Employee service, excellence celebrated at annual ceremony

10/28/2011 By Cochrane

The Graham Center Ballroom came alive with the sounds of live music, conversation and laughter as faculty and staff gathered Friday, Oct. 21, for the university’s 2011 Service and Recognition Awards Ceremony.

The annual ceremony recognizes employees earning service milestones of 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, 30 years and 35 years, as well as employees who retired during the previous calendar year.

“Your contribution is important, whether you are teaching our students, guiding them in research or community service, or engaging in any of the thousands of administrative and operational tasks that allow our university to be worlds ahead in student learning, innovation and collaboration,” President Mark B. Rosenberg told the crowd. Those who came before us, he said, and those who work here today have built a great university on an abandoned airfield.

Ana Crucet, director of the College of Law’s Legal Studies Institute and a 15-year service recipient at the event, said FIU has been the best employer she’s ever had.

“I came to the university from the private sector, and I feel such a family atmosphere at FIU. Working here you don’t feel like retiring. You want more and more. It’s like an addiction. I hope to retire at the age of 98,” she said, laughing.

In addition to the service awards, the university gave out the following awards recognizing performance excellence: FIU Achievement Award, FIU Sustainability Award, FIU Knowledge Award, FIU Opportunity Award, FIU Torch Award, FIU Community Award, President’s Access & Equity Award, and the Presidential Excellence Award. Below is a list of 2011 winners as well as a video that captures some moments from the event.

FIU Achievement Award: Presented to an employee who has demonstrated FIU’s philosophy of innovative and creative thinking by accomplishing a significant goal or fulfilling a mission that helps to advance the university. Winner: Maribel Silva

FIU Sustainability Award: Presented to an eligible employee who promoted FIU’s respect for the environment by providing knowledge, education and modeling ways to achieve climate preservation as well as capitalize on the economic opportunities of the solutions developed. Winner: Maria Donoso

FIU Knowledge Award: Presented to an eligible employee who served as a role model for the pursuit, generation, dissemination and application of knowledge through professional development, mentorship and/or peer development. Winner: Hazel Hall

FIU Opportunity Award: Presented to an eligible employee or group of administrative employees who promoted FIU’s vision of being a leading urban public research university by contributing outstanding service with a focus on student learning, innovation and collaboration. Winner: Elizabeth Marston

FIU Torch Award: Presented to an eligible employee who exemplifies FIU’s institutional values of truth, freedom, respect, responsibility and excellence by exhibiting the highest standards of character and ethical behavior. Winner: Nathaniel Bell

FIU Community Award: Presented to an eligible employee or group of employees who supported the university’s mission by promoting high quality teaching, state-of-the-art research and creative activity, or collaborative engagement with our local and global communities during the past year. This award is sponsored by the Gabor Agency, Inc. Winner: Cecile Houry

President’s Access & Equity Award: Presented to a full-time employee who has consistently gone above and beyond his or her job responsibilities to promote and ensure diversity and inclusiveness. Winner: Krishnaswamy Jayachandran

FIU Presidential Excellence Award: Presented to a full-time employee, or group of employees, who supported institutional, strategic and operational excellence by restructuring processes to improve efficiency, productivity and quality; and/or implementing critical programs; receiving recognition from peers in the academic community for excellence in research, scholastic or creative activities. 1st Finalist: Agroecology Program (Mahadev Bhat, Krishnaswamy Jayachandran); 2nd Finalist: Commencement Committee Team (Laura Benavides, Penny Butler, Josefina Cagigal, Julissa Castellanos, Robert Dundas, Georgina Gonzalez, Rosa Gonzalez, Ruth Hamilton, Olga Hernandez, Sandra Jimenez, Albertha Jones, Cameron Jones, Amy Kay, Sanyo Mathew, Karla Ortega, Lourdes Pereira, Christopher Ponce, Birgitta Rausch-Montoto, Ronald Reyes, George Richardson III, Lynda Rodriguez, Marisa Salazar, Debra Sheridan Brinkman, Melissa Singh); 3rd Finalist: Division of External Relations Team (JoAnn Adkins, Elizabeth “Sissi” Aguila, Fabian Alcantara, Madeline Baro, Josefina Cagigal, Karen Cochrane, Daniel Diaz, Yolande Flores, Marylin Fontanilles-Castro, Doug Garland, Martin Haro, Olga Hernandez, Matthew Herzberger, Sandra Jimenez, Lissette Lanza, Cristina Marino, Eddie Merille, Oscar Negret, Deborah O’Neil, Andre Oliveira, Melissa Puente, Jean Paul Renaud, Desiree Rodriguez, Lynda Rodriguez, Kristina Sanchez, Maydel Santana-Bravo, Aileen Sola Torres); 4th Finalist: Hilary Landorf; and 5th Finalist: Office of Protocol and Special Events Team (Josefina Cagigal, Olga Hernandez, Sandra Jimenez, Cristina Marino). And the 2011 winner of the FIU Presidential Excellence Award: Commencement Committee Team.