President's Achievement Award recipients stand with President Eisgruber

Service Recognition Luncheon honors Princeton employees for dedication and service

April 19, 2019 9:45 a.m.

President Christopher L. Eisgruber, center, joins staff members who received this year’s President’s Achievement Award, from left: Marna Seltzer, Theodore Lewis Jr., Gale Sandor, Angela Francis and Nancy Burns. The awardees were honored at the annual Service Recognition Luncheon on March 16.

Five Princeton staff members were recognized for their commitment to excellence and exceptional performance during the University's annual Service Recognition Luncheon on March 21 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: Nancy Burns, Princeton University Library; Angela Francis, Office of the Executive Vice President; Theodore Lewis Jr., Facilities; Gale Sandor, Department of Mathematics; and Marna Seltzer, Department of Music.

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 recipients received a framed certificate and a $2,500 award and their names are inscribed on a plaque 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 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15 and 10 years of service were honored during the luncheon. A total of 480 University staff members with a collective 8,500 years of service were honored for their dedication this year (see "By the numbers" below).

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber recognized both the award recipients and the long-serving staff members, praising their talent, skills and experience. He concluded by stating, "This remarkable dedication is inspiring, and I am grateful to you all for your contributions to our University." What follows are excerpts from his remarks.

Nancy Burns

Nancy is a senior bibliographic specialist who has served the Princeton University Library with distinction for 37 years. In this role, she works tirelessly to improve the experience of accessing the library’s vast resources. For example, much of Nancy’s day-to-day work involves troubleshooting access to electronic journals. She receives reports, meticulously follows up with each user, and provides clear instructions every step of the way. Her extraordinary attention to detail and creative problem-solving make a profound difference in the user experience. Peter Green, cataloging and metadata technology specialist, says that Nancy’s “deep institutional knowledge, brilliant analytical skills and reliable efficiency are truly unmatched, and her quiet and understated demeanor make her a pleasure to work with and an example to uphold.”

Nancy is also involved in an effort to better represent electronic journal titles in the library’s catalogue. Nancy has provided invaluable feedback and detailed documentation to Mark Zelesky, the primary developer of this new system. He says that Nancy “is a tireless worker with a keen eye for detail,” qualities that have made her the “go-to [person] for analyzing data.”

Amidst a rapidly evolving digital age, Nancy ensures that the library’s curation of printed serials and periodicals keeps pace as well. According to Engineering Librarian Willow Dressel, “It is not just that Nancy helps keep all these constantly changing things in order, but she is prompt, fastidious and pleasant while she does it.”

Nancy, through your generosity, attention to detail and extraordinary commitment, you have made a tremendous contribution to the University’s mission. I am pleased to recognize your outstanding service with this award.

Attendees eating lunch at the service recognition luncheon

A total of 480 University staff members with a collective 8,500 years of service were honored this year. The luncheon was held in Jadwin Gymnasium.

Angela Francis

Angela is the executive assistant to Executive Vice President Treby Williams, and she works closely with all divisions that report to the Office of the EVP. Angela exhibits dedication and foresight each day, consistently arriving early in order to spot and preemptively solve potential challenges before they arise. In the words of Jen Neill, executive assistant to Vice President Rochelle Calhoun, “[Angela] is five steps ahead of the needs of her fast-paced, ever-changing office...”

Angela also manages EVP Williams’ calendar. She seamlessly collaborates with partners across campus in order to facilitate EVP Williams’ involvement in key projects such as the 2026 Campus Plan. According to Abby Levine, executive assistant to Vice President Chad Klaus: “Angela, to me, exemplifies what it means to be a Good University Citizen. She manages administrative projects of the EVP office with a refreshing calm, balanced flair and has a similar impact with all the units that roll up under the EVP portfolio.”

Each of her recommenders emphasized that Angela goes above and beyond the call of duty. For example, she organizes informal gatherings for the Cabinet members’ executive assistants throughout the year. Jeanhee Keyek, executive assistant to Lianne Sullivan Crowley, says, “She motivates her colleagues to trust themselves, to work with purpose, to be kind, to strive for excellence, and to enjoy the journey. I value the relationship that she’s helped create among the EA’s group…She [is] the glue that keeps us all together.”

