President's Achievement Award winners with the president

Princeton employees honored for special achievement, service and management leadership

On March 25, President Christopher L. Eisgruber (center) met with the 2021 President Achievement Award (PAA) recipients. (From left) Grace Penn, associate director for international affairs and operations, Office of the Provost (Penn was nominated for her previous role as associate director, affiliated groups and the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, University Advancement); Marty Krzywicki, detective and University police officer, Department of Public Safety; Mary O’Connor, manager, Office of the Chair, arts fellowships and special projects, Lewis Center for the Arts; Karla Ewalt, senior associate dean for research, Office of the Dean for Research; Julie Groeninger, director, Office of Government Affairs; Vince Cuomo, lead maintenance technician, Elevator/Electric Shop, Facilities Operations.

Every spring brings a burst of pride at Princeton University in the annual time-honored tradition of celebrating Princeton employee service and achievement. This year, 517 employees are being recognized for their dedicated years of service, along with six staff members who were named as President Achievement Award recipients and two employees who received the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award.

“Princeton’s people are, and always will be, what make this University a special place. Our staff can take pride in the impact they make every day on students, faculty, alumni and each other,” said Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, vice president for human resources. “On behalf of the Office of Human Resources, I congratulate all honorees who achieved service milestones in 2021. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the mission of the University.”

Service Recognition of Long-Serving Staff Members

In this video, University staff members who celebrated service milestones in 2021 share their experiences working at Princeton.

“Our staff provides the foundation on which our operations stand, and they contribute to the life and work of our University in countless ways,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “It is my pleasure to congratulate all the service honorees who have reached milestones in 2021. I am grateful for your years of dedicated service to the entire University community.”

All employees will receive by mail their certificates of recognition embossed with a special copper-engraved rendering of Nassau Hall by the late Michael Graves, the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture Emeritus and a renowned architect and designer, along with a commemorative pin for their specific years of service. Those with 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and 25 years of service also selected gifts from the special Princeton Service Recognition Program collection at Hamilton Jewelers.

By the Numbers:

  • 2 employees with 55 years of service
  • 3 employees with 50 years of service
  • 6 employees with 45 years of service
  • 20 employees with 40 years of service
  • 21 employees with 35 years of service
  • 36 employees with 30 years of service
  • 31 employees with 25 years of service
  • 126 employees with 20 years of service
  • 118 employees with 15 years of service
  • 154 employees with 10 years of service

Totaling 9,000+ years of combined service to Princeton University. For the full list of honorees, visit the Service Recognition Program page.

President’s Achievement Awards

Six Princeton staff members were honored as recipients of the President’s Achievement Award (PAA) for their commitment to excellence and exceptional performance. 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 selection for the President’s Achievement Award is one of the highlights of the year for me. This is the greatest honor we can bestow on a staff member,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “Those chosen for the award are staff who always go above and beyond what is expected, exemplifying Princeton’s service to the nation and the world. I am delighted to recognize the six 2021 award winners and thank them for their truly extraordinary achievements.” 

Recipients receive a framed certificate and a $2,500 award, and their names are inscribed on a plaque displayed in the Office of Human Resources. A formal ceremony is planned for May 5, 2022.

Vincent Cuomo, lead maintenance technician, Elevator/Electric Shop, Facilities Operations

Vince Cuomo

Vince Cuomo

Cuomo began his career at Princeton in 2002 as an electrician and because of his demonstrated technical ability, interpersonal skills, dedication, and professional drive rose to the rank of lead technician in the Elevator Shop.

His duties extend far beyond day-to-day maintenance. He excels on supporting campus projects, where his technical expertise and problem-solving skills are valued by University project leadership. As a leader, he engages junior members of the Electric Shop and serves as a mentor to all. Even though he is a subject matter expert and a senior member of the shop, Vince is a humble person and is always available for support and advice.

“I interact with many outstanding Princetonians, within and outside of Facilities. I can say with certainty that Vince Cuomo is among the group of top individuals, from both a personal and professional perspective. Vince ensures that over 200 campus elevators run reliably and are impeccably maintained. He does this through his technical skills, team leadership, and a personal work ethic that is unmatched,” said Joe Morgan, director, Facilities Operations.

