The following remarks were composed from the nomination letters and statements of support.
Commitment to Students
Nominees for the Andy Award for Outstanding Commitment to Students are dedicated to providing guidance and assistance to students of the university. They surpass the duties of their job description to understand and meet the immediate, as well as underlying, needs of our students. These individuals serve as role models, displaying a positive and professional image at all times.
Alexa C. Hansen, Tepper School Advancement
Alexa Hansen's commitment to students is undeniable. During her four years at the Tepper School, Alexa has not only grown the school's corporate fundraising efforts, but she has also significantly enhanced the MBA student experience. Alexa is primarily responsible for cultivating corporate relationships with the Tepper School. Typically this involves creating sponsorship opportunities and collaborations between companies, students and faculty. On the student side, Alexa helps fundraise for nearly 30 MBA professional, academic and social clubs. This role affords her great opportunity to interact with current students. It's these interactions that have greatly improved the student experience as well as how students view the Office of Advancement. Alexa has been an invaluable bridge between the Advancement Team and current students. She always makes herself available for every student by serving as a mentor and forging long-lasting bonds.
The INI Enrollment Services Office Team (From left to right): Jamie Lehneke (HNZ'09) and Jessica Becker, INI
The INI has been able to provide gold-star service to its growing student body in recent years thanks to two staff members who worked to establish the INI Enrollment Services Office. Jamie and Jessica attend to the diverse needs of their students and the student community in INI. Whether they are planning orientation activities, supporting student initiatives, advising organizations or hosting social events, these two women are truly dedicated to creating a positive and inclusive experience for students. Jamie and Jessica are genuinely concerned about the INI students and are fully invested in their success. With a positive outlook and excellent interpersonal skills, both Jamie and Jessica are able to put students' minds at ease about common grad school concerns, whether personal or academic difficulties. They are exceptional employees who set an example for their peers across the university.
Erika Ninos, Institute for Complex Engineered Systems
Erika is the "go to" person on campus for students who want to engage in environmental projects and activities to make Carnegie Mellon a better place to work and learn. She consistently demonstrates a strong knowledge of her position and the initiative to improve activities and processes throughout her work responsibilities. Erika goes well beyond her job description in support of the educational and experiential aspirations of our environmentally-conscious students. Students know if they want to do something to support environmental awareness on campus, Erika is the person to ask about how to make it happen. She takes the initiative in connecting our students with resources, faculty and other interested students. She enables their success and is always modest about her role; however, those of us who work with her know that she is that critical catalyst that takes a student's idea from interesting to doable.
Rubab Jafry O'Connor (HNZ'05), Tepper School of Business
Rubab reaches the lives of a large number of students in many ways — as an academic advisor to business majors and minors, to exchange students and as advisor to business student clubs. For her to be as impactful as she is, she needs to have an extraordinary commitment to serving her advisees. Her open-door availability, welcoming demeanor and positive and encouraging talk make her very endearing to students. Undergrad Business is a large program and its small staff is challenged to work closely with all students and to build relationships in order to help them define, and achieve their academic career and personal goals. She rises to the challenge and far beyond, being proactive in reaching students who may be struggling, affirming those who are doing well, and urging many to participate in program events that help them build their professional development. The Tepper School and the university are better places for our students because of the exceptional work that comes from the heart of staff members like Rubab.
Carol Young, Information Systems
Carol has been senior academic advisor in Information Systems since November 2010. Carol's caring attitude, positive can-do spirit and commitment to providing the highest level of service and support are evident every day. Information Systems' students, prospective students and families, the program leadership and faculty all benefit in substantial ways from Carol's skill and experience as an advisor. She is a major asset to the IS team in the Dietrich College. Carol makes a real effort to reach our most academically or personally at-risk students. As they are willing, Carol is always there to go that "extra mile" to be helpful and supportive. Again and again, her willingness to help has made a big difference — from connecting students with proper counseling, health or academic support services, to finding scarce seats in "must have" classes, to listening empathetically to students describing very difficult personal circumstances. Carol supports our students "beyond the classroom" by helping each feel valued in our community.
Nominees for the Andy Award for Outstanding Community Contributions are those individuals who tirelessly devote themselves to enhancing the living, learning and working experience of the campus community. Their service orientation benefits their colleagues and the faculty and students. On a daily basis, their roles help shape the Carnegie Mellon work and educational environment. They serve meals, work in labs and provide maintenance and other important services that sometimes go unnoticed. But these nominees are noticed. They are known for their smiles, can-do attitudes and exceptional service levels. Nominees for this award are not required to be employees of the university.