Angela, your exceptional dedication and warmth of spirit make a profound difference to the leadership of the University. Thank you for all you do, and congratulations!

Theodore Lewis Jr.

As supervisor of the Paint Shop, Ted manages a staff that is responsible for painting, refinishing hardwood floors, preparing signage on a variety of departments, and completing special projects such as the tiger murals in Dillon Gym. According to James Simpson, assistant director of Building Trades, “Ted’s strength of character, strong work ethic and integrity have earned him the respect of his peers and staff.”

The Paint Shop has excelled under Ted’s management. For example, Ted has implemented innovative work schedules that allow his staff to access administrative areas during off hours and weekends to prevent disruption to departments. He has also coordinated specialized training in “faux finishes” which benefits the University through substantial cost savings.  And he is an advocate for workplace safety, organizing trainings to develop key skills and obtaining specialized equipment to exceed acceptable safety standards.  In addition, as you heard in the video, the Paint Shop undertakes the monumental task of painting dormitories on an annual basis. This involves painting over 3,200 undergraduate dormitory rooms and over 700 graduate rooms and apartments! Ted orchestrates this complex process beautifully each year.

Steve Virostko Jr., project manager in the Office of Capital Projects sums it up nicely:  “Ted’s commitment to the Facilities Organization is a testament to his character. He truly demonstrates good judgment and integrity each and every day, not only within Facilities, but to the University as a whole.”

Ted, thank you for your exemplary service to the Princeton community. It is a pleasure to congratulate you on receiving this award.

Gale Sandor

Gale has served as the events specialist in the Department of Mathematics since 2007. In this capacity, she supports a wide variety of events from receptions to dinners and conferences drawing hundreds of attendees. Gale is known for her extraordinary attention to detail. Mathematics Department Manager Kathleen Applegate says, “I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work with Gale. The highest compliment I can give is that something was acceptable by Gale’s standards. This goes one level above the gold standard — the Gale Standard.” To achieve this level of precision, Gale regularly searches for new suppliers and vendors to provide the best quality and price. Then, she goes a step further by generously sharing this detailed knowledge with her colleagues.

Mathematics department Chair Dave Gabai says, “Behind the scenes, working totally selflessly, she has a tremendous impact. That her work for the math department is a labor of love is evident to all who know her.” This level of care extends to the smallest details. For example, Professor Charles Fefferman recalls that he once mentioned his favorite type of tea in a casual conversation with Gale. He has found a regular supply of that tea in his mailbox ever since.

Gale’s former supervisor in the Department of Public Safety, Donald Reichling, says it best:  “Gale was one of the most thorough employees I have ever seen … I believe she embodies all that is great at Princeton!”

Gale, I agree and I am delighted to celebrate your contributions to this campus. Thank you, and congratulations!

Marna Seltzer

In the past nine years, Marna has established Princeton University Concerts as one of the most respected chamber music presenters in the country. Musical America Worldwide recognized this hard work and creativity when it named her among the Top 30 Professionals of 2017, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of arts management.

According to Melissa Lane, Class of 1943 Professor of Politics and director of the University Center for Human Values, “Marna is dynamite:  she is a visionary leader who … is always innovating and exploring new ways to engage the campus community in the joys of … music.” Music department Chair Wendy Heller agrees, saying, “My colleagues and I have developed enormous respect for Marna’s artistic judgment, her deep knowledge of the repertory that allows her to program concerts so ingeniously …  and her keen understanding of how to satisfy and challenge Princeton audiences.”

This year, Marna secured the renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel as the 2018-19 artist-in-residence. This remarkable feat enables our campus to learn from one of the world’s greatest living artists. Marna has extended the impact of this residency further by engaging music students and public-school teachers in Trenton. Department of Music senior Lou Chen ’19 who works with many of these students, affirms that this initiative “has opened the students’ eyes to the possibilities inherent in musical performance and collaboration, and enabled them to pursue these possibilities with newfound confidence and resolve.”