Karla Ewalt, senior associate dean for research, Office of the Dean for Research

As senior associate dean for research, Ewalt's contributions to research continuity during COVID-19 have been nothing short of heroic. She played an absolutely indispensable role in every task that was needed in order to keep Princeton’s research enterprise safe and functioning during two extraordinarily challenging years

Karla L. Ewalt

Karla L. Ewalt

Dean of the College Jill Dolan wrote that “she helped the staff of the college make difficult decisions about on-campus undergraduate research in laboratories, always considering safety protocols and research goals with careful, thoughtful generosity.”

Ewalt also co-created Princeton Research Day (PRD), along with Pascale Poussart, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, and Christine Murphy, assistant dean for academic affairs in the Graduate School in 2016, and continues to co-lead this celebratory event where undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers present their work to the campus community, alumni and the public. Ewalt and her team re-imagined PRD in 2020 and 2021 and transformed them into virtual events. She did this on top of all her COVID-related responsibilities.

“Karla Ewalt’s knowledge, creativity, unlimited capacity for work, extraordinary ability to collaborate, and selfless dedication to Princeton’s research mission have enabled the successful resumption and safe operation of our research enterprise during the pandemic…and Princeton Research Day…is now a highlight of our academic year,” said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti.

Julie Groeninger, director, Office of Government Affairs

For 10 years, Groeninger has championed the University’s mission with creativity, dedication, an incredible work ethic, a tremendous collaborative spirit with colleagues on campus, at other universities, and in professional associations.

Julie Groeninger

Julie Groeninger

Joyce Rechtschaffen, assistant vice president, Government Affairs explains, “In the world of government affairs, resilience often means never giving up on your legislative goals, even when the odds and political winds seem stacked against you. Julie has embraced every challenge presented to her and has been a leader in areas of particular priority for this University."

She has successfully secured funding for the Roman telescope mission, a project in which Princeton researchers have played an essential role; she spent countless hours working on an action plan against policies that would, if implemented, be harmful to international students, faculty and staff, and DACA students; she is highly regarded for her work for the fusion community, organizing the annual Fusion Advocacy Day for 80 researchers in Washington, and has garnered a 30% increase in fusion funding.

“Julie Groeninger has expertly led fusion federal relations for Princeton, the laboratory, and, in a real sense, for the whole fusion community…” states Steven Crowley, director, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL). He goes on to praise her “impeccable judgment” and of seeing the “trust that key Congressional staffers of both parties” have in her.  That trust is key to making progress on the University’s legislative goals.

Marty Krzywicki, detective and University police officer, Department of Public Safety

Krzywicki joined the Department of Public Safety (DPS) as a security officer in 1995, and has since been promoted to communications officer, University police officer, and currently serves as detective. After 26 years of service, his reputation within the department, and within the law enforcement community, is superb.

Marty A. Krzywicki

Marty A. Krzywicki

Known as “go-to” person in the department if you have questions or need advice on best practices and innovative solutions, he also demonstrates sensitivity to the various threats and complaints registered within the department and will investigate the theft of a stolen scooter with the same vigor that he uses to approach campus-wide threats. He is empathetic and supportive of victims as they work through the details of a case and works tirelessly to find resolution and bring justice to the crime.

Assistant Vice President for Public Safety Ken Strother writes about the average solvability rate for various crimes to highlight his exceptional success rate: “The solvability of a robbery is about 50%, whereas the solvability of a sophisticated bomb threat drops to a very low percentage. Marty has successfully resolved three bomb threats to the campus community within the past two years – an outstanding rate of resolution and a testament to his commitment to our campus safety and security. He has evolved our detective capabilities and has elevated our status so that we are now recognized by national and international authorities.”

Mary O’Connor, manager, office of the chair, arts fellowships, and special projects, Lewis Center for the Arts

O’Connor is often referred to as the center and glue of Lewis Center for the Arts, quietly helping to steer across six academic programs, and countless events and goings-on.

Mary O’Connor

Mary O’Connor

Whether reimagining logistics during COVID, running the Princeton Arts Fellows program, or being the point person for the new Lewis Center student advisers, she has an uncanny ability to see what needs to be overhauled, tweaked, or maintained and is a thoughtful and measured decision-maker. Many rely on her collaborative spirit, trustworthiness, compassion, and generosity.

