2012 President's Award for Outstanding Service Recipients

2012 recipients of President's Award for Outstanding Service

Recipients of 2012 President's Award for Outstanding Service pictured with Provost Karen Hanson and Jim Luby. 

Stanley G. Bonnema

Stanley G. BonnemaStanley G. Bonnema, senior administrative director in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering, joined the Department of Chemistry in 1970 and retired in 2009. He is credited with contributing to the strength of a department that now has 37 faculty, 220 graduate students, and 34 staff with an annual operating budget of more than $20 million. In addition to his regular responsibilities, he served as the key departmental representative on the renovation of Koltoff Hall, the largest construction project undertaken as a result of the University's bonding bill of 2004. This project overlapped with the implementation of the University's new enterprise financial system (EFS), which he also led for the department. Stanley's dedication and loyalty to the department, to the University, to the people who worked for him and to those he reported to is described as unwavering. His dedication was demonstrated not only through his exemplary performance on the job but also through his concern for others. He is well known for organizing seasonal gatherings, the new graduate student welcome, and staff recognition events. People fondly remember the songs Stanley would write and perform at staff retirement parties. In addition to his service to the University, he gave generously of his time to tutor at-risk youth in Minneapolis. One person wrote, "The significance and depth of Stan's contributions to the University cannot be overstated. The University should be hugely proud to have such a dedicated and valuable employee. He is a remarkable person."

Clinton Hewitt

Clinton HewittClinton N. Hewitt, emeritus associate professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Design, and former associate vice president for Campus Master Planning, served the University for almost 30 years. Described as one of the premier campus planners in the nation, Clint is credited with elevating the Twin Cities campus as a place of beauty, reflection, and recreation, and his fingerprints can be seen in the master plans of every campus throughout the University of Minnesota system. A visionary, he was instrumental in designing the 2,200-foot long outdoor space called Scholars Walk from the McNamara Alumni Center to the Mississippi River on the East Bank campus. He actively participated in every decision from the design, construction and naming, to the dedication in 2006. His commitment and view that the campus is a "living and breathing" entity, which interacts with the people who live, work and visit it, is evident in his life's work. For more than 20 years, Clint has taught other campus planners and managers through the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (a national organization of over 5,000 members from more than 1,500 colleges). He is a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and has chaired the ASLA's task force on recruitment of minorities to the profession. He is long-standing Gopher fan and supporter. Clint has served on the campus Jackie Robinson Fellowship Selection Committee, the Kirby Puckett Scholarship Selection Committee, and the Athletic Department Cultural Diversity Task Force. One person wrote, "Clint Hewitt is a man of indelible charm, a counselor, and an unparalleled servant of the University."

Sue Jacobs

Sue JacobsSue Jacobs is a dental assistant in Pediatric Dentistry in the School of Dentistry. She has provided outstanding service to the University of Minnesota for more than 35 years. Over the course of her career, she has worked with approximately 13 full-time faculty, 24 part-time faculty, 125 pediatric dental residents and roughly 2,400 dental students. In addition to her dental clinic responsibilities, she schedules children in the operating room to undergo dental treatment using general anesthesia. This requires her to work with interpreters, hospital scheduling staff, medical personnel, and scheduling pediatric dental residents. For Sue, providing exceptional patient care is her primary concern. Because of her dedication and commitment, patients and families know that they are well cared for and pediatric residents are mentored and guided. Sue's colleagues wrote about her phenomenal work ethic and service, her compassion, and how she serves as an inspiration to all who have worked with her. She is a role model for all to emulate. In addition, she is a volunteer for "Give Kids a Smile" and works on Saturdays at CHUCC Clinic, an off-site University partner for the Pediatric Residency Program. One person wrote, "You will not find anyone who is more committed to the University and our School of Dentistry than Sue Jacobs. She is the consummate example of a dedicated, hard-working professional and pleasant ambassador for our University."

