2014 President's Award for Outstanding Service Recipients

2014 recipients of UMN President's Award for Outstanding Service

Recipients below, with the exception of Ann Waltner who was unable to attend the reception, are pictured with President Eric W. Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, member, President's Award for Outstanding Service Review Committee.

Mary Lisa (Lisa) Berg

Mary Lisa (Lisa) Berg poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Berg is holding her certificate.

Mary Lisa (Lisa) Berg is a library assistant III in the Veterinary Medical Library and Magrath Library, Health Sciences Library. For more than four decades, she has provided exceptional service to the University of Minnesota and its broader communities. Her primary focus has been on serving student employees, the students, and faculty and staff in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Lisa is highly regarded by researchers as well as veterinarians in private practice for her remarkable collections and resources. She has made significant contributions to the University Digital Conservancy project (UDC) by uploading almost 1,300 files to the UDC. Because of her efforts, a wide variety of information is available to students, faculty, and an international audience. Not only is she dedicated to the library’s collections and services, but she is also recognized for her commitment to how her work relates to the University Libraries’ mission and strategic goals. In addition, Lisa is a dedicated volunteer for the Minnesota Veterinary Historical Museum and a member of the Museum Board. One person wrote, “Lisa has been an exemplary employee of the University for forty-some years. She is dedicated to her work, always cheerfully exploring ways to improve service to the University. Along the way she has positively impacted many of us, enabling us to improve our own contributions to the University.”

Barbara Blacklock

Barbara Blacklock poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Blacklock is holding her certificate.

Barbara Blacklock, program coordinator, Disability Services, Office for Equity and Diversity, leads the development and implementation of ideas to improve the campus climate for students with disabilities across the University of Minnesota and the nation. Barbara is credited with creating and implementing the College Model, which was designed to better serve students in the Academic Health Center (AHC) because of their vastly different access needs. The College Model has been instrumental in providing exceptional service to students in the AHC and now has expanded to other colleges at the University. She consults nationally on how to develop effective “college models” of service delivery within academic settings. Barbara also is an expert in the field of student mental health. In 2005, she was asked to co-chair the Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health. In this role, she has helped raise awareness about issues related to mental health; she has been instrumental in effecting policy change; has helped to improve the conditions at the University for students with mental health conditions; and she has served as a model of collaboration for the University as well as other universities. Her highly effective efforts include the development and launching of the Student Mental Health website. An extraordinary educator, professionals in the field and other prestigious institutions seek her expertise in the field of disability services. One person wrote, “She has applied her knowledge of the field to create new models of service, worked tirelessly for student mental health awareness, supported our University and the field by educating others about disability-related topics, and has been a mentor to many. In short, we have all greatly benefited from Barb’s work.”

Skeeter Burroughs

Skeeter Burroughs poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Burroughs is holding his certificate.

Skeeter Burroughs is an assignment group coordinator in the Office of Information Technology. Described as a dedicated employee, he is well known in the University of Minnesota community and highly regarded for his skills and the outstanding service he provides. In addition to his regular full-time job providing desktop support, he is very involved in the Marching Band and has been since he was a student in 1991. Currently, he serves as an instructor for the Marching Band, and is the director for both the Maroon Pep Band (Men’s Hockey) and the Gold Pep Band (Men’s Basketball). Skeeter uses his vacation time in late summer to prepare the band for the fall football season, and during the winter sports season he is on campus late into the evening on weekends and weeknights for the men’s basketball and hockey teams. Not only is he committed to the Marching Band program, he is devoted to the well being of the students in the program, caring about all aspects of their campus life. One person wrote, “Skeeter Burroughs is someone who truly embodies the passion, work ethic, spirit, and pride of a great University employee. He is someone who puts the students, staff, and faculty’s needs before his own and serves with a quiet passion and dedication.”

Sharon Dzik

Sharon Dzik poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Dzik is holding her certificate.

Sharon Dzik, director, Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, Office for Student Affairs, is responsible for the leadership in the areas of student academic integrity and misconduct and for enforcing the Student Code of Conduct at the University of Minnesota. She has served in this role for over ten years and during this time Sharon is credited with promoting and helping to create an institutional culture of commitment to academic integrity. Under her exceptional leadership, the office she directs: stands up for the larger values of the University; stands up for students who have been hurt; and works with students who have violated the Student Conduct Code to help them understand why their behaviors damage their opportunities for success. She also is credited with revising campus policies and procedures to ensure the University is in compliance with the Campus Save Act/VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and that the institution is supporting all parties involved with these cases. Sharon chairs the Behavior Consultation Team, volunteers at every home football game, serves on numerous University committees, and is developing new outreach initiatives to train faculty on classroom management and behavioral issues. One person wrote, “ In her job of defending, enforcing, and promoting the Student Code of Conduct, Sharon Dzik provides in many ways a moral compass to the educational mission of the University of Minnesota. She is a superb colleague who works at the interface between ethics and academics. She cares for this University and seeks to make it a better place for students, faculty, and staff.”

