2004 President's Award for Outstanding Service Recipients

2004 Recipients of President's Award for Outstanding Service

2004 Recipients of the President's Award for Outstanding Service pictured with President Robert H. Bruininks.

S. Bruce Benson

S. Bruce Benson is Associate Director of Professional Relations in the College of Pharmacy and has been at the University of Minnesota since 1975. In addition to his responsibilities as the principal alumni contact, he teaches courses dealing with counseling, death and loss, orientation to pharmacy, and mentoring. He has also lectured on chemical dependency, chronic pain, and the treatment of depression. His contributions to the profession of pharmacy are renowned throughout the state. He has made a significant and long-lasting impact on the public through his work on numerous committees such as the Minnesota Pharmacy Association, the Health Professions Services Program, and the role he played in the development of a pharmacist role model with the Sister Kenny Institute for Chronic Pain Rehabilitation. One person wrote, "It would be impossible to count the number of lives that Bruce Benson has touched. It is amazing the impact that one individual has on the life of another and how this impacts so many others! Bruce could be called the 'University of Minnesota Ambassador,' due to his love for his students, his profession, and the University of Minnesota. Everything Bruce does is directed at benefiting the students."

Marty Bussman

Marty Bussman is an Electromechanical Specialist from the department of Classroom Engineering. He has served the University for more than thirty years. His commitment to customer service is extraordinary and he exemplifies the highest standards of service, professionalism, and dedication to the University of Minnesota. He has provided technical service to thousands of members of the University community; providing service at numerous public events featuring notable speakers and dignitaries, such as former President Jimmy Carter, His Holiness the Dali Lama, Nelson Mandella, and many, many more. His ability to make certain every technical detail of an event is taken care of is known throughout the University, as is his exceptional positive attitude. One person wrote, "Marty Bussman has earned the trust and gratitude of many at the University who rely on his good judgment, his expertise, and work ethic. Selfless in his service to the University, he is one of the finest examples of University employees."

Martin Dworkin

Martin Dworkin, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Microbiology, Medical School, is world renowned for his pioneer work on bacteria as social and multicellular organisms. Because of this work, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences where he currently serves as Vice President and Midwest Council Chair. He is described as an outstanding scholar and teacher, and has been involved at every level of educational policy and curriculum. He has assumed several leadership roles at the University of Minnesota, including the role as Director of the Academic Health Center Leadership Task Force. This task force was charged with the responsibility of creating a vision for all the schools and colleges in the AHC that would result in a strategic plan for the research, education, and outreach designed to shape and sustain a healthy citizenry now and in the future. He has served on numerous University committees such as the Liberal Education Task Force, which reshaped undergraduate education requirements. He has given his time and energy to Jewish Studies and to the University Jewish Student Center, the Hillel Foundation, and was active in establishing the Chair of Jewish Studies. He is also a dedicated musician and has his own band, the Prairie Heym Klezmorim, which plays klezmer (Jewish folk) music. One person wrote, "In short, Marty is a treasure. He is an outstanding scholar and researcher, yet he does not close himself up in his lab. He delights in building relationships between faculty and students and building bridges between the campus and the community."

Patty Finstad

Patty Finstad is the Director of the University of Minnesota Child Care Center. She has been a strong advocate for children, families, and high quality child care at the University for more than twenty years. She is considered a national and statewide leader in early childhood development. She has served on numerous University task forces and committees that contribute to developing early childhood education or improving the work environment for University faculty and staff. She developed the Kami M. Tally Reading and Resource Center and is an active participant in the Work/Life Consortium. She serves as a board member on the National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers, the Minnesota Child Care Workers Coalition, and was appointed by the Governor to the State Legislative Task Force on Child Care Education. "Patty Finstad sees her mission clearly as one of serving the University and its children and families," one person wrote.

Robert O. Fisch

Robert O. Fisch, Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, and Holocaust survivor, came to the United States in 1956 after being a Hungarian freedom fighter in the uprising against the communist regimen. He served the University for forty years as a teacher of medical students and pediatricians, not only in the science of medicine, but in the art of health care as well. His landmark work in the field of dysmetabolism, concentrating on phenylketonuria (PKU), resulted in a standardized test for PKU on all newborns within the first day of life. Children with this disease are microcephalic and have an inordinate number of physical anomalies. He also established a technique whereby a woman affected with the disease (who was normal by virtue of the fact that she was on an phenylalanine-free diet) could have a normal baby by means of fertilizing her egg with her husband's sperm and having another woman carry the baby. He is also recognized nationally and internationally in the arts. His exhibit, Light from the Yellow Star, was on the theme "out of evil comes good." This exhibit has been shown at the Weisman, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Holocaust Museum in Washington as well as in Hungary, Austria, and Israel. He has taken his work to over 100 schools throughout Minnesota, talking with students about the Holocaust, the commonplace of evil, and the human capacity for kindness. One person wrote, "Robert Fisch is a scientist, educator, artist, and humanitarian. While facing extraordinary personal challenges he has evolved a tableaux that enriches and uplifts everyone with whom he comes in contact."