Susan Kubitschek

Susan KubitschekSusan Kubitschek is the director of student programs in the College of Science and Engineering. For more than 30 years she has provided exceptional service to the University. One of the many important contributions Susan has made to her college and the University has been through the deep and lasting impact she has had on students. If it is supporting undergraduate student organizations, providing international experiences for undergraduates, supporting individual students, or approaching local industry for support for new student initiatives, she does it with dedication, enthusiasm, determination, and certainty. She is credited with the establishment of the 3M Scholar's Program, which became the model and pilot for a First Year Experience Course implemented in Fall 2011 for all new freshmen in the college. Susan is responsible for all major events held by the college for freshman recruiting, and she has begun a series of events to attract, retain and engage transfer students. She is a tireless advocate for student organizations in the college. Because of her leadership and effort, the college's student board went from a handful of dedicated students to 45. Susan played a vital role in the University's involvement and success in Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national pre-engineering program for middle schools and high schools. One of her responsibilities was to arrange for Summer Training Institutes (STI) for high school and middle school teachers from around the state and region. Again, because of Susan's leadership and ensuring that it was a good experience for those who participated, STI's have been offered on the Twin Cities campus since 2006. It is described as "a wonderful way of creating contacts in schools around the state and generating goodwill for the University." One former student wrote, "There are some people that have such a profound impact on your life that it feels impossible to adequately thank them. Susan's work and mentorship have indeed done this for me."

Ann S. Masten

Ann S. MastenAnn S. Masten, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, is a professor in the Institute of Child Development in the College of Education and Human Development. She joined the faculty ranks in 1986 and since then she has established an extraordinary record of service to her department, the college, the University and beyond. Ann is described as a dedicated, service-oriented researcher, leader, instructor, mentor, and human being. Internationally renowned for her research on resilience in children, she is credited with helping to initiate the Competence Longitudinal Study, a community-based project conducted in collaboration with the Minneapolis Public Schools. Under her leadership, this project produced a significant body of knowledge, theory, methods, and scholars devoted to understanding the development of competence and resilience in high-risk children. Because of Ann's expertise, she is highly sought after to respond to community concerns, especially where children have been exposed to extreme adversity. She has worked with the Cambodian war refugees in Minnesota that were victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide and she has trained professionals from Bosnia and Croatia on recovery programs for war-affected children and youth. In addition, she has served on numerous boards focused on the well being of children in Minnesota. She participated in statewide training for first responders in Louisiana prior to Katrina, and worked closely with faculty in New Orleans on research and policies directed at recovery post-Katrina. Ann has given of her time and expertise to the Wilder Foundation and to People Serving People. Her service to students is exemplary. Two people wrote, "No discussion of Ann Masten's service would be adequate without great attention to her care and concern for students. We could fill pages with examples of Ann going above and beyond for her graduate and undergraduate students. Ann approaches her students as people first, caring about and responding to them as individuals." Her track record of service to the University is long. She has served on many University committees such as the Regents Professorship Nominating Committee, the Graduate Education Council, the Faculty Education Advisory Committee, several search committees, and two terms as a University Senator. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for her teaching and research. Ann's service on professional organizations is equally as impressive. Currently, she is the president of the Society for Research in Child Development, and is a member of the U.S. National Committee for Psychology (appointed by the National Academies), to name a few.

William H. Miller

William H. MillerWilliam H. Miller is the NOvA Far Detector laboratory supervisor in the School of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science and Engineering, located at the University's Soudan Underground Laboratory in Ash River, Minnesota. He has served the College of Science and Engineering and the University with distinction for almost 30 years. It all started when he was initially hired as a construction worker to support the Soudan 2 experiment in its underground laboratory in 1985. Bill's fascination with the experiment began shortly after he was hired and the first of 240 5-ton modules of the experiment arrived. He served as the liaison between the Soudan Underground Lab and the Soudan Underground Mine State Park for 20 years, serving as the lead supervisor for the construction and operation of the Sudan 2 Proton Decay experiment. During his tenure, he led the outreach program for the Laboratory, which included a public summer visitor program and an open day for local residents. On open day, typically more than 500 visitors travel underground to learn about science at the Sudan Laboratory, and throughout the year, approximately 2,500 K-12 students visit. Bill worked with Minnesota State Parks to organize park interpreter-led public tours during the summer and fall of each year, which on average, 5,000 annually made the mile underground trip. He is a sought after speaker and has given 100's of public presentations at community service clubs, public and private schools, and local government agencies promoting the Soudan Underground Lab and NOvA Project. On March 17, 2011, a fire developed in the mine shaft of the Soudan Laboratory. Bill was out of town but returned immediately to direct the University's efforts in coordination with Minnesota State Parks to put out the fire and restore normal operations. He was one of the first people to enter the mine after the fire and went on to lead an extraordinary cleanup, which restored operation of the MINOS Detector in two months and the entire laboratory shortly after. Because of his leadership, the Department of Energy continued its support and the Minnesota State Parks found funds for the renovation. In 2009, the University began construction of the NOvA Far Detector Laboratory at Ash River, where Bill has focused his attention on the installation of the 15,000-ton, $150 million NOvA Far Detector. Not only is he responsible for the supervision of a large staff, but also with interacting with scientists, engineers, and technicians from local contractors, the Department of Energy and over 30 universities and institutes in several countries. One person wrote, "You have no better ambassador for 'Driven to Discover' within the State of Minnesota than Bill."