Joseph (Joe) Franek

Joseph (Joe) Franek poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Franek is holding his certificate.

Joseph (Joe) Franek, lecture demonstration director, Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering, has provided exceptional service to the University of Minnesota for twenty-one years; four years at the Morris campus and the years following, on the Twin Cities campus. Joe’s enthusiasm for sharing chemistry and supporting the educational mission of the University is outstanding. He has contributed to the learning outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students through his effective and exciting demonstrations that serve to enhance, facilitate, and strengthen the teaching of important fundamental as well as advanced concepts of chemistry. Joe is credited with helping to create, develop, refine, and deliver “Energy and U,” an outreach program where elementary school children come to the University and watch a fifty-minute presentation filled with explosions, light shows, music, and amazing transformations of energy from one form to another. Currently, this signature event is performed for over 10,000 children annually. The grand finale of the show is designed and constructed by Joe, where energy from food is converted sequentially to electricity. Not only are these performances awesome, it teaches children the first law of thermodynamics and also puts the idea of college and STEM topics on the radar of some children that may have never met someone that has attended college. Joe also takes the time to speak to students and teachers after the shows. The Department of Chemistry has received notes from students enrolled in its undergraduate programs referring to the motivation they got from attending “Energy and U.” One person wrote, “Joe is essential to the teaching and outreach missions of our department. I would assert that Joe Franek is a crucial part of the U of MN’s College of Science and Engineering public relations! He helps us all be more generous with our time and energy by tirelessly, generously, and passionately working to improve and develop demonstrations of chemistry and beyond. He reaches people from pre-school through adulthood, contributing to curriculum development, outreach, teaching, and research.”

Michael Hancher

Michael Hancher poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Hancher is holding his certificate.

Michael Hancher, professor, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts (CLA), specializes in Victorian literature and culture, literary criticism and theory, language studies, legal studies, book illustration, and media history. His colleagues in English describe him as a wise, fair, and gracious colleague. His service to his department, college, and the University of Minnesota is exceptional and far-reaching. In the Department of English, he has served as director of graduate studies and as department chair. Michael has served on almost every department committee. He has a similar record of service to the college, where he has held key administrative positions such as interim associate dean for faculty and associate dean for faculty and research. Michael has served as chair or member of several search committees for the college, most recently, as a member of the search committee for the CLA dean. At the University level, his record of service is outstanding as well. He has served on the General Research Advisory Committee, Bush Sabbatical Program Screening Committee, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries, the Senate Library Committee, the All University Committee on the University Press, the University Senate, the Faculty Consultative Committee (vice chair 2012-13), the Senate Consultative Committee, and Committee on Committees. His service to nonacademic areas of the University is equally remarkable. He served on the Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors, the Coffman Memorial Union Building Advisory Committee, the Campus Club Architectural Advisory Committee, and the Campus Club Board of Directors. One person wrote, “Professor Hancher’s qualities shine through his service: he is a leader but also a collaborator, an innovator but also a maintainer, a respected senior colleague but also an amiable friend, and above all a giver rather than a taker.”

Peter Hudleston

Peter Hudleston poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Hudleston is holding his certificate.

Peter Hudleston is a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences, College of Science and Engineering (CSE). For forty-four years he has and continues to have an enormous impact on education at the University of Minnesota, as well as the lives of many students, former students, and colleagues at the University and beyond. He is described as an amazing individual with unquestionable integrity, generous, and gracious. In addition to his work as a professor, Peter served in key administrative positions, including twelve years as associate dean for undergraduate programs and eleven years as head. He is credited with dramatically expanding the Study Abroad program for CSE students. Because of his vision, tenacity, and extraordinary commitment, the percentage of CSE students that graduated with a study abroad experience rocketed from 1% in the 1990s to about 15% today. Peter’s service to the department, college, and University, has been outstanding. He has served on search committees for the positions of vice provost for student affairs, dean of students, and for the associate dean for university curriculum. He also served on the Council of Liberal Education as member and as chair. More recently, Peter has been a member and chair of the Goldwater Fellowship Committee, and the committee that planned the student services component of the Teaching Classroom and Student Services Building. Currently, he is serving on the Tate Renovation Building/Planning Committee, the Undergraduate Studies Committee, the Student Awards Committee, and as chair of the Field Camp Committee. One person wrote, “Peter Hudleston is beloved by students and colleagues for his unflagging dedication and gentle humor, and the quiet and respectful way that he helps students and colleagues alike. Remarkably, this commitment has been sustained for decades, enriching the lives of students and inspiring colleagues. Owing in large part to Peter’s work with students and student-focused programs over the years, our department has a national reputation for excellence in undergraduate education.”

