2015 President's Award for Outstanding Service Recipients

2015 recipients of UMN President's Award for Outstanding Service

Recipients are pictured above with President Eric W. Kaler, Professor William Tolman, chair, President's Award for Outstanding Service Review Committee, and Vickie Courtney, director, University Awards and Honors, at a reception at Eastliff on June 4, 2015 (Professor Peter Olver attended on behalf of recipient Willard Miller Jr. who was unable to attend the reception).

Mary Cannedy-Clarke

Mary Cannedy-ClarkeMary Cannedy-Clarke, associate administrator, University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth, has served the University with distinction since 1995. She has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities and training for Native American, underrepresented, and disadvantaged students in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. She co-established and coordinates successful programs, such as Bridges to Baccalaureate Degrees, Bridges to Doctoral Degrees, Minority Access to Research Careers, and Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity. She has changed the lives of many students. Mary is truly an inspiration.

Gary Christenson

Gary ChristensonGary Christenson, M.D., chief medical officer, Boynton Health Service, Office for Student Affairs, is described as a highly trained and skilled clinician and someone who is committed to improving the human condition. A tireless advocate for student mental health, Gary has served on the Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health since its creation 10 years ago. He is credited with the creation of the “1 in 4” Campus Poster Campaign, which promotes early intervention for mental health and helps to normalize the need for students to seek help, as well as the success of the U of M mental health website www.mentalhealth.umn.edu. He is the creative founder of Cirque de-Stress and Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS), two programs that exemplify how visual and performance art foster a healing environment. We are indeed fortunate to have Dr. Christenson as our champion.

Kim R. Dockter

Kim R. DockterKim R. Dockter, senior director of external relations, College of Science and Engineering (CSE), is considered to be an exceptional leader and role model. She is a driving force for positive change in development practices not only in CSE but campus-wide. The development practices she has implemented for her team in CSE have been duplicated and adapted across the campus. These practices helped launch the Principle Gift Workgroup, a major achievement of the U of M Foundation. Gifts like the $25 million commitment from Land O’Lakes would not have happened without the input from this workgroup. Her commitment to engagement led to the establishment of an external advisory and support board for the student-led Solar Vehicle Project. She is an innovator and a collaborator. The University is proud to call her one of its own.

Jennifer Franko

Jennifer FrankoJennifer Franko, executive secretary, Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, College of Education and Human Development, has served the University with an outstanding level of professionalism, commitment, and excellence for more than 26 years. Her dedication is demonstrated through her continuous efforts to improve systems, processes, and policies that will enhance student and faculty success. Her commitment to serving students is extraordinary. Students view her as someone who will always act on their behalf and produce the very best outcomes. Because of this, she is given credit for the high retention rate of the graduate and undergraduate programs in her department. Jennifer’s commitment to academic integrity is well known and had led to University-wide adoption of plagiarism protocols. Jennifer’s commitment to her department, her college, and the University is extraordinary.

Gregory S. Hestness

Gregory S. HestnessGregory S. Hestness, assistant vice president and chief of police, has served the University with dedication and distinction since 2003. He is described as a problem solver, a bridge builder, and a compassionate leader. As chief of police, one of his top priorities has been to build relationships with the University student body. Toward that effort, he created “Donuts with Cops,” which has been a big hit on campus. The safety and quality of life on campus and the surrounding areas has improved significantly because of the Chief’s commitment and dedication. Chief Hestness never stops working for the University. He implemented the Bike Bait Program, worked to improve multi-modal safety, video surveillance, and building access; and, he organized the Community Response Team to improve safety in the neighborhoods near campus for the thousands of students who live there. Chief Hestness’ contributions are truly outstanding.

Aileen Lively

Aileen LivelyAileen Lively, senior lead business analyst, Academic Support Resources, Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, has provided excellent service to the University for 35 years. Her contributions and accomplishments include, leading the adjustment and verification of student records during the conversion from quarters to semesters as part of the PeopleSoft implementation, creating best practices and standards for that system, creating the University’s electronic degree application system, “eDegree,” and most recently, leading the student records module within the PeopleSoft Upgrade. Described as a brilliant analyst, Aileen is credited with cultivating an atmosphere across the University that promotes best practices in technical developments that serve the needs of students, faculty, and staff. Because of her approach, the University of Minnesota is on the IBM Best Practices list. Aileen is most definitely an exemplary role model and the University is a better place because of her contributions.