Former Chair Tracy K. Smith stated: “Excellence truly describes the manner in which Mary does her job. She sets high standards for the work she does, and she exceeds them as a manner of course. Her understanding of the role the Lewis Center plays goes far beyond its place as an academic unit; it is a community with the potential to change, and in some cases to save, lives.”

Erin West, program/business manager of Creative Writing said: “Mary transforms everything she leads – from a Friday meeting to a three-day festival – into something foundational and inspirational. Her relationships with colleagues across campus – from students to community members, to University administration – are an asset not just to the LCA, but to all of Princeton University.”

Grace K. Penn, associate director for international affairs and operations, Office of the Provost

(Penn was nominated for previous role: associate director, affiliated groups and the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, University Advancement)

Grace K. Penn

Grace K. Penn

A member of Princeton’s undergraduate class of 1999, Penn returned to her alma mater in 2015 to assume a role partnering with the University’s Black, Latino/a, Asian and Asian American, and LGBTQ+ alumni communities. She arrived at a pivotal moment for Princeton’s alumni engagement efforts, with the affinity groups in a process of rebuilding and in need of the right amount of support and encouragement.

Alexandra Day, deputy vice president for alumni engagement said: “Grace quickly built trusting relationships with the groups’ senior leaders and helped them enhance their strategic plans. These positive relationships laid the foundation for several successful affinity conferences, including the October 2019 Thrive Conference, open to all alumni but focused on empowering and celebrating Black alumni, and its predecessor, Adelante Tigres, open to all alumni but focused on Latino alumni. Through these efforts, Grace has helped to strengthen and deepen the University’s relationship with thousands of its alumni.”

Her deep commitment to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion also has included working on the Princeton Prize in Race Relations to recognize high school students engaged in efforts to advance racial equity in their communities and serving as a member of the campus-wide Senior Practitioners Diversity Group.

Griffin Management Award

Two staff members have been honored as recipients of the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award: Sam Evans, manager of global initiatives, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and Angela Ward, senior associate controller, Office of the Controller, Office of Finance and Treasury. 

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.

Sam Evans

Sam Evans

Sam Evans

Over the past eight years, Evans has steadily advanced his responsibilities and achievements. He began as an undergraduate coordinator in the Department of French and Italian, then was an undergraduate administrator and program manager in the Department of Art and Archaeology, and now is manager of global initiatives in the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), where he manages all aspects of the Program in South Asian Studies (SAS) and forms part of the PIIRS Global Seminar team, specifically working on a six-week summer course taught on-site at Ashoka University in New Delhi, India.

Susan Bindig, executive director, PIIRs, explained: “Sam’s position requires broad contact with offices and colleagues across campus and internationally. It also requires a willingness to leap into and grapple with new challenges that invariably accompany our many international assignments and frequently require quick and well-informed decisions, which was especially evident over COVID.” Ben Conisbee-Baer, the director of the Program in South Asian Studies (SAS), cites Sam as "truly an invaluable part of the running of SAS."

By receiving the Griffin Award, Sam will be able to attend a 2-day course, “Managing Yourself and Leading Others” administered by the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, which will further equip him to understand the challenges faced by managers and learn the tools and strategies to overcome them. It will also afford the opportunity to connect with other peers in the higher education field.

Angela Ward

Ward is the senior associate controller, Office of the Controller, Office of Finance and Treasury.  In his nomination, Controller Kenneth Molinaro described Angela as a “a proactive manager who often makes offers, brings solutions to the table, and initiates changes in her department,” as well as someone who is always “eager and able to develop new skills.”

Angela Ward

Angela Ward

Her role has expanded over the years with the addition of financial systems functional analysis and capital asset accounting. She has also taken over full responsibility for the annual audit and production of the financial statements, the implementation of complex accounting standards, and the relationship with PwC. Known as a mentor to many of the accountants and aspiring CPAs in Finance and Treasury who seek her counsel and advice, she always welcomes a conversation, whether about technical accounting issues, potential job opportunities, or career path advice.

The Griffin Award will enable Ward to take the Women in Leadership Certificate from Cornell University. It will allow her to learn how to navigate challenges that face women in leadership, such as social differences and effectiveness in the workplace, communication skills, conflict and negotiation, effective utilization of emotional intelligence, giving and receiving feedback, and navigation of challenges with work-life balance. Ward hopes to share this knowledge with other future women in leadership in her department.