Chris Hayes Nolin (S'85), Computing Services
Many people say "my heart is in the work" but Chris Nolin truly embodies our founder's motto. As an alumna, parent, staff member, volunteer, donor and mentor, her infectious passion for CMU is an inspiration. When her work day is over, her work as a volunteer is often just beginning. Chris has made outstanding contributions to the Greek community at Carnegie Mellon University during her days as a student and as a Greek advisor. Along with being accessible to girls in chapter council positions, she is continuously willing to meet with members regarding chapter, personal, social and professional issues. Chris is a colleague who can always be counted on when calls go out for help needed, be it during Commencement, Carnival, Orientation or Cèilidh. She is an outstanding ambassador during these all-community weekends, offering a welcome greeting and assistance in any way she can so that students, alumni and families have a positive experience. Chris is invested in the enrichment of Carnegie Mellon at large.
G. Ronald Ripper, CEE
Ron is a service-focused staff member who is always looking for ways to make the CEE department a better place to work and learn. Ron's formal role is to support the activities of the department's research in the Hauck Environmental Laboratories. He has a steadfast focus on laboratory safety, maintaining processes and enforcing rules that enable us to reach our research goals while maintaining a climate that puts the safety of the individual first. Ron is a careful steward of departmental resources. He is loyal and frugal, and his interactions with vendors are always positive and respectful, not only stretching our research dollars, but also creating networks of contacts for him when challenging situations arise. Ron has always gone far beyond the technical focus of his position. He supports the department's culture and climate goals by participating in social and service activities, coordinating the use of compostable materials at all our events, organizing the annual ski trip and MC'ing the annual talent show. Ron is always on hand to support activities and engage with students during social events, reinforcing community spirit.
The Gelfand Center Drivers Team (From left to right): Leon "Pete" Smith and William Taylor, Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning & Outreach
A large percentage of the outreach and service activities of CMU faculty and students would not be possible without the dedicated drivers of the Leonard Gelfand Center buses. William Taylor has served for 20 years and Leon "Pete" Smith has driven for 15 years. These drivers go above and beyond, taking care of the buses as if they were their own, cleaning them and checking mechanical elements regularly to ensure that passengers are transported in safe vehicles. Most service programs take place in the evening and on weekends, and the drivers are flexible to meet the needs of the users. The drivers get to know the riders individually and always share a warm smile when riders enter. Students are especially grateful for the service that Bill and Pete provide, enabling transportation to necessary off-campus service programs that would otherwise be impossible.
Those who have been nominated for the Andy Award for Outstanding Culture foster a balanced and inclusive workplace. Their initiatives and achievements demonstrate a commitment to building a positive and supportive work environment, particularly in areas related to diversity, professional development and work/life balance. By recognizing the potential in every person, these nominees bring out the best in each individual and organization.
Lori Smith (S'85, DC'92), Enrollment Services
As assistant director of Student Accounts, Lori's main responsibility is handling sponsored billing for the Student Accounts Office. But in addition to that, she also handles any other student account issue on a college model basis. Lori came onboard during a very busy peak time for the Student Accounts Office, and specifically during the peak time for the Sponsored Billing project, yet she dove in and worked through the transition seamlessly. Lori is a hard worker, focused on her projects from the minute she walks in the door until the moment she leaves. Regardless of her workload, Lori is always pleasant and readily available to help anyone out whether she is asked to or not. She is very dedicated to servicing the student, internal and external customers, as well as upholding the vision and mission statement of Carnegie Mellon in her day-to-day interactions within the campus community.
Diane Stidle, Machine Learning
Diane is truly the heart and soul of the department. She fosters a wonderfully positive and supportive department culture, consistently exceeding expectations along every dimension: joyful attitude, clockwork effectiveness, thoughtful proactiveness and awareness and concern for every single member of the department. Diane's self-defined role as helper and confidant to the students is especially important. Beyond this, Diane has also exhibited superb community-building skills; she has created a highly engaged and loyal alumni group, keeping in touch with former students and circulating news from job changes to new baby photos. Diane also instituted a weekly departmental tea that has been a great success in bringing students, staff and faculty together. Recently, Diane spearheaded a reunion party for our students, faculty and alumni during a major conference. This was such a success that Diane is now making this an annual event, to be held this year at the same conference. Diane's generosity leaves no one behind.
The Andy Award for Outstanding Dedication honors those who take great pride in their work. An unyielding commitment to quality performance allows them to unfailingly serve their customers. Nominees have a "can-do" attitude and consistently do whatever it takes to overcome obstacles in order to accomplish their goals. In some ways, they are the university's unsung heroes because their continuously outstanding work may have been overlooked in the past.
