Recipients of Board of Regents Staff Awards Honored

Baltimore, Md. (Sept.  25, 2018) – University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents Chairman James T. Brady and USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret honored winners of the 2018 USM Regents' Staff Awards at a breakfast ceremony before the September 21 meeting of the board, held at Towson University.

The awards honor winners’ exceptional contributions to their organizations, to students, and to the university community. Award winners are selected based on nominations and letters of support from colleagues. These nominations and letters culminate in a formal recommendation from the Council of University System Staff.

The Regents' Staff Awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the Regents for achievements of the exempt and non-exempt employees of USM institutions. Each award carries a $2,000 prize, provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation.

The following USM staff members were honored. The descriptions are adapted from the remarks made by Chairman Brady and Chancellor Caret at the awards event.

Exceptional Contribution to the Institution—Exempt Staff: Gary Seibel, University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP)
Gary is an Engineer in the Environmental Science and Technology Department at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) Project Development Center. In this position, he develops equipment for use by faculty, staff, and students in research.  Gary can work directly with a faculty member or student, understand their needs, and design a way to solve their research-related problem.  Gary has also been a main driver in the development of the two new and most popular departments, the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Environmental Science and Technology.  He is a key player in the success of both programs, which are design-related, hands on, integrative senior courses. 

Exceptional Contribution to the Institution—Non-Exempt Staff: Cheryl Hill, UMCP
Cheryl works as a Business Services Specialist for the University of Maryland Extension (UME) Northern Cluster. The UME-Northern Cluster has seen multiple staff and leadership changes in recent years. Throughout this time, Cheryl has been a constant. She has maintained policies and procedures, regardless of the status of leadership.  She has served under multiple Area Extension Directors, training them as they came into the position, then—by necessity—stepping in and assuming some of the duties when the position became vacant. During these transition periods, she worked additional hours to meet deadlines and stay within project timetables. Cheryl is in a non-leadership position, yet she has provided leadership on countless occasions for all new educators and employees.

Outstanding Service to Students in an Academic or Residential Environment—Exempt Staff: Denise Williams, Coppin State University
An Academic Program Specialist in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Denise serves Coppin students in both academic and personal matters, with a particular emphasis on students who are simultaneously parenting children and pursuing degrees. Denise understands the challenges of this particular student population first-hand. She worked toward her own graduate degree while the single parent of three boys—two with special needs.  As an academic advisor, she has assisted many students in their return to school after financial problems and childcare conflicts had forced them to withdraw.  She also established the Coppin Student Parent Organization to assist and encourage student-parents as they work towards their educational goals. She promotes their accomplishments and contributors to campus life.

Outstanding Service to Students in an Academic or Residential Environment—Non-Exempt Staff: Sara Lopez, UMCP
As a Food Service Aide 1, Sara developed and refined a set of guest service standards that led directly to the development of a Guest Service Coordinator role as an integral part of the dining service program at the UMCP.  As a designated “Guest Service Ambassador,” Sara trains new employees and helps perpetuate a culture of the highest possible level of service.  As noted by President Wallace Loh, “What makes Ms. Lopez so special is the way she forges a genuine emotional bond with generations of undergraduates … Because she works in the busiest residence hall diner, which serves most freshmen, her kindnesses count all the more.” 

Extraordinary Public Service to the University or to the Greater Community—Exempt Staff: Luis Alfonzo, UMCP
Luis is a horticulturist with Facilities Management, and has direct care over some of the most iconic landscape elements on Maryland’s flagship campus, including the signature floral “M,” the backdrop for graduation photos, news stories, promotional videos, protests, and celebrations since 1976.  Luis understands that to manage the ‘M’ “is to touch the lives of every campus citizen.” Luis has a passion for perfection and a passion for the positive impact that beauty can have in our daily lives, and he has shared this passion both on campus and in the greater community.  In addition to his campus responsibilities, he gives his time to community, strengthening the relationship between UMCP and its neighbors.

Effectiveness and Efficiency—Exempt Staff: Beth Walsh, Salisbury University (SU)
Beth facilitated the purchase and implementation of an electronic research administration tool that has not only become a repository for grant records, but also provides the grants office and faculty with a work-flow management system.  This was done by utilizing a software solution, Kuali, which has streamlined the process for identifying, applying for, and implementing grant awards and sponsored research programs across campus. Moreover, by keeping onboarding, training, and ongoing maintenance in house, it is estimated to have saved SU tens-of-thousands of dollars to date.  At a time when stewardship is of such importance, Beth’s efforts have helped to save time and money, and have streamlined a process that brings in additional funding for academic research.

Effectiveness and Efficiency--Exempt Staff: Brian Duke, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Chesapeake Biological Lab
Brian was instrumental in upgrading rooftop controls, replacing outdated pneumatic dampers, and providing 24-hour monitoring at UMCES’s Bernie Fowler Laboratory, saving more than $20,000 in energy costs in the first nine months after the treatment.  In addition, when Beaven Hall—the Chesapeake Biological Lab’s Administration Building—underwent emergency renovation to address inefficient heating and cooling, electrical infrastructure, and the fire safety and emergency egress, Brian responded with improvements that included 100% LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, replacement carpet made of recycled content, and a new building layout to improve emergency exiting.  Brian also replaced water jug units with Water Bottle Refilling Stations, saving money and supporting UMCES’s sustainability efforts. 

Inclusion, Multiculturalism, & Social Justice: Susan Willemin, Towson University (TU)
Susan performs outstanding social justice work and advocacy on behalf of students with disabilities, not only at Towson University, but also for students at all the institutions of higher education in Maryland.  This advocacy goes well beyond her Towson responsibilities for blind and deaf students.  As co-chair of the USM Accessible Technology and Information Workgroup, she led the development of a comprehensive set of cutting-edge guidelines to ensure that all USM institutions provide electronic information and technology accessible to individuals with disabilities.  This allows blind and deaf students, and others, access to the full educational experience. This initiative will continue for years to come and will clearly have a significant impact on the institutions and students with disabilities.

The Board of Regents thanks the thousands of USM staff in Maryland and around the world who are the bedrock of our success.

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719