P. Jay Kiedrowski

P. Jay Kiedrowski poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Kiedrowski is holding his certificate.

P. Jay Kiedrowski, former Gopher basketball player, has an impressive record of outstanding service to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (Humphrey School), the University of Minnesota, and the state of Minnesota. Prior to joining the Humphrey School, he served as commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Finance and executive vice president of Wells Fargo. After retiring from the public sector, he committed himself to the University, and has become one of the Humphrey School’s most successful teachers. Currently, Jay serves as senior fellow in the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the Humphrey School, where he also leads a Senior Leadership Institute for state government officials. He specializes in public finance, organizational performance and change, and leadership. He has served in an advisory role to University leadership on challenges related to advancing the academic mission and the financial and fiscal health of the University and of the state. He served as assistant dean in the Humphrey School where he successfully led an effort to strengthen advising and career services. In addition, he was the driving force behind the creation of the Center for Integrative Leadership. Described as an extraordinary citizen and contributor, Jay has served on numerous University committees, including the Humphrey School’s Advisory Council, the Carlson School of Management Funds Enterprise Board and the Arts and Cultural Leadership Masters Program Advisory Council, and more than a dozen nonprofit boards and committees. Jay has also served on the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and the Athletic Alumni Board. One person wrote, “Jay Kiedrowski is a man for all seasons. He continues to teach and inspire future leaders. He does whatever he can to improve our school. It is hard to imagine anyone who has contributed more to the University in the past ten years than Jay Kiedrowski.”

Scott Lanyon

Scott Lanyon poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Lanyon is holding his certificate.

Scott Lanyon is a professor and head of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB) in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS). He has demonstrated exceptional service in his role as director of the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, where he worked tirelessly for thirteen years to modernize its research collections, its public exhibits and programs, and to lay the groundwork for a new museum on the St. Paul campus. Under his leadership, the Bell initiated the popular Café Scientifique program that brings public talks about science to audiences at a local café and pub. After stepping down from the Bell, Scott accepted the position as head of the EEB, where he is credited with revitalizing the department and continuing it on a trajectory of excellence and high impact research, as well as helping CBS move towards a strategic cluster hire strategy. This strategy promotes cross-disciplinary partnerships. Scott is also credited with strengthening graduate education at the University of Minnesota. He coordinated an external review of the EEB graduate program, which not only resulted in improvements in the program but also raised awareness across campus of the high quality and international reputation of the program. In fall 2013, he was asked to lead a major effort to improve graduate education University-wide and produced “A Special Report on Graduate Education” that offers guidance for future initiatives. Scott’s service to University Senate governance is exceptional. He has served on the University Senate, the Faculty Consultative Committee as member and as vice chair, the Senate Nominating Committee, and Committee on Committees. In addition, Scott served on the CBS/CFANS Collegiate Merger Task Force. One person wrote, “Scott’s deep engagement in finding and creatively addressing the needs of students, units, and the University is a hallmark of his remarkable contributions to the University of Minnesota. Since his arrival at the University of Minnesota nearly 20 years ago, Scott has provided leadership in his service, demonstrating commitment to improving the University environment with vision and efforts that extend far beyond the regular duties of a faculty member, all while treating individuals with kindness and compassion.”

Connie Magnuson

Connie Magnuson poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Magnuson is holding her certificate.