Kenny Blair (HNZ'16), Computing Services
Kenny is reliable, personable and more than willing to provide assurances by any means necessary that whatever technology is needed for a particular program or event will work, regardless of the technical knowledge of the user. He arrives early, stays late and offers anything necessary to make the work of others across campus doable. From making sure he shares his cell phone number to staying through an entire program he wasn't even scheduled to support, Kenny consistently goes above and beyond what is expected of him to provide the highest quality support for his colleagues and does so with a smile on his face.
Melissa Brown, CEE
Melissa provides support throughout the graduate admission process to faculty, staff, applicants, admitted students and current students who participate in recruiting. She coordinates the increasingly complex array of activities associated with recruiting the best graduate students for the program. Melissa consistently performs above expectations, demonstrating a strong work ethic and a genuine support for our mission. Her work product is excellent, and she goes out of her way to provide assistance to the many different people with whom she works. Melissa is always willing to learn more about her job and the broader goals of the department and the university. Melissa's commitment to quality professional performance in all components of her role is what makes her a wonderful member of our community and a key enabler of the department's success.
Rebecca O'Donnell Choltco, Enrollment Services
Becky is a huge asset to Enrollment Services. As communications liaison, she is often swamped with requests and projects but she remains professional, polite and performs to the best of her capabilities. She has worked diligently to ensure that all Enrollment Services marketing materials are consistently professional, informative and well received by our students and their families. Her work has led to increased customer satisfaction for our students, their families and our partners across campus, and she has played a critical role in successfully transforming the image of Enrollment Services. While Rebecca's work is always of high quality, her impact is felt beyond her work. She projects a warm, cheerful attitude to her co-workers. She loves people, works hard and always tries to lift the spirits of those around her.
Leslie Chovan, Software Engineering Institute
Leslie is an extraordinary person, colleague and worker. She always does her job with a great attitude and a smile. She has been with CMU/SEI for 25 years, but she works as if it's her first day, with enthusiasm and a whole lot of heart. Leslie is very knowledgeable on company policies and procedures. She is always willing to help and if she doesn't know the answer to a question, she will find someone who can help. Leslie doesn't have an ego — she volunteers to help with deadlines that are beneath or well above the scope of what's listed in her job description. She is eager to help in whatever way necessary, and whatever she does, she does fantastically. Leslie keeps the whole office positive and fun. She is a true inspiration to us all; she makes everyone feel a part of the team.
The Computing Services Help Center Team (Front row, from left to right): Amanda Reinecke, Eric Phillips, Kyat Mak. (Back row, from left to right): Don Haché, Kevin Westling, Nik Dove and Dave Olcott, Computing Services
The Help Center Team provides support to all members of the campus community. This is a high stress job that garners little recognition. However, without this team fulfilling their crucial role with dedication and commitment, the computing needs of the campus could not be filled. The team handles thousands of inquiries annually from the most basic to advanced, providing answers or escalating on the client's behalf to the right groups to ensure resolution. Also noteworthy is the group's willingness to be flexible and work with computing organizations on outreach and communications to improve working relations and efficiency. This team is constantly trying to improve in any way they can to meet the needs of CMU.
Nancy Doyle, INI
As the manager of the Director's Office, Nancy has applied her care and competence to almost every activity at the INI: program administration, staffing, student curriculum and activities, corporate partnerships, public relations, building renovations, graduation ceremonies, alumni relations and much more. Nancy is an expert planner and proactively meets with coworkers to pinpoint hidden issues in projects before problems arise. She is a genius in the use of tact and discretion and is consistently respectful of others at all levels from diverse backgrounds. Nancy is central to the communication at the INI and fulfills this responsibility with discretion, impeccable attention to detail, friendliness and great patience. In a word, Nancy's job performance is simply phenomenal.
Charles Gitzen, Physics
For 45 years, Chuck Gitzen has been a dedicated staff member in the Department of Physics. He plays many roles in the department; he is the storeroom manager, the purchasing agent and the general "go to" guy for anything that needs to be moved, fixed or built. He responds to the requests from the department's over 150 faculty, post-docs, graduate students and staff. Chuck is skilled in handling every situation and keeps the most remarkably calm demeanor even in high-pressure situations. Chuck is thoroughly committed to serving our department. Day in and day out, he just gets the job done, no matter what it is. In everything he does, Chuck is committed to doing a quality job. In the past few years, the department has grown significantly, as have the demands on Chuck. Chuck might justifiably feel overworked, but he has not backed off on his commitment to do his job at the highest level.
