Donning a Santa hat, Tulane President Scott Cowen set off at 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 22, to deliver a holiday surprise to a select group of staff members who give of themselves all year long. Each of this year's recipients of the annual Staff Excellence Awards was pleasantly caught off guard by a visit from the university president, who arrived bearing a check for $1,000.
“I've never been so surprised,” said Adine “Deanie” Stoulig, nurse manager at the Student Health Center, as her tears welled and spilled over. After exclaiming, “I just love my job! It's such a pleasure to work here and it's a joy to take care of these kids,” Stoulig joked with her coworkers, “I have to go home; I can't work.”
The 10 staff members who were selected for the award hold a wide variety of jobs with an assortment of responsibilities but are united in a common goal to give their best each day to advance the mission of Tulane University.
“I find that one of the characteristics of the people who win this award is that they do whatever needs to be done,” Cowen said.
The winners are nominated on the basis of four criteria: increased productivity, enhanced objectives, cost savings and humanitarianism. Along with Stoulig, who was recognized for humanitarianism, this year's winners are:
· Kathryn Ball, director, Career Services Center, admissions â“ School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, for increased productivity
· Jake Calamusa, operations assistant, School of Continuing Studies, for humanitarianism
· Candise Guedry, senior program coordinator, School of Science and Engineering, for enhanced objectives
· Nick Jenisch, architectural assistant, School of Architecture, for increased productivity
· Jeanne Johnson, section administrator, Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology â“ School of Medicine, for cost savings
· Sheila Norris, senior accountant, Department of Medicine, for increased productivity
· Robin Rodriguez, media/communications specialist, Information Technology â“ Tulane National Primate Research Center, for enhanced objectives
· Emelina Sanchez, office manager, Department of Chemistry, for humanitarianism
· Lawrence Smith, senior executive secretary, Center for Public Service, for increased productivity
In addition to receiving checks for $1,000, the recipients will be honored later this month at a dinner hosted by the president and his wife, Marjorie, at their home.
Nominees for the Staff Excellence Awards are reviewed by a committee of previous recipients and vetted by the President's Cabinet. The Staff Excellence Award is open to all staff employees who are employed 50 percent or more with benefits and have successfully completed their six-month evaluation period. The program excludes vice presidents and university officers from participating.