Connie Magnuson, senior lecturer and director, Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies Program (RPLS), School of Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development, is an exceptional teacher, an expert in her field, and an enthusiastic advocate of outdoor activity. Described as a passionate scholar and visionary organizer, Connie is responsible for the creation of the Gopher Adventure Race (GAR), a campus-wide student race, which serves as an academic teaching tool that provides real life, hands on learning to prepare students as they move into their careers. This successful annual event brings together University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and alumni to explore the campus. The event has also provided an outstanding opportunity to develop relationships and to create a cooperative venture with community partners. Another example of her extraordinary commitment to the University and community is through the creation of Fee-in-Lieu-of-Tuition program, which affords teachers, administrators, social workers, and others, a professional development opportunity in the Outdoor Recreation and Education program for continuing education. Connie has worked tirelessly to develop and promote RPLS internationally by leading study abroad programs in Kenya, Costa Rica, Belize, and Tanzania, and giving lectures at the American Culture Center in China. Most recently, Connie has been working with the Twin Cities school districts and the Minnesota Wilderness Inquiry to develop a boating program to reduce achievement gaps of school children. She is also actively involved in several service organizations in the community as well as professional associations. One person wrote, “Dr. Magnuson continually goes above and beyond to provide exceptional service to students in the University community and to further the University’s mission in communities both locally and nationally. She is one of those rare individuals who consistently put the needs of her students and the University above her own. Her service to others is nothing short of incredible.”

Jerry Meier

Jerry Meier poses with President Eric Kaler and Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, representing the President's Award for Outstanding Service Committee. Meier is holding his certificate.

Jerry Meier, lab supervisor, Soudan Underground Laboratory (Laboratory), School of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science and Engineering, is responsible for managing all aspects of the Laboratory. The Laboratory, one of the University of Minnesota’s premier outreach facilities, is described as one of the largest of a half-dozen facilities around the world that house highly sensitive physics experiments and the detectors that need to be shielded from cosmic rays from the sky. It is comprised of two large underground rooms, each nearly the size of a football field, located one-half mile underground in Soudan, Minnesota, about twenty-five miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Over 200 scientists, students, and engineers from several countries participate in experiments with detectors at the Laboratory. Jerry facilitates the work of the visiting scientists, interacts with the State Park staff, and reaches out to visiting K-12 school groups and members of the general public, with about 5,000 people visiting each year. Jerry knows the community extremely well, knows every inch of the facility, every piece of equipment, and is an expert in many of the most advanced physics detectors. One example of his extraordinary efforts was demonstrated late one night when the mine shaft leading to the lab had caught fire. First on the scene, Jerry assessed the problem and coordinated the response until the DNR’s firefighters arrived. He worked seventy-two hours straight. Days later, he was the first person back, pushing through tunnels filled with firefighting foam while wearing a full rebreather pack, to assess the damage. Because of his outstanding leadership, almost all of the equipment was recovered and experiments were operating within about two months. One person wrote, “Jerry Meier demonstrates the best qualities of University staff members. Every day, Jerry Meier contributes directly to making the University of Minnesota not just a better place, but also an international leader in research at the frontiers of knowledge about the Universe in which we live.”

Ann Waltner

Ann Waltner, professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and director, Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, has provided outstanding leadership and service to her department and college, the University of Minnesota, and beyond, for almost thirty-years. In her department, she has served as a member or chair of some its most important committees, including the Graduate Studies Committee and the Committee on Promotion, Tenure and Merit, as well as numerous search committees. Ann has also served as associate chair of the Department of History. She is the co-founder of the ongoing Workshop for the Comparative History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the founder of a weekly reading group at her home where students read together difficult texts of the Chinese historical and literary cannon. Her reading group has included faculty from the University and other local colleges, graduate students, undergraduates, as well as scholars from institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia. Her outstanding service to CLA includes serving on the Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Committee on Curriculum, Instruction, and Advising. As associate dean for academic affairs, she was charged with leading the process of converting the curriculum from the quarter to the semester system (1997-2000). After her term ended as associate dean, Ann was asked to take the leading role in an initiative to revitalize the study of Asian languages and literature, which she did successfully. In 2005, she was chosen as the founding director of the IAS. In this role, she is credited with bringing new forms of intellectual vitality and cross-disciplinary excitement to the entire University community and to the broader public. Under her exceptional leadership, the IAS programs present fresh, innovative, and interdisciplinary approaches to topics of compelling interest. An example of her extraordinary ability to bring disciplines together is when she helped to form the collaboration between an experimental choreographer and a cutting edge biomedical engineer, resulting in the innovative Moving Cell Project, which attracted local and national attention. One person wrote, “Her combination of seriousness, generosity, and intellectual acuity have made her one of those handful of people who sustain and foster for future generations the University’s tradition of excellence. Professor Waltner’s unique combination of intellectual brilliance, talent at managing and motivating people, and administrative vision has enhanced the University of Minnesota’s global reputation.”