The winners of the Presidential Award for outstanding service in 2010 were honored by President Richard H. Brodhead at a luncheon Wednesday, April 20. The awards, which are among the most prestigious honors given to Duke staff and faculty, recognize employees' distinctive contributions to Duke University & Health System over the past year.
Before calling the winners to the podium to receive their awards, Brodhead spoke briefly about his joy of learning through the award process about the many jobs done at Duke, and the difference it makes when each job is done well.Read More
"There are two ways of doing every single job in an organization," he said. "You can do the least you need to do to avoid getting in trouble, or you can plug your heart and soul into it and do it with excellence.
"It is only because each of you has discovered so many ways of doing your job even better than your employer could have ever hoped to ask of you that Duke is the great place it is."
This year's honorees included five Presidential Award winners and 18 Meritorious Award winners. Presidential Award winners received a Presidential Medallion and $1,000 check. Meritorious Award winners received a plaque and $100.
The following employees received the Presidential Award for 2010:
Wesley PhillipsSpecial Projects SupervisorDuke Lemur Center
Wesley Phillips' day may include clearing storm-tossed trees from electrified fencing, tracking down glitches in alarm systems that protect irreplaceable animals, changing a blown tire on a vehicle, or fixing a leaky faucet in the office. As a one-man maintenance crew for the Duke Lemur Center, Phillips has an intimate knowledge of all the structures and equipment in the 76-acre reserve that is home to 225 endangered animals.
But he's not just a fix-it man: he's a creator as well. In 2010 he designed and constructed two new mouse lemur cage complexes that each consist of more than 20 cages with interconnecting tunnels. The design allows the tiny animals to roam safely day and night and interact with other members of their species. After moving to their new home, the Center's mouse lemurs successfully bred and produced offspring for the first time in nearly two decades.
Greg Dye, operations manager, wrote in his nomination letter of the thousands of dollars that Phillips has saved Duke in long-term maintenance fees and contracts, and his willingness to tackle any project put before him. "The effort and devotion of this humble man, given so generously to the DLC, helps to distinguish Duke from anyplace else," he said.
Tami TuckAdministrative AssistantChildren's Environmental Health Initiative, Nicholas School of the Environment
To staff, students, post-docs, and collaborators at the Children's Environmental Health Initiative, Tami Tuck is the person who makes their lives easier.
As an administrative assistant for this thriving research, education and outreach program, one of Tuck's responsibilities is to orient new staff members, collaborators, research assistants and interns through the intricacies of how to reserve workstations, fill out time cards, request parking, set up meetings, and take care of other logistics so that they can get to work quickly.
Pamela Maxson, director of human resources for CEHI, says Tuck is instrumental in making new employees and collaborators feel welcome and comfortable. "She is a source of strength, information and support for all employees, from the new recruit to CEHI's director," Maxson said.
Marie Lynn Miranda, the director of CEHI, made special note of Tuck's professionalism and diplomacy in her letter of nomination.
"Tami is organized, persistent, meticulous, levelheaded, creative, efficient, and a team player," Miranda wrote. "She is truly motivated by the mission of the organization. [Her] many contributions make the CEHI and the university more highly functioning and more humane, which I find to be an extraordinary combination."
Tamara A. OvercashDirector, Prospect Research, Management and AnalyticsUniversity Development
In 2010, Tamara Overcash helped launch the Discovery Pools Project for University Development. This project identifies new prospects, verifies their gift capacity, and pushes the names out to front-line fundraisers at Duke. Since the launch of Discovery Pools, $1.2 million has been solicited from individuals who were not previously cultivated as donors to Duke.
That's just one example of the many tools Overcash has implemented since she joined University Development in 2006 as director of the prospect research, management and analytics unit and dedicated herself to improving the information that development officers have when they reach out to prospective donors.
"Tamara had a vision of what would improve and enhance the tools of fundraisers to bring in more dollars for Duke," Kelly Vogel, briefings specialist and senior research analyst for principal gifts, said in her nomination. "She crafted a professional team of forward-thinking, diverse individuals who believed in her vision and worked hard to carry it out. She keeps the team moving forward as only a top-notch coach could."
Ann Gleason, assistant vice president for Major Gifts Program and Special Initiatives notes that although Overcash has been battling leukemia for six months, she has continued to ensure that the department's work moves forward unabated during her absences. "Tamara's dedication to Duke, development and her team sets her apart from her peers," Gleason said.
Christine AdamczykProject Director, Duke Center for Science EducationDepartment of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, School of Medicine
Christine Adamczyk is never happier than when she is surrounded by students eagerly engaging in science. But she's not a teacher. She's the energy behind Duke's Center for Science Education, an outreach program that promotes interdisciplinary research in science education and community outreach, civic engagement, and service learning opportunities for the Duke community.
She plans Summer Science Sleuths at Duke, a summer science camp for 8th - 10th graders at Duke. She creates "lunch bunch" meetings for faculty and staff who wish to develop science education programs and resources. She took 20 students, faculty and staff to Washington D.C. for the first annual USA Science and Engineering Festival on the mall.
"In the past year and a half, Chris has accomplished more than many employees might accomplish over five years," said nominator Rochelle D. Schwartz-Bloom, director of the center. "Her passion and energy for engaging the Duke community in science education outreach are remarkable."
Gerald L. WilsonSenior Associate DeanTrinity College of Arts & Sciences
For more than 40 years, Gerald Wilson has been tending to academic standards at Duke, not just in his history classes, but also as a dean. His current role is that of senior associate dean for the eleven academic deans of Trinity College.
"Academic Deans uphold the academic standards of the College," said nominator Lee Baker, dean of academic affairs for Trinity. "Dean Wilson sets the tone for a culture of equity, fairness, deliberation, cooperation and innovation among the Deans by providing real leadership by example. The way he adjudicates complex and compelling academic problems is both sensitive and fair."
In addition to his duties as dean, Wilson also heads up Duke University's pre-law advising, which shepherds more than 300 students and alums each year through the daunting process of applying to law school. "He singlehandedly writes over 300 letters of recommendation each year for these students, and he has almost a 98 percent acceptance rate to law school," Baker said. "His door is always open and he welcomes students by name and with a smile."