on women in computing and she has given presentations on women in science at 3M in St. Paul, and on women in computing at Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Her contributions to gender equity will impact the community of women faculty at the U of M and beyond, now and in the future. As a leader in her field, she is without a doubt, a role model for women in leadership positions in science. As faculty liaison, she has effectively represented the U of M to the state legislature. She has testified at committee hearings, attended countless higher education committee meetings, met with individual legislators, and talked with committee staff people. The two major legislative issues she has made significant contributions to include the funding of a solar test facility for the U of M and the impact of the light rail on research at the U of M. Because of her knowledge and expertise, President Bruininks appointed her as one of five faculty members on the President's Committee to Assess the Impact of the Central Corridor Light Rail on University research. Professor Alice Larson wrote, "Her enthusiasm and initiative in all the activities in which she is involved have made changes where progress has been slow or non-existent, improved the organization and communication within these institutions, and promoted the involvement of people who might not otherwise been active. She is a force of nature whose efforts have made an impact in a wider variety of organizations than most faculty members are able to reach."

Michael W. Howells

Michael W. Howells is a facilities supervisor, Northwest District, Facilities Management (FM), who defines outstanding service. He continually goes above and beyond. His dedication and commitment to the area of the West Bank that he is responsible for, Facilities Management and to the University in general, has been exemplary since he was hired in 2008. During that time, FM was going through a transformation to meet its goals, which included focusing on the customer, being cost effective and creating a culture of accountability. He not only stepped up but he took on added responsibilities after one supervisor left, which meant that he supervised two crews, totaling 50 people. For months, he covered up to 2 million square feet and walked up to 12 miles in a shift. In addition, he rewrote every custodian's job description based on the new standards and worked with and trained new staff after the rebid. He is also known for his strong leadership and mentoring of student employees. He does everything he can to empower them and to allow them to learn and grow in their skills and experience. He recognizes excellence in others. For example, he nominated one of his student employees for the President's Student Leadership and Service Award. Denise Thomas, his supervisor wrote, "Mike gives 200%. During the last year he faced multiple challenges, dealt with twice the number of staff and faced continual staff shortages - he has never given up. But I do know that without Mike, his dedication, commitment and hard work, the custodial transformation on the West Bank would not have succeeded. He is fun to work with, a wonderful team player and a tremendous asset to FM and to the University."

Joan S. Howland

Joan S. Howland, Roger F. Noreen Professor of Law, associate dean, Information and Technology, and director, Law Library, Law School, is the first Native American to serve on the faculty of the Law School. Her service to the Law School, its students, the University and to the American Indian community is exceptional. In addition to her responsibilities as director of the Law Library, Professor Howland teaches American Indian Law and History, and serves as a recruiter and mentor for Native American students and faculty. Because of her passion and commitment to diversity, she recruits students from other underrepresented groups as well. Her service to the Law School is unparalleled. Professor Howland is credited with single-handedly transforming the admissions function from a mechanical process to one that is prospective-student oriented. She has served on many important committees in the Law School, including three dean search committees, the Admissions Committee, the Strategic and Self-Study Committee, and the Dean's Consultative Committee. In addition, her service to the University includes membership on a number of Senate committees including the Judicial Committee, the Senate Committee on Committees, ROTC and the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs. Her service to her profession includes playing a key role in the work of the American Association of Law Libraries, serving as a member of the American Bar Association's Council of Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and on the Accreditation Committee. Professor Howland is also one of the authors of the McCrate Report, an influential document that has a profound impact on how best practices in legal education are thought about. She has also served on the American Indian Library Association for more than 20 years and has been its treasurer since 1992. Provost Sullivan wrote, "Across the professional career of Professor Howland, it is clear that she has made exceptional contributions to the Law School, to the University, and to the broader community, both locally as well as beyond. Anyone who has worked with or knows of Joan Howland's reputation will attest to her unyielding standards, her impeccable character, and the breadth and depth of her contributions throughout the community: academic, professional, and social. She honors all of us by her continued presence and contribution to our University and its extended communities."

Russell V. Luepker

Russell V. Luepker, professor, Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, a leading authority on clinical research training, is described as an incredibly valued mentor, colleague and friend. He played a pivotal role in the development of a masters program in clinical research, the first of its kind in the nation. The first class was held in 1998. Graduates of the program have gone on to become leading clinical researchers who are working to unlock the mysteries behind cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. Currently, he is involved in developing a similar program for research staff seeking a graduate degree in clinical research. He served as co-chair of the Academic Health Center's (AHC) Clinical Research Task Force (2002) that was charged to develop a vision and goals for clinical research. One of the outcomes resulted in the development of a Clinical Scholars Program that provided support to junior faculty members who have gone on to have successful research careers. The National Institutes for Health (NIH) provided him a K12 award, which led to the creation of the Career Advancement Program for Clinical Research Scholars (CAPS). The program has received $13 million in funding, which allows junior faculty the time and funding to conduct research at the start of their careers. He is dedicated and committed to the AHC and to the University. Within the AHC, he serves on the Advisory Board for the Building of Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWA), the Health Career Center Advisory Board and a NIH-funded Program Project Advisory Committee with the School of Nursing. Professor Luepker has been an active and effective member in University governance. He serves as the chair of the University Senate Committee on Finance and Planning and as a member of the Faculty Consultative Committee, the Strategic Procurement Advisory Committee, and the Advancing Excellence Steering Committee. In addition, he serves as a member of the Minnesota Department of Health Cardiovascular Steering Committee, the HealthPartners Research Foundation Advisory Committee and the Allina New Ulm Health Prevention Advisory Committee. Dr. Bernard Harlow, Mayo Professor and Division Head wrote, "Dr. Leupker is, and has been, very active in promoting the interests of the University and the cardiovascular health populations within our state and across the country. His University service has gone beyond that of the regular duties of faculty members, to an extent that 'beyond' does not do his level of service justice."