Michael J. Mullins

Michael J. MullinsMichael J. Mullins is a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature (FLL) in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is described as an excellent educator and advisor, and a dedicated colleague. His service to his department, college, and the University are exceptional. In his department, he works with the German Club, participates in Kaffeeklatsch, has served on the FLL scholarship selection committee, and promotes alumni-current student relations. He is considered to be a guiding voice in the governance of his college. He has served on the CLA Assembly Council, the CLA Teaching Committee, the CLA Student Affairs Committee, and the CLA Budget Committee. Michael's service on campus-wide committees includes the Educational Policy Committee (vice chair and chair), Physical Facilities Committee, UMD Budget Committee, and is an active voting member of the UMD Campus Assembly. Michael has also served as the departmental representative to the union (UEA). He is described as a dynamic force and driven to protect the rights of faculty while always maintaining a cooperative relationship with the administration. In addition, he is very active in supporting the University of Minnesota through his work with the legislature. As the UMD Legislative Liaison, Michael has met with well over 100 legislators from both parties during the last six years, discussing the consequences of reduced funding of higher education. His commitment to students is unparalleled. He is an outstanding teacher and mentor. He leads an annual three-week study abroad program to Potsdam Germany and has led several Undergraduate Research Opportunity Projects (UROPs). He is the recipient of the CLA Teaching Award and most recently was nominated for the Outstanding Faculty Award, given by the UMD's Student Awards program that annually recognizes three faculty members for their outstanding teaching and instruction and "their contributions to the UMD community, the educational advancement of students, and the general pursuit of knowledge by all." One person wrote, "In sum, in his twelve years at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Professor Michael Mullins has proven himself an exemplary University leader whose sense of justice and commitment to all members of the University community has strengthened the institution of which we are all proud to be a part."

Jennifred G. Nellis

Jennifred G. NellisJennifred G. Nellis, emeritus professor, Studio Arts, Division of Humanities, University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM), provided 33 years of truly outstanding service to the University and the Morris campus. She is a sculptor and an artist. Considered to be one of the pioneer faculty women at UMM, she has helped to shape the lives and careers of many junior faculty and students and has been an extraordinary mentor to them. She played a pivotal role in increasing the number of female faculty at UMM, the kinds of leadership opportunities afforded to women, and the gender of those in leadership positions. When she was hired at UMM in 1978, there was fewer than 20% full-time female faculty (on all in tenure lines). Before her retirement, those numbers more than doubled. Throughout her career she has actively advocated for diversity and because of her efforts and successes, she has opened many doors for others. She was the first female in the campus' history selected to serve as chair of the Division of Humanities at UMM in 2000. Under Jennifred's leadership, the department flourished. Her reputation to build on possibilities and improve experiences led campus leadership to seek her out to chair and serve on important committees such as the Athletics Task Force, the Budget Task Force, numerous Curriculum Committees, Scholastic Committees, Grievance Committees, Student Services Committees, the Minority Experience Committee, and the Consultative Committee, to name a few. At the University level, she served on several Senate Committees such as the Retirement Subcommittee, the Library Committee, the Physical Plant and Space Allocation Committee, and she served as a University Senator for three years. Jennifred is the recipient of numerous awards and recognition including the Horace T. Morse Alumni Teaching Award. Her influence on the art community in Minnesota is significant. She has been actively involved in the College Art Association where she helped raise funds that support the scholarship, publication, and professional development of other artists and students. She is credited with influencing and collaborating on the Herman Iron Pour (a program that continued for ten years) and the Women, Fire and Iron Conference. In addition, she has co-taught several MAX/WARM classes across Minnesota. One person wrote, "Nellis' tireless and inspiring service has resulted in contributions that have significantly shaped and that will continue to shape UMM, benefiting students, her colleagues, the arts, and the regional community at large. Nellis is the type of professor whose exceptional reputation, achievement, and dedication to her craft, set the standards by which others can only hope to follow."