In the words of Stan Katz, the director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies: “Marna is a phenomenon and a treasure for our community.”  Marna, congratulations on this well-deserved award!

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Femke de Ruyter receives award from Maureen Connolly
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Nic Voge receiving award from Maureen Connolly
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Femke de Ruyter, right, program coordinator in the University Center for Human Values, is honored with the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award by Maureen Connolly, director of learning and development in the Office of Human Resources.

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Dominic Voge, right, senior associate director in the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, is honored with the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award by Maureen Connolly, director of learning and development in the Office of Human Resources.

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 Femke de Ruyter, University Center for Human Values, and Dominic Voge, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. 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 is given 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.

Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, vice president for Human Resources, spoke about each Griffin Award recipient, and excerpts of her remarks follow.

Femke de Ruyter

Femke has been employed as the program manager in the University Center for Human Values since 2013 when she was promoted from a position in the Woodrow Wilson School. In her nomination, Melissa Lane, the director of the center and the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics, noted how Femke exemplifies leadership traits and the strong potential for leadership growth in how learns and applies a new skill, affects others by motivating them, and looks for opportunities to foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals.

Melissa described Femke’s effectiveness in managing complex and high-profile events for the center, often working closely with faculty and senior administrators, both at Princeton and other universities. She explained how Femke makes suggestions, implements creative approaches and engages in other activities that are outside the general scope of Femke’s job responsibilities.

By receiving the Griffin Award, Femke will be able to attend Cornell University’s four-day program at the School for Continuing Education and Summer Sessions Administrative Management Institute to enrich her professional development. She expects to build upon her core skills, acquire new competencies, be exposed to other important areas of higher academic administration, network with and learn from various university administrators, and practice communication skills through role-playing. Some of the courses that interest Femke include “Creating a Culture of Innovation and Creativity,” “Sponsored Programs Compliance: What You Should Know,” and “People: Difficult or Different.”

Dominic Voge

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning hired Nic in 2009 as the associate director. Currently, Nic is the senior associate director for Learning Programs. In her nomination, Director Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu described the widespread and profound impact that Nic has had on student learning. She noted how, under his guidance, course-specific academic support has been normalized to eliminate any stigma or marginalization that students previously felt in seeking out group or individual tutoring. Through Nic’s innovation, he developed a learning consultation program that trains students to guide their peers through a holistic assessment of their academic and personal well-being and devise strategies to improve both.

Nic’s influence doesn’t end within the center. His leadership in this area extends to training colleagues from a broad range of departments. He also has influenced a national conversation around tutoring and academic support as a key member of the Steering Committee of Resilience Consortium and as an organizer and presenter at a symposium held last year.

Through the Griffin Award, Nic will participate in the Wholebeing Institute where he expects to expand his managerial and consultation skill set learned through a performance coaching methodology that constitutes a unique approach to management and supervision. Nic plans to attend positive psychology sessions on “Coaching Fundamentals,” “Coaching: Skill-Building Intensive” and “Coaching Mentorship.”

For additional information about these programs including videos and pictures from the Service Recognition Luncheon, visit the Office of Human Resource's website.

By the numbers: Service Recognition Luncheon

In addition to the winners of the President's Achievement Award and Donald Griffin '23 Management Award, a total of 480 University staff members with a collective 8,500 years of service were honored for their dedication at the annual Service Recognition Luncheon on March 16. They included:

1 employee with 50 years of service

5 employees with 45 years of service

15 employees with 40 years of service

25 employees with 35 years of service

37 employees with 30 years of service

43 employees with 25 years of service

61 employees with 20 years of service

96 employees with 15 years of service

197 employees with 10 years of service

All employees received certificates of recognition embossed with a special copper-engraved rendering of Nassau Hall by the late Michael Graves. Those with 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and 25 years of service selected gifts from the Princeton recognition collection at Hamilton Jewelers.