Daniel Svedarsky

Daniel Svedarsky is a Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, director, Center for Sustainability, and a certified wildlife biologist and researcher with the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC), University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC). He is described as an exemplary professor, adviser, peer mentor, researcher, and a leader in his profession. Most recently, he became the first director of UMC's Center for Sustainability. A visionary, Professor Svedarsky has spent four decades promoting UMC and the University of Minnesota nationally and internationally, particularly in the area of sustainability. Because of his leadership, nine different degrees and programs have been implemented throughout his career. He has made significant contributions to undergraduate education and advising, educating thousands of students. Professor Svedarsky is a true promoter of others. He has successfully nominated and/or developed countless nominating materials for UMC faculty, staff and students as he constantly promotes a culture of encouragement, positive growth and recognition. He has served on numerous committees both within and outside of the University including the Planning Advisory Committee for the UMore Park planning project and as a member of the executive committee of the University of Minnesota Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He has served as president-elect, president, and immediate past-president of The Wildlife Society. He also served as an official representative of The Wildlife Society at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in 2009. Professor Svedarsky is the recipient of several awards, including the Torch & Shield Award, which recognizes individuals who have provided leadership and who have aided in the development of the University of Minnesota, Crookston, NWROC and Extension. Professors Thomas Feiro and Philip Baird wrote, "Dan embodies a living history of the evolving mission and work of the University of Minnesota in northwestern Minnesota. He will forever be a part of UMC, as much as UMC is a part of his being." They referenced Professor Svedarsky's own words... "How do we serve? We start as individuals, by doing good work and the work that needs to be done. We must model integrity as we brighten the corner where we are." They concluded with the following statement, "Dan has certainly brightened the lives of those who have passed through UMC."

Paul Treuer

Paul Treuer is the director of the Knowledge Management Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He is primarily responsible for a department with a goal to "innovate - to build and implement state of the art tools for students, faculty and staff to manage their own personal, professional and educational records." He supervises staff who develop software, manage development and production servers, web applications, desktop support, database management, transformational leadership training, computer and classroom lab management, and assessment activities. Through his vision and leadership, many innovative programs have been implemented at UMD and at the University of Minnesota (U of M). His concern for students and the improvement of their learning is the driving force behind his work. He is the "brainchild" behind the University of Minnesota ePortfolio enterprise system, a tool to help students document their learning. He is fondly referred to as the "Godfather of the ePortfolio concept" in national and international circles. He was also the guiding force responsible for Grad Planner, a tool used by students to assist them in their degree planning. In addition, he is credited with the conception and implementation of a centralized, credit-based peer-tutoring program for UMD. It was started in 1998 and has since become a national model for tutoring programs. The program received a Minnesota award as "one of the best ideas," from the College Reading and Learning Association. He co-chaired a cross functional team charged to redesign the Solon Campus Center, which would make the building more attractive and welcoming to prospective students. Because of his extraordinary contributions to this project, Mr. Treuer was awarded a UMD Outstanding Achievement Award. Julie Westlund, director of Career Services, wrote, "I am continually amazed by Paul's ideas and his ability to accomplish so much. I know of no other person at the University who is so dedicated, selfless and inspirational. His service has indeed been exceptional."

Karen M. Wolterstorff

Karen M. Wolterstorff, associate to the dean, Institute of Technology (I.T.), has served as chief of staff in the Institute of Technology for the past fifteen years. She serves as the chief advisor to the dean, associate deans, department heads and department administrators. In addition, she plays an important role in establishing and implementing policy, provides administrative oversight and leadership to the college, acts as a primary contact to many Twin Cities campus administrators, and works to ensure that the College's directives and initiatives are followed. She is considered to be an expert in labor relations, human resources, physical resources, and on administrative policy. She is described as someone who is dedicated to the University and cares deeply about its future. Ms. Wolterstorff is a compassionate leader who strives to bring people together to work toward a common goal. She is credited with leading the effort to develop an I.T. Administrators-of-the-Future training program, designed to groom future leaders of the College. She also volunteered to manage the re-branding of the Institute of Technology as the "College of Science and Engineering." Dean Steven Crouch wrote, "Karen's contribution to the re-branding effort so far has been enormous, and I am confident that she will help steer us to a highly successful outcome." Her commitment to the University has been demonstrated through her service on numerous committees and task forces. She has served on the University's Benefits Advisory Committee (5 years), as a collegiate representative for the Community Fund Drive (5 years), and has served six times on the contract negotiations team. She has also volunteered at the University's staff day event and I.T.'s Sneak Preview for visiting high school students. She has served on the President's Policy Improvement Project Committee, the Strategic Positioning Committee and as a mentor in the President's Emerging Leaders Program. Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos wrote, "Karen is a major asset for the Institute of Technology and the University community as a whole because of her exemplary dedication and tireless and unwavering commitment to excellent service."