Ho Ho Ho - Way to Go!

Santa came a little early for 10 outstanding staff members at Tulane University. On Friday (Dec. 18), Tulane President Scott Cowen, looking jolly and wearing a red cap, made surprise visits at offices to present the annual Staff Excellence Awards.

Colleagues gather to celebrate with Michele Steinforth, left, clinical services director at Tulane University Medical Group, who was one of 10 Tulane staff members to receive excellence awards from "Santa," President Scott Cowen. (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The honored staff members received a one-time $1,000 cash prize and will be invited to dine with Cowen and his wife, Marjorie Cowen, at their home at No. 2 Audubon Place.

Each year, the program recognizes up to 10 staff members whose commitment has advanced the mission of Tulane through increased productivity, cost savings, humanitarianism and/or enhanced objectives.

"I am grateful for our amazing staff, especially the 10 extraordinary ones who have been selected for this year's Staff Excellence Awards," Cowen said. "These staff members hold a variety of responsibilities but are united in their common goal to give their best every day to advance the mission of Tulane University."

The 2009 award winners are:

Gail Afner, program coordinator, Department of Medicine endocrinology section.

Lynn Becnel, editorial services manager, School of Law.

Sherrie Calogero, senior program coordinator, Neuroscience Department.

Rosanna Chavez, project assistant, Department of Tropical Medicine.

Gregory Fletcher, project assistant/night monitor for the School of Continuing Studies Biloxi campus, left, receives applause from staff in Gibson Hall as Cowen reveals that Fletcher won a Staff Excellence Award.

Gregory Fletcher, project assistant (night monitor), School of Continuing Studies for the Biloxi campus.

Sharon Freeman, senior publications coordinator, Office of Publications.

Kathleen Lawton, assistant director, Middle American Research Institute.

Verna Lee, assistant director, Office of Research.

James Resko, pharmacist, Student Health Services.

Michele Steinforth, clinical services director, Business Services, Tulane University Medical Group.

"Every achievement Tulane University has attained, every honor it has received, can, in one way or another, be traced back to dedicated staff members such as the ones receiving this award," Cowen said. "Their hard work supports the efforts of our students and faculty to learn, teach and discover."