2018 President's Award for Outstanding Service

2018 PAOS Recipients

Recipients are pictured above with President Eric W. Kaler and Professor Robert Geraghty, chair, President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee, at a reception at Eastliff on June 14, 2018.

Kumar G. Belani

Kumar G. Belani, Distinguished International Professor, BelaniAcademic Health Center; professor of anesthesiology, medicine and pediatrics, School of Medicine; adjunct professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, has served the University for almost his entire career (40 years). He earned his master’s degree (1983) and did his residency (1976-1979) at the University of Minnesota. Belani pioneered the development of pediatric solid organ transplant anesthesia and is a leader in this field. He has worked tirelessly to build health care provider capacity in India by creating medical education programs at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences and other international health care organizations. In addition to setting up a bone marrow transplant center and the Child Family Life Services in Bangalore, India, Belani has been the driving force in organizing the Transesophageal Conference (TEE) in India, which trains hundreds of young faculty from throughout Asia. Belani has also organized local community and health care community events, which facilitate dialogue with world dignitaries who bring affordable healthcare to the poor. Because of his commitment to the University’s visibility and progress in the global arena, medical students have experienced rotations in different nations with many different cultures. He has led numerous faculty programs to India as well. Belani has served in key leadership positions of several charitable organizations, including president of Friends of St. John’s; board chair, Priyanka Foundation; trustee, Hindu Society of Minnesota; volunteer consultant for the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States; and as an honorary consultant for the U.S. Medical Aid Foundation. Belani’s service to his college and the University is outstanding; he acted as interim department chair and has served on many department and University committees, including the Admissions Committee for over 10 years. One person wrote, “He is an exemplary individual dedicated not only to the caring of his patients but also to the community here in Minnesota within and outside the University with individuals from all over the world.”

Karen Brown

Karen Brown, director, Interdisciplinary Center for theBrown Study of Global Change (ICGC), Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, earned her master’s degree (1984) and her PhD (1997) from the University. She was one of 12 MacArthur Fellows in the inaugural year of the MacArthur Program. After completing her PhD, she assumed the position of coordinator of the MacArthur/ICGC, then went on to become assistant, associate, co-director, and now, director, of ICGC. Throughout her career, she has spearheaded, encouraged, and enabled outstanding modeling of transnational, cross-border, and path-breaking interdisciplinary intellectual work for promoting social justice. For over 20 years, Brown has served as a mentor to students, many of whom have gone on to assume leading academic positions across the globe. In her role as director of ICGC, she has helped to reposition the University’s international standing, especially in relation to the Global South, which has also helped to shape University policy. She has been a principal investigator on many grants that have linked University faculty and staff with funding agencies nationally and internationally. She is credited with securing a five-year grant of almost $1 million from the Mellon Foundation to support an academic partnership with the University of Western Cape, which includes fellowships for University of Minnesota students undertaking doctoral research in southern Africa. Brown is also active and committed to international arts exchanged with South African artists. Her service to the University is exemplary. She is a member of a team charged with producing a strategic plan for accomplishing the University’s engagement mission as well as playing a key role in shaping the University’s Grand Challenges Research Initiative. Brown has served on numerous committees, organized conferences, and participated on panels. Her nominators wrote, “We can think of no other administrator on campus who has done as much as Dr. Brown has to build, lead, and nourish a diverse, engaged, and innovative community of students and faculty members who are committed to fostering social justice at the University of Minnesota, in the wider community, and across the globe.”

