Service Recognition Luncheon honors Princeton employees for long service, special achievement and management leadership
After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jadwin Gym was again bursting with pride during the Service Recognition Luncheon on April 5, the annual tradition celebrating Princeton employee service and achievement. There were 478 employees service honorees, along with six staff members who were named as President's Achievement Award recipients and two employees who received the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award.
“Being here together, in person, makes today extra special as we celebrate our honorees,” said Romy Riddick, vice president for human resources, who hosted the event. “As Princeton staff members, your roles are vital to supporting the University’s teaching and research mission. You comprise an extremely hard-working, talented and diverse group of employees who richly deserve to be recognized today for your many years of service and for your individual contributions that do so much to make this institution a truly great one.”
Service Recognition Honors
The Office of Human Resources annually honors employees who have attained service milestones beginning at 10 years of employment and continuing in succeeding five-year increments.
All employees honored for service milestones will receive a certificate 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 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30 and 25 years of service also selected gifts from the special Princeton Service Recognition Program collection at Hamilton Jewelers in Princeton.
In recognizing the service honorees, Executive Vice President Treby Williams said: “Each of you brings a unique combination of talents, skills, and experiences to our collective enterprise. Whether you maintain our campus infrastructure, keep our academic and administrative departments running smoothly, or tend to the multifaceted needs of our faculty, students, and alumni, you play an integral and invaluable role in this University’s educational mission.”
By the Numbers
1 employee with 55 years of service
3 employees with 50 years of service
14 employees with 45 years of service
10 employees with 40 years of service
34 employees with 35 years of service
25 employees with 30 years of service
35 employees with 25 years of service
88 employees with 20 years of service
128 employees with 15 years of service
140 employees with 10 years of service
Totaling 9,130 years of combined service to Princeton University.
For the full list of honorees and group photos, 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 as a whole.
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.
Williams read the following citations in introducing each award winner. President Christopher L. Eisgruber met previously with the honorees.
Kate Braunstein, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Kate joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) in 2018, after serving with distinction in the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning and the Budget Office. As CBE’s senior manager for finance and administration, she has significantly strengthened her department’s administrative processes, served as a dynamic partner for its chairs, and played a vital role in guiding faculty and students through the worst of the pandemic.
Kate’s colleagues note with admiration her “deep knowledge of University procedures and policies,” her “passion for furthering the University’s mission through collaborative partnerships,” and her penchant for “asking probing questions and offering fact-based, creative solutions.” Professor Christos Maravelias credits her with making his “first few months as CBE chair manageable and even exciting,” noting that she “seems to have the answer to all my questions within minutes.”
Whether Kate is restructuring staff positions, upgrading spaces, digitizing records, or co-leading CBE’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, she is, Professor Maravelias writes, “resourceful, proactive, and reliable.” These qualities have served her and many others well on University-wide committees, extending her positive impact far beyond the borders of her own department.
Ma. Florevel (Floe) Fusin-Wischusen, Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering
Floe has been the manager of the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering, better known as PICSciE, since its inception 15 years ago.
Thanks to her leadership abilities, PICSciE has evolved from a grassroots, faculty-managed initiative to a robust academic unit with its own staff and office space in the Lewis Science Library.
In nominating her for this award, Professor Jeroen Tromp, director of PICSciE, wrote, “Floe’s contributions to the University’s teaching and research mission are exemplified by PICSciE’s Education and Training Program, which she has administered and supported since day one. This fabulous program currently involves dozens of workshops and short courses for Princeton students and faculty.”
Floe has also worked on a host of complex proposals, including one that led to the creation of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High Energy Physics, a $25-million National Science Foundation project headquartered in PICSciE.
Floe also founded and chairs PICSciE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and led the effort to draft and publish a DEI statement for Princeton Research Computing. Finally, she is a founding member and past president of the International Employees Group at Princeton.
Da’Ron Groce, Resource Recovery Program, Facilities
Da’Ron carefully manages and maintains Building Services’ Resource Recovery Program. This environmentally friendly enterprise takes items that no longer have a use on campus and offers them to the public and to non-profits in the greater Princeton area.
Assistant Vice President for Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appelget notes that hundreds of donations are made to local organizations through the Resource Recovery Program and that Da’Ron is an essential partner in this outreach initiative. “He helps us to think creatively and strategically to find new homes for specialized equipment and everyday items,” she writes, supporting our local community in a way that receives little attention but has a substantive impact on many lives.
Da’Ron is called to evaluate items like furniture, bookshelves, technology, and even unique pieces such as a large audience riser system and stage. He treats each item—big or small, ordinary or exotic—with the same care and he provides an extremely high level of service to everyone who visits his warehouse.
Da’Ron’s deep commitment to addressing needs in our community and to building a sustainable future embodies Princeton’s informal motto.
Lisa Schreyer, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
Lisa began her career at Princeton in 2001 as the Graduate School’s residential life coordinator, then became associate dean for student life. Today she serves as its deputy dean, a testament to the selflessness and skill that are hallmarks of her work. Dean of the Graduate School Rodney Priestley notes, “Lisa has been faced with many challenges within the Graduate School, and in isolation, they were manageable; however, combined, the scope of work was enormous.”
