Celebrate a Coworker with Award Nomination

Presidential Award nominations are being accepted through Feb. 14

The 2012 Presidential Award winners gathered with President Brodhead after the award luncheon. From left: Cynthia P. Chavious, Julia A. Woodson, President Richard H. Brodhead, Susan L. Bonifield, Jonathan Giles and Paul D. Jones. Photo by Duke Photograph

As Duke prepares to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Duke's Presidential Award, it's not too late to nominate a colleague for the annual honor.

The award, one of the highest honors given to Duke staff and faculty, recognizes employees from five work categories who have made distinctive contributions to the university or health system in the past year. 

The deadline to nominate a Duke staff or faculty member for a Presidential Award is Feb. 14. All winners will be announced in April.

"This is one of the most humbling experiences that I have ever encountered," said Cynthia Chavious, an administrative assistant in the Duke Translational Research Institute who received the Presidential Award in 2013. "It is the most earnest and heartfelt act that coworkers can do for another. It warmed my heart as I watched the other recipients receive their awards."

Nominees are recognized for overall performance that has consistently exceeded expectations, completion of an especially formidable task for the university or health system or work that has resulted in measurable improvements in quality, productivity, cost savings or safety.

Nearly 30 years ago, on April 29, 1984, Irene Burrus was the first Duke employee to receive a Presidential Award from then-Duke President Terry Sanford. The award was originally created solely for biweekly university employees, but has since been expanded to include all faculty and staff.

Burrus, a housekeeper in the Duke Divinity School at the time, was selected from 110 nominees. Burrus was nominated by a slew of administrators at the Divinity School.

"It's the best thing that's ever happened to me and I appreciate and love all of them - they seem like family," Burrus told the Duke Chronicle in 1984. She retired from Duke in 1991.

The categories available for the Presidential Award nominations are:

  • Clerical/Office Support - Staff Specialists, Office Assistants, etc. 
  • Clinical/Professional Non Managerial - Lab Technicians, Nurses, Coordinators, clinical or professional personnel in a non managerial capacity 
  • Service/Maintenance - EVS, Facilities, service positions 
  • Managerial - Supervisory personnel at level 15 and below (managers, supervisors) 
  • Executive Leadership - Supervisory personnel at level 16 and higher, faculty, Directors, Assistant Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents (any senior leaders other than the President)

In April, President Richard H. Brodhead will present each Presidential Award recipient with a Presidential Medallion and check for $1,000. During the luncheon, he will also present an award and check for $100 to each Meritorious Service Award recipient. Winners also receive copies of all nomination letters.

Nomination forms are available online or by calling (919) 684-9040.