Steve Cisneros

Steve Cisneros earned both his master’s degree (2004)Cisneros and his PhD (2016) from the University of Minnesota. He is the director of the President’s Emerging Scholars Program (PES), Office of Undergraduate Education, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, a merit-based scholarship and student success program for select undergraduate students. The program currently serves 2,165 students. Cisneros is credited with being the primary designer of the program and creating a culture of care, while working on behalf of undergraduate students at the University for 15 years. Numerous testimonies from students demonstrate that Cisneros has made significant impacts on their lives. He has been a tireless advocate for PES students securing scholarships to support their academic endeavors such as study abroad, internships, and research; he created partnerships with Nice Ride to provide free bike access for Pell-eligible students and One Stop Student Services to offer FAFSA workshops and financial literacy initiatives. Cisneros has also created programs, trainings, and spaces that bring forth student accounts and conversations to raise awareness about inequities and diverse student experiences. Cisneros has served on numerous University committees such as the First Generation Institute Planning Committee, Focusing on the First Year Conference Planning Committee, and the Welcome Week Advisory Committee, to name a few. He is truly an inspiration to others. One person wrote, “Through his attitude, commitment, integrity, collaboration, and true belief in the work he does, Steve has influenced a shift in the feel of the culture for students from underrepresented backgrounds. His intelligent and compassionate approach to student programming has created opportunities and spaces for students that helped to transcend the barriers they may have experienced in the past.”

Sue Elm

Sue Elm, clinical systems supervisor, School of Dentistry,Elm University of Minnesota Twin Cities, graduated from the Dental Assisting Program in 1975 and joined the School of Dentistry as an employee in 1978. Over her 40-year career, Elm has positively influenced thousands of students, patients, faculty, and staff through her dedication and commitment to dental education. Her support, mentoring, and guidance to students is described as remarkable. She has played a key role in partnering with other dental assisting programs around the Twin Cities area to bring dental assisting students to the School of Dentistry. She works tirelessly to support and lead students in preparing them for various board exams; volunteers her time to Give Kids a Smile Day; and spends many weekends assisting with Continuing Education programs. Elm is described as respectful, unassuming, committed, hard working, competent, a great supervisor, professional, and valued. One person wrote, “I cannot imagine anyone more qualified for the President’s Award for Outstanding Service than Ms. Sue Elm. Her commitment and service to the University can only be admired and serves as a standard for all of us.”

Thomas Gilliam

Thomas Gilliam is the administrative director, Master of Healthcare GilliamAdministration (MHA) and Executive Programs in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He is credited with the success of the Emerging Physician Leaders Program (EPLP), which was developed in 2008 to teach the basics of servant leadership and adaptive change to junior faculty physicians. Since the program was launched, more than 100 physicians have completed the curriculum. Gilliam also worked with faculty to design and offer a primarily online curriculum for the MHA program, which has brought physicians, nurses, healthcare administrators, and others to the University from around the state and other countries to obtain their MHA degree. Because of his expertise in the areas of healthcare systems and curriculum development, Gilliam has been invited by other nations such as Saudi Arabia to consult, assess, and advise them on their healthcare systems. Currently, he is collaborating with Dr. Phillip Kibort from Children’s Hospital and Clinics to create a healthcare dyad leadership college directed at serving the needs of the marketplace by building the capacity of healthcare leaders. He is described as a strong mentor, consummate listener, seasoned leader, wise, and generous. One person wrote, “In the decade I have known and worked with Tom Gilliam, he has single-handedly influenced the career development of an entire generation of physicians at the University of Minnesota. Ultimately, the care he shows towards those he mentors is a reflection of his love for the University of Minnesota. I can think of no one with whom I have worked who is more deserving of the President’s Award for Outstanding Service than Tom Gilliam.”

John Hamlin

John Hamlin, professor, Department of Anthropology, Sociology & HamlinCriminology, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to his department, college, and the University. He is described as a legendary role model University citizen, respected scholar, esteemed educator, and tireless servant. Over the course of his 35-year tenure, Hamlin has served on too many committees to list; however, just in the last five years, he has served as chair of the Faculty Council (now Faculty Senate), chair of the Executive Committee of the Campus Assembly, and president of the faculty union. Earlier in his career, he acted as coordinator for the Criminology Program; served on the Women’s Studies Advisory Board; was department head; and took a leadership role in web development and helped design Grad Planner. In addition, he has been active in initiatives to combat sexual harassment and support Title IX, serving on task forces, committees, and boards. Hamlin has also served on numerous hiring committees and has earned distinctions for his work with students with disabilities and students of color. Hamlin’s record of service is extraordinary. One person wrote, “The sum of Dr. Hamlin’s service work at the University of Minnesota Duluth is unequivocally superb in its quantity and quality. He exemplifies all the  President’s Award for Outstanding Service stands for.”