In her first months as deputy dean she was tasked with ushering in two new Ph.D. programs, multiple certificate programs, and a unique PPPL/SEAS Master of Engineering program with no precedent. Lisa managed to meet the deadlines for these programs, which will greatly strengthen Princeton’s graduate offerings.
For two decades, Lisa has helped our graduate students cope with the pressures and relish the joys of earning an advanced degree, providing a wealth of practical guidance and moral support.
Her colleague, Eva Kubu, associate dean for professional development, commends Lisa for her dedication, focus, and calm influence. “To say Lisa serves as a role model that others rely on during difficult periods is an extreme understatement.”
Dianne Spatafore, Office of the Dean of the College, Residential Colleges
As the inaugural director of Campus Club and now as the college program administrator for New College West, Dianne has not only touched the lives of countless young Princetonians, she has also brought new spaces to life.
Dianne is responsible for overseeing the operational and financial management of one of Princeton’s two new residential colleges. Her warmth is matched only by her organizational savvy, which stood her in good stead when she and her colleagues moved from First College to New College West last year.
Dianne put in countless hours participating in meetings, looking over plans, and reiterating concerns, both on behalf of New College West and Yeh College. She has immersed herself in issues regarding storage, furnishings, vehicle access, stairwells, door locks, moving logistics, and the use of common spaces, including a dining hall, coffee club, ceramics studio, and demonstration kitchen.
When she isn’t preoccupied with bricks and mortar, Dianne has a gift for thinking about how life outside the classroom can help students to learn and grow and for helping them to develop programming that speaks to their extracurricular needs.
Larry Spruill, Housing and Real Estate Services
Larry serves as an area coordinator in Housing and Real Estate Services, a multi-faceted role that requires working with students, faculty, and staff both during business hours and as part of the after-hours, on-call response team. His role requires patience, flexibility, and quick thinking, as well as a healthy dose of good humor – qualities that he possesses in abundance.
His supervisor, Chris Warkala, senior manager for housing facilities, says: “I am constantly receiving feedback from residents who say, ‘Larry is a superstar,’ and work orders that say, ‘please send Larry.’”
Vice President for University Services Chad Klaus notes that Larry “stands out for his dependability, diligence, and dedication in performing his regular duties, and we turn to him often for special assignments that require extra sensitivity and care.” Indeed, during the height of the pandemic, Larry and his team demonstrated these strengths, as well as courage, by delivering close to 2,000 meals to quarantining and isolating students.
Larry is also known for his commitment to at-risk youth in Princeton, having founded Committed and Faithful Princetonians (CFP) with his wife, Fern. He is source of inspiration both on and off our campus. Larry has 33 years of service.
Donald Griffin '23 Management Award
Two staff members were honored as recipients of the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award.
The Griffin Management Award was established by the family of alumnus and administrator Donald Griffin, Class of 1923. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his graduation from Princeton. The award is given by the Office of Human Resources to recognize administrative employees with a $2,500 grant to participate in an educational or professional conference that can result in new insights and perspectives, renewed motivations, or enhanced skills that can be applied to their current responsibilities.
Riddick read the following citations in recognizing the winners:
Kimberly Murray, University Center for Human Values
Kim came to Princeton in March 2018 as a department coordinator in the Department of Politics, and in November 2019, she began her current role as a program coordinator at the University Center for Human Values (UCHV).
In her nomination, Melissa Lane, director of the center, noted how “Kim is exactly the kind of natural leader in the administrative domain for whom this award is designed and will do the utmost with the new skills it provides to serve UCHV and the mission of the University.”
Kim demonstrates a collaborative spirit, good judgment, strong initiative, and a generosity of spirit towards her colleagues.
She knows her job well and is dedicated to continuous improvement. This is particularly evident in her support of the Values and Public Life Certificate Program. Sandra Bermann, director of the program, writes, “Kim has an exceptionally fine-grained sense of the VPL program. Without her, I cannot imagine doing all the work involved or keeping such good track of each student’s progress.”
Thanks to the Griffin Award, Kim will be able to attend Cornell University’s Administrative Management Certificate Program. She expects to build upon her core skills and acquire new competencies, such as optimizing remote team performance, exercising leadership in the context of a hybrid workforce, and gaining an understanding of unconscious bias. Other timely topics include legal and policy issues around “free” speech, data-informed decision-making, and human resource management.
James Van Wyck, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
The Graduate School hired James in 2019 as a program specialist, and he was quickly promoted to assistant dean for professional development. In her nomination, associate dean for professional development at the Graduate School, Eva Kubu, described the widespread and profound impact James has had on the graduate student community.
“James is innovative, strategic, and highly collaborative – and has helped forge new ground within the field of graduate student professional development. In addition to mentoring and coaching hundreds of Princeton graduate students and alumni during his time at the Graduate School, James has also contributed to shaping the futures of graduate students across the country through his involvement in national efforts aimed at reimagining graduate education and doctoral training. He thinks globally and acts locally, constantly incorporating new knowledge and insights into his work in ways that benefit the entire graduate student community and the broader campus.”
James is the consummate relationship-builder and connector with a deep sense of how our University works.
Through the Griffin Award, James will attend the Modern Language Association’s Summer Leadership Programming Series. He will explore such topics as managing conflict and facilitating difficult conversations; securing funding from public and private sources; coordinating curriculum design, assessment, and reform; and exercising leadership in times of crisis.