Employees honored for dedication and service

Five University staff members were recognized for their exceptional performance during the annual Service Recognition Luncheon on March 26 in Jadwin Gymnasium. In addition, two staff members were honored for their leadership potential.

Those honored as recipients of the President’s Achievement Award were: William Dix, senior technical specialist in the Department of Physics; Lorrie McGough, mortgage loan officer in the Office of Real Estate Finance; Rita Saltz, senior policy adviser for support services in the Office of Information Technology; Joseph Vocaturo, senior technical support staff member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Patricia Weiss, finance manager in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

President Tilghman and winners of the President’s Achievement Award
President Tilghman (center) joins the winners of the President’s Achievement Award (from left): Lorrie McGough, Joseph Vocaturo, Patricia Weiss and William Dix. (Not pictured: Rita Saltz; photo: Denise Applewhite)

The award was established in 1997 to recognize members of the support and administrative staffs with five or more years of service whose dedication, excellent work and special efforts have contributed significantly to the success of their departments and the University. The winners receive a framed certificate and a $2,000 award and have their names inscribed on a plaque that is displayed in the Office of Human Resources.

The President’s Achievement Award is part of the University’s Staff Recognition Program administered by the Office of Human Resources. Staff members with 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50 years of service were presented with a certificate during the luncheon; those with 25 or more years of service also received commemorative gifts. A total of 373 University staff members with a collective 7,025 years of service were honored for their dedication this year (see “By the numbers” in this issue of the PWB).

In remarks at the luncheon, President Tilghman commended both the award winners and the long-serving staff members who were recognized at the event, praising their talent, dedication and commitment to excellence in their work at the University.

Dix joined the Princeton staff in 1967 in the machine shop on the Forrestal Campus and has worked in the Department of Physics since 1988. In his current role, Dix works alongside students and faculty to solve design problems and manages a team of staff members who create experimental apparatus. In his nomination, Curtis Callan, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics and department chair, wrote, “One of the attributes that sets Bill apart from others is that he is a team player who elevates those around him by example. He works with the other staff in the shop, with the faculty and with the students. He is one of those who thinks in terms such as ‘our job’ and ‘how can we accomplish thus and such.’” According to Suzanne Staggs, professor of physics, “Bill Dix deserves substantial credit for the excellent job he does running the shop in a highly professional manner, yet with enough flexibility to be able to accommodate the special needs of small research groups in a timely way.” Callan also stated that Dix is a team player who has a passion for learning and is a major resource for the University.

McGough joined the University as a staff member in building services in 1991 and transferred to the Office of Real Estate Finance in 1993. She now administers the University’s Mortgage Loan Program, providing support and guidance to many faculty and staff. McGough was described as “the embodiment of an institutional employee” by Caroline Clancy, director of real estate finance, and Christopher McCrudden, vice president and senior adviser to the president. In their joint nomination, Clancy and McCrudden wrote, “Due to Lorrie’s extraordinary interpersonal skills, customer service skills, highly developed work and personal standards, impeccable personal ethics, and knowledge of finance and banking, she has become a KEY person in the process of the recruitment and retention of our superior faculty and administrative staff.” David Dobkin, dean of the faculty, wrote, “In short, Lorrie is a hidden jewel of our recruiting efforts and I am certain that we have attracted some faculty because of Lorrie’s presence on campus.”

Saltz has been at Princeton since 1985, working in the Office of Information Technology. As senior policy adviser since 2004, Saltz helps to create, interpret, enforce and revise policies regarding the use of Princeton’s information technology resources. Saltz has served as a staff representative to the Council of the Princeton University Community, and has been a member of the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects and the provost’s Survey Coordination Group. In her nomination, Betty Leydon, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, noted that Saltz excels in her role as senior policy adviser. “She acts as a mentor and generous colleague to staff, she furthers the academic mission of the University through her personalized support for faculty, she builds strong relationships with the student and alumni bodies, and she has a well-deserved reputation as a national leader in our field,” Leydon wrote. Clayton Marsh, University counsel, stated, “We are so fortunate to have in Rita a colleague and friend who exemplifies the dedication, intelligence and warmth of spirit that brings a great university to life.”

Vocaturo joined the University staff in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1999. In addition to fulfilling his role in planning and teaching undergraduate labs, Vocaturo has been involved with two major exhibitions at the Princeton University Art Museum: “The Art of Structural Design: A Swiss Legacy” and “Félix Candela: Engineer, Builder, Structural Artist.” According to Michael Celia, the Theodora Shelton Pitney Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of civil and environmental engineering and department chair, “He is firmly committed to our students, providing guidance, coordination, input and just good, old-fashioned hard work in our teaching labs. And, through his meticulous work on the Candela and ‘Swiss Legacy’ models, Joe has become a wonderful ambassador for the department and the University.” Maria Garlock, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, added, “Without Joe’s creativity and innovation for designing teaching labs and building models, our labs and exhibitions would not be as successful as they are.”

Weiss has been a Princeton staff member since 1992 in the Department of Chemical Engineering. In his nomination, Richard Register, professor of chemical engineering and department chair, wrote, “In that time, there is literally no administrative job in the department that Patti has not done, including serving as assistant to the chair, filling in for an absent undergraduate coordinator and even performing the duties of interim department manager.” In her nomination, Karen Haskin, former department manager in chemical engineering and now director of academic management in the Office of the Provost, wrote, “She operates at all times in an above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty mode. She never says she cannot do something nor complains of being too busy.” Register also stated, “Patti Weiss has proven herself time and again to be an indispensable source of support for faculty, staff and students in the chemical engineering department.”

Griffin Management Award

In addition to the President’s Achievement Award winners, two staff members were honored as recipients of the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award. They were: Maria Flores-Mills, associate dean in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, and Jennifer Widdis, analyst in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

The award was established to honor Griffin — a 1923 alumnus who served as the longtime secretary and general secretary of Princeton’s Alumni Council — through a gift from his son James, a 1955 alumnus; his granddaughter, Barbara Griffin Cole, a 1982 alumna; and her husband, Chris Cole, a 1981 alumnus. The award was instituted by the Office of Human Resources to recognize administrators who would like to develop their leadership and management skills. The winners receive a grant of up to $2,500 to participate in professional activities scheduled within the next year to provide new insights and perspectives, renew motivation and/or enhance skills applicable to their current responsibilities.

Flores-Mills joined the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students in 2001 as an assistant dean, becoming associate dean in 2006. She plans to attend a summer professional development program that strives to provide innovative and practical ideas for addressing critical challenges on college campuses across the country.

Widdis was hired in the Department of Computer Science in 2001 before joining the staff in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty in 2007. She will attend the National Association of College and University Business Officers Intermediate Accounting and Reporting Workshop this spring.