Lyndel King

Lyndel King, director and chief curator, Weisman Art Museum, University Kingof Minnesota Twin Cities, earned her master of arts degree (1971) and her PhD in art history (1982) from the University of Minnesota. She has served the University for more than 40 years and will step down from her position in July 2020. Described as a passionate advocate for the arts, King is credited with taking the museum from the mezzanine of Northrop Auditorium to a world-class art museum in a building designed by Frank O. Gehry. She led the program planning, fundraising campaign, architect selection, and design phase of the museum, and opened the museum on time and under budget. The museum was built entirely on private funds. Its stellar reputation is due in part to King’s outstanding work, scholarship, broad network, and advocacy. Under her leadership, the collection has grown from 9,000 to over 25,000 works of art, and she has overseen more than 200 exhibitions. The museum is one of the top teaching university museums in the country. In addition, King has served on numerous boards and committees, both at the University and in her field. One person wrote, “Dr. King advances museum scholarship locally, nationally and internationally, and leads a myriad of programs that allow students, faculty, staff, and our greater community to gain a deeper understanding of art, and our particular collections, through exhibitions, publications, advocacy, lectures and symposia. Her commitment to the arts and to the role of the arts in higher education is inspirational.”

Sharon Kressler

Sharon Kressler, department administrator, N.H. Winchell School of EarthKressler Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, has gone well beyond her regular duties. She is credited with rebuilding her department into a well-run and productive department and was central to its move from Pillsbury Hall to Tate Hall last fall. She facilitated the move out of 130 years of historical archives, equipment, and artifacts and worked with University archivists and librarians to ensure that valuable historical documents and other items were preserved; because of Kressler’s commitment and leadership, important institutional history was saved. Kressler also understood the importance of the history and the affection for Pillsbury Hall by alumni, faculty, students, and staff. To recognize this, Kressler organized a two-day “Farewell to Pillsbury” event and invited alumni and friends of the department to tour the new building, Tate Hall, as well as Pillsbury, including the attic! The event was strategically planned to coincide with the annual student awards ceremony and luncheon. She transitioned the department all while doing her regular duties of running a department. In addition, Kressler, who is known for staying on top of University issues, spearheaded the coordination of training on preventing sexual harassment for all faculty and staff in her department, which was well received. One person wrote, “It’s a remarkable person who can remain calm and effective when undergoing significant change. Sharon was, and is, a true leader. The University is a better place because of employees like Sharon.”

Rebecca Masterman

Rebecca Masterman, associate program director, UMN Bee Squad, MastermanDepartment of Entomology, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and extension educator, MN Extension, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, received a bachelor of arts in history (1993) and a PhD in entomology (2000) from the University of Minnesota. She joined the University in 2012 to become the coordinator of the Bee Squad, which she expanded to include programs to mentor beekeepers, as well as teach them the importance of native bees and landscaping for bees. Masterman developed a service for companies and homeowners where Bee Squad personnel (now 22 full and part-time employees) serve as the beekeeper on their property. This program, titled “Hive to Bottle,” is very popular with many homeowners and several local fortune 500 companies, golf courses, art museums, and hotels, which have seen positive changes to their properties as a result of the beehives. Other Bee Squad programs under Masterman’s leadership include Bee Arts, Bee Veterans, Bee Cruise to the Caribbean, and Bee Ambassadors. One of her favorite accomplishments is the creation of the “Mite Check” program, which helps beekeepers monitor their colonies for a deadly parasitic mite. She is a passionate speaker on behalf of bees, educating the public on current issues that threaten the bee population. Masterman has also been an effective fundraiser for the newly built Bee and Pollinator Research Lab and bee research in general. One person wrote, “The University of Minnesota is fortunate to have such a brilliant, caring, hard working individual as a graduate and a member of the staff who is now (through the University) making a difference in this world for bees, pollinators, and the environment.”