Sumitra Gopal, Robotics Institute
Sumitra gives special attention to her duties to ensure that those relying on her are well taken care of. She performs above and beyond typical administrative duties, making herself easily available for help. She will go out of her way to contact people if she thinks it will benefit them for her to do so. She takes administration to the next level, from helping everything to run more smoothly within the Robotics Institute to improving the atmosphere via her friendly attitude and gestures of kindness toward colleagues. She is a wonderful, reassuring, motivated and dedicated presence in the Robotics Institute.
Susan Tate Hiser, University Advancement
Susan knows what it takes to get things done, and does so with a smile — even in the face of what often seems like impossible tasks and timetables. She stepped in last minute to help provide invaluable guidance and expertise for both the Drama Centennial events as well as the Tony Awards partnership. She did all of this while managing her "regular" job, never complaining and always thinking of the best outcome. She is a pro in every sense of the word. She juggles minute details, predicts issues, notices opportunities for improvement and handles situations expertly, and she does all this while conducting herself in a polished and professional way. She demonstrates clear dedication to her job in addition to incredible organizational abilities and follow-through, creativity and willingness to help and support colleagues.
The International Finance Team (Front row, from left to right): Michael Grimm, Carrie Nelson, Anthony Talotta. (Back row, from left to right): Nimit Mehrotra (TPR'10), Sara N. Bailey, Christine L. Murray, Katie Price, Ashley Ferenczy, Karen L. Sadler and Mark Gambone, International Finance
International Finance (IF) goes above and beyond to provide an exceptional centralized support system for CMU's global expansion in education and the promotion of innovative research around the world. Beginning with Qatar and expanding to Australia, Rwanda and other international locations, IF has successfully addressed global challenges — financial and operational — which include international cash management, financial reporting and budgeting in multiple currencies, tuition, tax analysis, audit coordination, procure-to-pay processes and payroll. They provide a high level of service to all at CMU and have proven their dedication to preventing and solving problems. They've been instrumental in helping us establish and exceed our goals and requirements in the global arena. The dedication of the IF group has made it possible for CMU to have the strong global presence and reputation that we have today.
Ann Marie Mesco (DC'01), Digital Initiatives Library
Ann Marie dedicates an enormous amount of time and energy to her job. She manages the digital materials for her division and she is passionate about the projects she oversees. The world of digital archives is constantly in flux and Ann Marie strives to stay on top of the latest standards and best practices for her field. She has kept the Digital Library Initiatives in order despite being handed quite a few tasks outside of the realm of her usual job description. She makes sure every employee working under her understands their job and is very open to them if they need any help. So many times she has deserved a day off and instead she chose to come in to make sure things were running and that tasks were being done. Above all, Ann Marie is a reliable and attentive person. She is humble about her accomplishments, but for those she supervises, it is apparent how much she cares about her department and the university.
Liz Milavec, Finance Division
Over the last nearly two years of executive transition in the Finance Division, Liz Milavec has been dedicated to keeping the "trains running," while moving the division ahead in new strategic directions. In October 2013, when the vice president and CFO position was vacated, in addition to her role as associate vice president and controller, Liz was named interim deputy chief financial officer. During a time of uncertainty, she provided leadership and direction to the division. Liz's dedication and unmatched work ethic is evident to all who work with her. She embraces change and continually looks to improve and create efficiencies within the division and the university. Liz is in constant pursuit of the best practices for the financial betterment and stewardship of the university.
The Office of International Education Document Managers Team (From left to right): Tricia Dugan and Donna Frost, Office of International Education
CMU is home to over 5,000 international students. Few realize that there are only two very dedicated document managers in the Office of International Education who are responsible for the timely processing of all the necessary immigration paperwork required to bring these students to our global university. Tricia Dugan and Donna Frost navigate through the rigorous mandates of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State to review the maze of new student information, required financial documents, passport and country information to satisfy government regulations. As all this is unfolding, what happens behind the scenes also shows their unfailing dedication: their patience with the many phone calls and questions from departments as well as those from nervous, hopeful students trying to expedite their documents. Tricia and Donna play a significant role in facilitating the dream of higher education for many international students at Carnegie Mellon.