Allen Isaacman

Allen Isaacman, Regents Professor of History, College of Liberal Arts, is known for his commitment to service, scholarship, mentoring of students, and institutional leadership. He has shaped the development of an international community of scholars and professionals in international affairs at the University of Minnesota and throughout the world. Since his arrival in 1970, he has been devoted to enlarging the channel for minority students, to internationalizing the curriculum, and to training a new generation of scholars from Africa and other parts of the developing world. Under his leadership, the History Department created a graduate program in the History of African Peoples, linking the strengths in U.S., African, and Latin American History. He led in the establishment of a series of partnerships with other colleges and universities and became the founding director of the MacArthur Program/Interdisciplinary Center for the study of Global Change. The MacArthur Program has had a transforming impact on graduate training across the university, breaking down barriers between colleges and schools in the humanities, social sciences, and professional education. His co-nominators wrote, "We share his commitments and have benefited from the changes his work has wrought in the university, its graduate teaching mission, its diverse student body, and its intellectual community."

Judy Y. Kirk

Judy Y. Kirk is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the University of Minnesota Foundation. She has devoted more than thirty years of service to the University. She is described as a visionary and an outstanding leader. She was instrumental in creating systems, processes, and personnel critical for the creation, maintenance, and growth of the University's top-ranked development effort. Under her leadership, the Foundation's information technology has been transformed and is a national model. The highly successful Campaign Minnesota was in large part a result of her efforts and the structure she created. Planned gift production increased by 300%. It is the most successful completed campaign of any public university. She has been an outstanding advocate for Deans, Chancellors, Directors, and Collegiate Development Officers regarding fundraising challenges and opportunities. She serves as a member on numerous boards and committees such as the United Way Education Cabinet, the American Council on Gift Annuities, and the Rotary Club of Minneapolis. "Where necessary or appropriate, she presided with grace and elegance. She is truly an asset to the University of Minnesota," one person wrote.

Sally Gregory Kohlstedt

Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, came to the University of Minnesota in 1989 as Professor, Program in History of Science and Technology, and as Associate Dean in the Institute of Technology. She is a scholar, teacher, and mentor. She is described as a vital wellspring of energy and mentoring for graduate students in the History of Science program. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of university women. Among one of her many achievements was the increased visibility of women in the Institute of Technology. She provided support to women faculty and students in a way that had not been done before. She created the Program for Women in IT, and was the main inspiration for an international conference on Women, Gender, and Science. In the late 1990's, she took on the Directorship of the Center for the Advanced Feminist Studies, at a particularly critical time. She also provided remarkable leadership while on the Commission on Women. As president of the University's Campus Club, she provided leadership and tremendous effort to bring the Campus Club into the twenty-first century as a center for the intellectual and social life of the university. One person wrote, "Her efforts and leadership have been nothing short of heroic."

Bonnie M. Marten

Bonnie M. Marten is a Project Assistant in Human Resource Management Systems Payroll. For twenty-six of the past thirty years, she worked for Housing and Dining Services in a variety of roles. She serves as Secretary of the Civil Service Committee and is a representative on the Compensation/Classification Committee. She is an exceptional role model for volunteerism both internally and externally to the University community. Over the years, she has consistently provided superior representation in several leadership efforts. She has been very active on many local and national organizations such as The National Association of College & University Food Services, Chair of University SAVE (Suggestions are Valued and Effective), Office for University Women, University Communicator's Forum, Chair of the Big Ten Payroll Manager's Conference, Women of Today (a non-profit community service to make the community a better place to live), and Volunteer Mediator at North Hennepin Mediation Service. One person wrote, "Thanks to Bonnie's commitment to excellence and generosity of her time, the University enjoys a strong, trusting relationship in her role as Assistant Project Manager and role model for outstanding service for the University of Minnesota."

Steven R. Poppe

Steven R. Poppe began working at the University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in 1976. Over the past ten years, he has transformed the Garden at the WCROC into a regional showcase. While most of the plants in the Garden are part of research, many are now designed into appealing gardens that attract more than 1,200 visitors to the annual Horticulture Night. Through his dedication and hard work, a Heritage Garden was created. This Garden contains a house fa?ade surrounded by plants that would have been with a prairie home 100 years ago. The Garden also serves as a place where people who have been instrumental in WCROC history are recognized. He is now working with the city and local groups to complete a trail system that will connect the Garden with the city and a popular local park/campground. He has established and organized an 18-person Advisory Committee to guide and build his vision for the Garden. This group developed a Master Plan around the uniqueness of the West Central Minnesota Agriculture and the Prairie. One aspect of this plan is to build a Children's Garden. Because of his commitment and opportunities he has given students, several who have worked in the Gardens have changed their major to Horticulture. He is described as an outstanding horticulturist and a true ambassador for the University of Minnesota. One person wrote, "Steve Poppe is an exceptional credit to the University of Minnesota."

