Five Princeton University staff members were recognized for their commitment to excellence and exceptional performance during the annual Service Recognition Luncheon on March 29 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 Kristian Kauker of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), Tammy Knutson of the Office of Finance and Treasury, Joseph Montemarano of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM), Cathy Wertz of the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Mo Lin Yee of the Department of Anthropology.
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, 45 and 50 years of service were honored during the luncheon; those with 25 or more years of service also received commemorative gifts. A total of 448 University staff members with a collective 7,935 years of service were honored for their dedication this year (see "By the numbers" at right).
In remarks at the luncheon, Princeton President Shirley M. 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.
Kauker joined the Princeton staff in 1999 in the Academic Services unit of OIT. Today, he is an electronic specialist and is responsible for assisting students, faculty and staff members with their media services needs. In her nomination, Betty Leydon, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, wrote, "Much of what Kris does happens behind the scenes, and what is exceptional about him is his ability to harness IT to meet the needs of Princeton faculty, staff and students in a seamless fashion." Leydon added, "Kris is an extremely talented and accomplished professional who is firmly committed to making the use of videoconferencing at Princeton, in teaching and other areas, both successful and effective." Michael Mills, manager of Media Services in OIT, commented, "Kris always goes above and beyond the call of duty in providing any type of service or support. His personal pride always shows in his work."
Knutson has worked at the University since 1982, when she began as an office support staff member in the purchasing department. She has remained in the Office of Finance and Treasury and is currently an analyst in the University financial systems group. She is the primary lead for the PeopleSoft accounts payable and purchasing applications. Devesh Yadav, manager of PeopleSoft financial systems, wrote, "Tammy's greatest strength is not just her excellent PeopleSoft skills and her knowledge. More importantly, she is a problem-solver and a solution-seeker." Craig Richmond, director of labor accounting, added, "Tammy brings to the table an intangible quality that few people possess. She is able to think at a very detailed, logical level while at the same time relate to others in a very warm and approachable way. Tammy defines collaboration."
Montemarano came to Princeton in 1994 as associate director for industrial liasion in Princeton's Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials. Today, he is the executive director of the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) Center and director for industrial enterprise for PRISM. Claire Gmachl, director of MIRTHE and professor of electrical engineering, wrote, "Joe is the best executive director that one can wish for running a center as complex and demanding as MIRTHE. Joe keeps it humming along by taking care of all the daily, weekly, etc., demands; but much more than that, Joe has grown the center beyond its best imagined possibilities." James Sturm, director of PRISM and professor of electrical engineering, added, "Joe clearly goes above and beyond his duties by introducing, shaping and seeing through highly successful new initiatives at Princeton University."
Wertz joined the staff in the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1986 as a secretary. She was first promoted in 1988 to graduate program coordinator and is now the business manager responsible for managing the financial matters of the department. Peter Ramadge, professor and chair of the department, wrote, "Cathy Wertz's contributions have not been isolated or flashy; they have been strong and consistent, often hidden from the spotlight, and sustained over a period of many years." He continued, "I find it hard to imagine how the department could have functioned without the leadership, extraordinary effort and steady hand that she has provided." Sigurd Wagner, professor of electrical engineering, added, "Cathy is the unsung hero of our department. She combines outstanding performance with complete modesty. … At times she carried heroic double workloads and still did everything well."
Yee came to Princeton to help with yearlong events in celebration of the Graduate School's centennial in 2000. She returned to Princeton in 2003 to work in the Graduate School. She now works as the undergraduate administrator in the Department of Anthropology, where she manages course administration, monitors students' progress, advises students on administrative matters and develops programming. In her nomination, Carol Greenhouse, professor and chair of the department, wrote, "She works from a strong sense of the department and its complex priorities — all the while attending to the highly individual needs of students, faculty and staff colleagues." Carol Zanca, department manager, added, "Her focus is always the best interests of the students and she examines every angle to ensure the best undergraduate experience possible. … She has never been restricted by the title of her position; if she thinks the students need it, we hear it!"
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: Karen Jackson-Weaver, associate dean for academic affairs and diversity in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, and Stacey Weber-Jackson, grants manager in the Department of Electrical Engineering.
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 family. 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.
Jackson-Weaver was hired in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School in 2007 as associate dean for academic affairs and diversity. She will use the award to attend two conferences offered by the Association of American Colleges and Universities: "Modeling Equity, Engaging Difference: New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning" and "Next Generation STEM Learning: Investigative, Integrative, Innovative and Inspiring." In her application for the award, she wrote, "Attending these two working conferences will allow me to reflect upon Princeton's institutional mission and culture; design strategies and plans critical to future successes at the Graduate School; and think carefully about how to align institutional priorities with the Graduate School's resources."
Weber-Jackson came to the Department of Electrical Engineering in 2003 and is currently the grants manager. She will use the award to attend a National Council of University Research Administrators workshop titled "Sponsored Projection Administration II" and a conference titled "Financial Research Administration." In her application, she wrote, "By participating in the workshop and conference, I will have the opportunity to expand my knowledge on pre/post award issues and exchange best practice ideas with colleagues at other institutions. I look forward to sharing the knowledge acquired with my Princeton colleagues and it will give me the opportunity to ensure that I am contributing at the highest level to the goals of the University."