The University Contracts Office Team (from left to right): Evie Fisher, Matthew D'Emilio and Dave Duncan. Not pictured: Lisa Rabner, University Contracts Office
The amount of work that flows through the UCO is immeasurable. MSAs, PSAs, SOWs, amendments, the list goes on and on. Each document with terms, conditions, licenses, dates, signatures and counter signatures; it's a lot to oversee. Evie is the gate keeper; all inbound messages are processed in due time and delegated to the other team members. Lisa keeps the campus on task with the many catering and hotel events hosted by our campus departments throughout the year. Dave understands the risk language that needs to be included to keep our campus safe and secure with the many vendors who visit each day. Matt's guidance and risk advice is always welcomed by our campus team members. He explains to them the process of contracting with each vendor and how to alleviate potential issues throughout the life of the contract. As a group, they are always willing to talk to whoever needs advice on campus, at any level. They are true team players and their dedication to the university is priceless.
Cynthia Vicker (TPR'04), Chemical Engineering
The Andy Award for Outstanding Innovation recognizes those who have developed new approaches, methods and systems to improve organizational effectiveness. They have demonstrated imagination and creativity in finding solutions to problems or fostering change that has benefited the university community. These nominees are thinkers and doers, people who have discovered new paths to excellence.
Treshea Wade (HNZ'14), Tepper School of Business
Treshea has been an outstanding contributor not only to the Alumni Relations team but also to our Annual Giving and Marketing Communications teams at the Tepper School and across campus. An incredibly hard worker, she has earned a reputation for her imagination, creativity and innovative ideas especially related to online communication with alumni and social media. She has been the team leader in designing inspiring branded alumni communication tools including the "Tepper Ticker" eNewsletter and the Alumni Reunion Weekend App. She has been instrumental in collaborating with the marketing team in designing and launching the Tepper online magazine app and is responsible for the Alumni Network section of the magazine. Treshea has also been the lead designer in our Annual Giving team's social media campaign, increasing our online donations, especially from young alumni. She is a value-add for our team and a true innovator in the way we conduct alumni communication.
The Andy Award for Outstanding University Citizenship honors those who have made important contributions that benefit the entire university community. Their work has transcended organizational boundaries. They have fostered cooperation and collaboration between the university and its constituents to better serve the campus community. These individuals have committed their time and energy to working with others to improve and enhance Carnegie Mellon as a whole.
Sally Cunningham, SEI
Sally Cunningham, the epitome of an extraordinary CMU citizen, is wonderfully complemented in her passion by her husband, Scott, a 1982 CMU graduate, and her children Shelby (CMU 2014, will start a CMU Master's Program this fall) and Stephen (CMU 2015). Sally and her husband have made consistently substantial donations to Carnegie Mellon University and have inculcated in their two children the habit of giving, not only to the university but also to other altruistic causes. In this respect, Sally has provided toward the greater good of the university. She has also participated in providing exceptional service by giving time and effort to a number of community organizations as a volunteer. Her participation in these activities has helped immensely in positioning the university as a good citizen in the wider world. This volunteerism, along with Sally's dedicated years of service, speaks to her commitment to CMU.
Michael S. Danko, Naval Science
Michael Danko is the face of CMU's NROTC program. In most cases, he is the first person to interact with new or prospective students and their parents and he immediately establishes a great rapport with them. His easy demeanor coupled with his knowledge of the program make him a tremendous ambassador to prospective students. In executing his duties as the liaison between Carnegie Mellon University and the United States Navy, Michael has the responsibility of representing CMU on a daily basis to a constantly rotating staff of officers. He is also committed to the program's students from Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, assisting more than 80 students with cross enrollment forms every semester. His dedication to their success is a testament to the person he is.
Joe Rudman (DC'74, '83), Physics
Joe has been a staff member at Carnegie Mellon since 1959 — 55 years! Over the years, the name Joe Rudman has been synonymous with caring and commitment. His students and advisees sing his praises for his hands-on engagement and dedication to their success. The impact he has had on countless students, faculty, staff and alumni contribute to why his recognition is well deserved and long overdue. Joe is pragmatic, down to earth and very smart, and that combination endears him to those with whom he works while making him a force to be reckoned with. He makes people around him better than they would have been, and he never gives up on those in whom he believes. Joe is inordinately dedicated not just to the tasks or responsibilities under his purview, but also to the university as a whole. Joe is unique and special, and Carnegie Mellon has benefited greatly from his decision to remain here for over half a century.
Guy Winn, Enrollment Services
Guy has consistently gone above and beyond in providing exceptional service to the colleges/departments on this campus with his reporting, analysis and consistency in ensuring accuracy of data. Guy is a terrific representative of the university; he has maintained high professionalism and integrity of performance during many organizational and system changes. His ongoing support of student information reporting and analysis has been critical to supporting business needs. He provides exceptional service and can always be counted on. He proactively notifies the campus community about student batches and works to ensure everything is in place in a timely fashion. When additional help is needed, Guy is always there to provide the necessary information in a timely and professional manner.