Colin McFadden

Colin McFadden, technology architect, Liberal Arts Technologies and McfaddenInnovation Services (LATIS), College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, is described as a pioneer in the higher education space, and an exemplary employee who exudes operational excellence. He earned his master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2016, and is credited with being instrumental in supporting various colleges and schools through his myriad time-saving computer applications. He is the innovator behind z.umn.edu, Media Mill, ChimeIn, and Elevator. Each of these were built with the purpose of providing tools that would help solve problems and push teaching, learning, and research to the next level. Currently, more than 40 instances of Elevator, a cloud-based digital asset storage repository, are in use across the University. This application allows users to easily upload, organize, share, and deliver content to their classes and constituents. McFadden’s outreach efforts go beyond the University. He happily shares his time and technology expertise with local community groups such as the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association, and at the Big 10 he has helped build a community of software developers in the liberal arts and science colleges to share tools and ideas. One person wrote, “Some may confuse Colin with one of our best young faculty. He’s a thought leader, he’s a teacher, he’s an innovator, and he actively serves our community. But Colin is too busy to be tied to a single discipline. He is already one of the most successful and exceptional staff leaders of the University.”

Abdi Ismail Samatar

Abdi Ismail Samatar, professor, Department of Geography, Environment &Samatar Society, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, joined the faculty in his department in 1993. He is described as a world-class scholar, a global citizen, a public intellect, and a dedicated member of our University community, who through his work has promoted social justice around the world. He is credited with contributing to the reconstruction of war-torn Somalia, the strengthening of civil society in post-apartheid South Africa, and rebuilding educational sites in conflict zones in Africa. Not only did Samatar assist in securing resources to help re-establish schools and colleges, he also taught at the newly established Amoud University in Northwest Somalia. He has also served as an appointed member of the Mogadishu University advisory board and as a volunteer instructor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. In recognition of his significant contributions and efforts, Samatar was appointed by the parliament of Somalia as a member of the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission to monitor and oversee the country’s recent presidential election. In addition, his contributions to the Minnesota and International Somali communities are significant. He is the author of four books, which examine the critical problems of development and the construction of sustainable societies, the meaning of effective democracy, and the role of the post-colonial state. Over the past decade, Samatar has served as director of Graduate Studies and as associate chair and chair of the Department of Geography. He also has served on numerous department, college, and University committees. One person wrote, “Abdi Samatar has personified that element of the Regents Mission on University Service, Outreach and Community Engagement. I can think of no member of our University community more deserving of the President’s Award for Outstanding Service for 2018 than Professor Abdi Ismail Samatar.”

Terri Sutton

Terri Sutton is a communications associate in the Department of English inSutton the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is described as the “public face” of the Department of English. For more than a decade, her contributions have greatly enhanced the undergraduate student experience through her work managing the department’s internship program, supervising communication-related directed studies, organizing the annual undergraduate conference, and engaging with students. Sutton is credited with helping to raise the public profile of the English department, and she also played an important role in the campaign to secure legislative funding for the renovation of Pillsbury Hall, which will be the new home of the English department. Sutton is particularly well known for her management and coordination of the Esther Freier Endowed Lecture Series, which brings in writers who have won major awards such as the Nobel, Pulitzer or Booker prizes to give lectures. These events, which are free and open to the public, draw large audiences from the University and the Twin Cities community. In addition, she created and oversees an internship program for undergraduates with Twin Cities organizations that provide career advancement, as well as managing the annual English Undergraduate Student Conference. She also conducts communication-related studies with undergraduate students. One person wrote, “Terri Sutton helps put the University of Minnesota at the forefront of international literacy and critical discourses. She’s the University of Minnesota version of the New York Review of Books.”