Willard Miller Jr.

Professor Peter OlverWillard Miller Jr., professor emeritus, School of Mathematics, College of Science and Engineering, is described as someone who personifies the best of University service. Professor Miller is recognized worldwide as the leading expert and major driving force in the area of symmetry, special functions, and separations of variables. He spent more than half of his career serving in administrative positions, including head of the School of Mathematics, associate director of the Institute for Mathematics, associate dean for finance and planning in the Institute of Technology (IT), and as acting dean of IT (now the College of Science and Engineering). He played a critical role in the creation of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications and the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Math Program. He also developed a program for math instruction of minority students. Professor Miller has served on the University Senate, the University Grievance Panel, and the Council for Liberal Education. Even though he retired in 2010, he continues to be active in research, and supervises undergraduate research projects. For more than 45 years, Professor Miller has served the University with distinction. *Professor Peter Olver accepted the award on Professor Miller's behalf.

Ann Pflaum

Ann PflaumAnn Pflaum has served the University for nearly four decades in her roles as Title IX coordinator, associate dean for external relations in the College of Continuing Education and since 2000, University of Minnesota historian. Her contributions to the University and beyond are extraordinary. She wrote a book with Stanford Lehmberg titled The University of Minnesota: 1945-2000, championed equity and diversity, contributed to the Scholars Walk, Heritage Markers, and the Wall of Discovery, and provided leadership and support for several celebratory events during the University’s 150th year anniversary. Ann was also instrumental in leading the Minnesota History Project, a collaborative initiative between the University of Minnesota and then, St. Cloud State University. This initiative, which resulted in a published book, captured the early history of Minnesota before it became a state. Ann played a vital role in the restoration of the Campus Club and Northrop Auditorium. In addition, she provided colorful on-air historical commentary during inauguration ceremonies for President Eric W. Kaler. Ann’s service to the University and contributions to its culture are truly exceptional.

Robert Seybold

Robert SeyboldRobert Seybold, senior psychologist, University Counseling & Consulting Services (UCCS), Office for Student Affairs, has had an exemplary 35-year career at the University of Minnesota. He has been the director of St. Paul UCCS for 27 years. During his tenure, he has served on more than 50 committees (17 of which he chairs), clinically supervised more than 100 graduate students, given more than 250 guests lectures, and ran a support group that assisted 84 doctoral students. Bob has also been involved in more than 140 University Community Response Team (UCRT) interventions following student deaths. It is not just the amount of service Bob has given, but it is the impact of his work that is tremendously important. He clearly has demonstrated “unusual commitment to the University community.”

Rafael E. Tarrago

RRafael E. Tarragoafael E. Tarrago has served as the librarian for Iberian, Ibero-American and Chicano/Latino Studies, History and Political Sciences, University Libraries, since 1995. He has provided outstanding service in many ways. His creation of a workshop on library research resources and services for first year graduate students in the department was so successful that it became part of the yearly orientation program for first-year graduate students. Rafael is sought after for his expertise on Iberian and Latin American studies and is asked to meet with prospective faculty. The monthly brown bag lunch series he leads provides a forum for faculty and students doing research on Latin American topics, contributing to interdisciplinary collaborations. Rafael has prepared a number of major exhibits of University of Minnesota Libraries Rare Books Collection, drawing national attention. He works tirelessly to promote diversity. He has indeed gone beyond expectations in providing exceptional service to faculty and students across the University and the broader community.

Suzanne Thorpe

Suzanne ThorpeSuzanne Thorpe, associate director for faculty, research, and instructional services, Law Library, has provided exceptional service to the Law School, the University, and the legal community for more than 28 years. She is credited with customizing the Law Library’s reference, document delivery, college management, and circulation services. Proactive in her approach, Suzanne is always looking at how to develop new services to support the evolving needs of students and faculty. She has served on numerous Law School committees as well as the University Senate and its Library Committee. In addition to serving as a classroom instructor, she has served as a wise counselor, mentor, academic planner, international representative, and role model for generations of law students. Suzanne exemplifies the meaning of exceptional service.