Paula L. O'Loughlin

Paula L. O'LoughlinPaula L. O'Loughlin is a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the Division of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM). She is described as an exemplary leader among faculty, an award-winning teacher and advisor, and a mentor to hundreds of student researchers, interns, and applicants for scholarships and graduate schools. Her commitment to the development and mentoring of students is unparalleled. As UMM's national fellowships and awards program coordinator since 2000, Paula recognized the needs of the students and the need for a one-stop center. In 2007, her vision came to fruition. She developed a proposal for a one-stop center and soon after the Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE) was born. She was appointed the founding director of ACE in 2008. ACE has become a model other institutions want to emulate. At UMM, she was actively involved in developing a campus-wide, interdisciplinary First Year Seminar program, in the revision of UMM's General Education program, and on a task-force charged with developing the criteria for a resource allocation review of the 40+ units within UMM's Academic Affairs program. Paula led a task-force that examined UMM's retention problem and she has worked to create a fund to support not only undergraduate political science majors, but all students, for travel to research conferences. Because of her leadership abilities, she was selected as a fellow in the CIC Academic Leadership Program in 2008-09. Paula's commitment to shared governance is extraordinary. At UMM, she helped develop a governance orientation for new faculty and a similar program for faculty and staff who were first-time committee chairs. In addition, she instituted meetings each semester for all committee chairs to come together to discuss issues. Paula served as a University senator, and as the vice chair and chair of the Senate Judicial Committee. She was also instrumental in revising the Procedures for Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty. One person wrote, "Like many exceptional faculty at the University of Minnesota, Paula is an outstanding teacher and scholar. Only a few faculty members make the exceptional service commitments to this university as she does. Paula epitomizes the ideal of outstanding service. She does it selflessly for the good of others; she focuses on issues that have broad impact for students, faculty and staff."

Mark W. Seeley

Mark W. SeeleyMark W. Seeley, professor, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, College of Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), is a climatologist by training and is among the most widely recognized and respected University of Minnesota faculty members in the state. His commitment to his college, the University, and the state of Minnesota is extraordinary. For almost 20 years, he has had a weekly radio program on Minnesota Public Radio on weather related topics that more than half million listeners tune in to. Mark is the author or co-author of two popular books on Minnesota weather: Minnesota Weather Almanac and Voyageurs Skies: Weather and the Wilderness of Minnesota's National Park. Because of his popular radio show and books, he is a sought after speaker. Mark is generous with his time and efforts, responding to requests to speak at alumni events, donor events, and other events where citizens interact with the University. He has served as the keynote speaker for "Classes Without Quizzes," a successful alumni event in CFANS, and for the last 19 years has coordinated a yearly seminar on issues related to climate and meteorology called the "Kuehnast Lecture Series," in honor of one of his mentors, Earl Kuehnast, a former state climatologist. He has also been an instrumental champion in the Bell Museum of Natural History's efforts to bring the Smithsonian's highly acclaimed exhibit DigIt: Secret of Soils to Minnesota. Within his college, he has served on numerous committees including the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Faculty Development Committee, the CFANS Faculty Consultative Committee, the Social Committee, the Facilities Committee, and the Graduate Committee, to name a few. Mark has also served as the chair of the Kuehnast Endowment Committee and Baker Travel Scholarship Funds since 1994. In addition, he has served on the Senate Committee on Faculty Academic Oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics. One person wrote, "Simply put, Mark is the best ambassador of the University we could hope for in the public sphere. A defining characteristic of Mark is that he strives to share his knowledge and passion for Minnesota with others in as many forums as possible, and in his service that goes beyond his professor-extension appointment. He is ever the most modest, unassuming person. Importantly, he is an incredibly supportive, enthusiastic team player with the University - he is truly a Gopher."