Frances A. Stark

Frances A. Stark is a Community Program Specialist in General College (GC). She is also an advisor for TRIO Student Support Services program, which is a program that serves first generation, low income and disabled students. She has had a tremendous impact on students who have walked through her door. She dedicates her time and energy to work with students to teach them the skills necessary to build a community and to empower themselves. She is an active volunteer on numerous committees in General College. She has organized community events ranging from bagel breakfasts and potlucks to a children's book drive to donate to Books for Africa. She is responsible for organizing the Annual Spring Ice Cream Social that brings GC students, faculty, and staff together to celebrate the successes of TRIO students. She takes students to the Festival of Nations, coordinates them to attend the MAEOPP (Mid-American Association of Equal Opportunity Program Personnel) Regional Student Leadership Conference, and teaches them to write grants. She has been a member of the GC Civil Service Committee and has been a member of the PICA (Parents in Community Action) Head Start Program in Minneapolis for twenty years. "We all need a few everyday heroes to look up to but what we all yearn for are relationships with those people who I call the extraordinary ordinary," one person wrote. "Those that are ceaseless in their dedication and commitment, and they are that person who makes us reach a little higher - that is Frances Stark."

Roxanne Struthers

Roxanne Struthers is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing. She is an Ojibwe Indian scholar, nurse, and educator. She has made significant contributions in the areas of Native American student recruitment and retention, faculty and student knowledge about cultural diversity and health disparities, and funded research to develop and test public health nursing interventions for Native Americans. Her research in diabetes (an epidemic among tribes), use of tobacco, and menopause and heart disease among Native women, are examples of her dedicated work to improving the health of Native Americans and Alaska natives. She has been an active recruiter and advocate for Native American nurses locally, nationally, and internationally through one of her leadership roles as President-elect of the Native Alaska and Native American Indian Nurses Association. She has been instrumental in providing opportunities for Native Americans to become nurses through the Native Nursing Careers Opportunity Program grant and the American Indian M.S. to Ph.D. Nursing Science Bridge grant. She is a member of the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and the Health Resources and Services Administration, a committee charged with providing advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and to the U.S. Congress on nursing policy. "Dr. Struthers exemplifies the University of Minnesota faculty who serve their communities as a health professional, educator and researcher," one person wrote.

Jamie C. Tiedemann

Jamie C. Tiedemann is the Director of The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education. Under her leadership, the Aurora Center has grown from an office of two staff with the responsibility to provide advocacy to victims of sexual assault during the working hours, to an organization of 4.5 staff and 30 volunteers who provide crisis intervention and advocacy to victims of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The Aurora Center serves about 200 clients in crisis and over 2,000 people through educational efforts annually. She has created numerous partnerships within the University and with community agencies. Because of her efforts, the Aurora Center was the first campus sexual assault program in the country to have a joint policy with a campus police department for their investigators to conduct interviews in the program office, provide transportation for victims and advocates, and accompany victims and advocates to court hearings and trials. . She has been a committed advocate for all students for more than ten years. She is regarded as a national leader for campus violence awareness and prevention. She worked with Congressman Jim Ramstad to introduce legislation on the "Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights." This legislation was passed in 1992 and later signed into law by President George Bush. She also wrote the University of Minnesota's Sexual Assault Victim's Rights Policy. This policy provides guidance for all the University of Minnesota campuses regarding services for sexual assault victims. In recognition of her many accomplishments in campus violence prevention, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Aurora Center with the National Crime Victim Service Award. It was the first higher education program ever to receive the award. One person wrote, "She is an extremely valuable asset to the University of Minnesota. If all of us worked with the dedication, fervor, and commitment for others that Jamie does, our world would be a more wonderful place."

Richard A. Weinberg

Richard A. Weinberg is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Child Psychology and Co-Director, Irving B. Harris Training Center for Infant & Toddler Development, in the College of Education and Human Development. For more than thirty years he has exemplified what it means to be a faculty member at the University of Minnesota through his outstanding academic record and by truly practicing the meaning of a land-grant university. He has served in several administrative positions; on approximately 60 university committees and about 30 committees at the institute, college and department level. He has also represented his profession and the University on many committees at peer institutions. He is described as a senior scholar who is a mentor to students and develops faculty and peers across departments and colleges. His enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to his profession, scholarship, and community engagement are without equal. He has served as the chair of the University of Minnesota's "Children's Summit" Steering Committee and the Co-chair of the President's Initiative on Children, Youth and Families. In addition, he has served as the Athletics Faculty Representative, a position appointed by the President in consultation with faculty leaders in governance. In this role he has excelled as a national leader for intercollegiate athletics reform at the NCAA level. He represents the University of Minnesota at the Big 10 Conference as well as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He has been appointed to serve as Chair of the Big 10 Academic Eligibility Committee and serves on the NCAA Championships/Competition Cabinet. One person wrote, "It is difficult to capture the essence and impact of Rich Weinberg's contribution of service to the University of Minnesota. His fingerprints are on so many parts of the university and its intersection with the community, state, nation and world. Rich is a remarkable scholar but perhaps even more important, he is a remarkable person."