Jerie S. Smith

Jerie S. SmithJerie S. Smith, volunteer coordinator, The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education in the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, has served the University with distinction for the last 40 years. The Aurora Center serves victims/survivors and concerned persons with regards to sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking for the University. Through Jerie's dedicated work around sexual violence prevention and intervention, Jerie has doubled the awareness of The Aurora Center on campus. She has organized and coordinated film festivals, Domestic Violence Awareness Month events, Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, as well as other programmatic efforts. She is a member of the University Crisis Response Team and is available at any hour if a tragedy happens to a student. In her role as volunteer coordinator, Jerie works with almost 60 student volunteers. As the volunteer coordinator of Active Minds, a mental health outreach student group whose goal is to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness on campus, she has mentored and trained students to be activists. With her able assistance, Mental Health Awareness Day was created in 2010. It grew from five student coordinators to 10 student groups and University organizations such as Boynton Health Service and University Counseling and Consulting Services. Jerie is considered to be a champion for women, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, and people of color. She is a founding member and the driving force of two very important campus initiatives, the Social Justice Leader Retreat and the Coalition for a Respectful U. She has also spearheaded the Social Justice Film Festival that takes place twice a year and coordinates campus conversations around issues such as disabilities, sexual violence, and mental health. Jerie is credited with building community and fostering collaboration among faculty, staff, and students, to address student needs as well as creating opportunities for student service providers. One person wrote, "Jerie's work demonstrates that one person can change the world; she has changed the University of Minnesota, one person at a time. She humbly empowers others to value themselves, challenges them to connect with colleagues and is strategic about how she encourages individuals to step up and use their power to make a difference. Her service has been exceptional because she always reached beyond the scope of her position title to connect people and issues together, often addressing social justice issues that are complex and ambiguous. Her commitment is unusual because she does her work in service to others one person at a time, and empowers them to reach their own personal potential as they address social justice issues on our campus."

Gavin D. Watt

Gavin D. WattGavin D. Watt is an information technology supervisor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, where he manages data processing and computer information systems for epidemiologic research. For 30 years, he has provided outstanding service to the University, not only in his position in the School of Public Health, but also in his active involvement in governance at the school and University level. Gavin served six years on the School of Public Health P&A (academic professionals and administrative staff) Senate, chairing it for two years. He was instrumental in the creation of the School of Public Health P&A Excellence Award. He has also served as a committee or sub-committee member of several committees and as chair of the Civil Service Committee. Gavin has truly demonstrated his commitment to the University through his service on the Benefits Advisory Committee (BAC). He has been a member for the past 11 years and has served as the Committee's chair for the past eight years. The primary role of the BAC is to advise the administration on the University's health and other related benefits. Approximately 18,300 faculty, staff, and early retirees, are a part of this program, so the impact of consultation by the BAC is critical to the University community. As chair of the BAC, he leads the committee through conducting plan administrator reviews, assessing detailed recommendations for plan changes presented by the administration, and reviewing UPlan financial reports. Under his leadership, BAC members have supported the University in increasing generic medication use from 50.4% to 75.2% over the past six years, a change that has saved the UPlan $55 million in claim dollars not spent. In his role as chair, Gavin represents University employees and the BAC at Board of Regents meetings, at the University Senate, and at other important discussions related to health care benefits. As a member of the Pharmacy Program Clinical Committee, he assists with the development of the UPlan formulary. Because of Gavin's role as chair of the BAC, he also serves on the Administrative Working Group for Health Care Programs (AWG), which provides advice and counsel for the President and the Employee Benefits Department related to the administration of the University's Health Care programs. One person wrote, "Gavin Watt has worked on issues of health benefits for University employees as long as anyone in the University - since the establishment of the first task force in the early 1990's. He has served as chair of the BAC longer than anyone else. He has made these great contributions from a civil service/P&A position that offers less flexibility than a faculty position does. His volunteer work has been truly outstanding. Gavin Watt richly deserves the accolade that this award provides."