The 52nd annual CSUN Staff Service and Recognition of Excellence Awards ceremony connected the success of California State University, Northridge students to the work of dedicated university employees. It also was a chance for CSUN leaders to recognize their teams and the collective impact of CSUN staff.
“Today is a celebration of you and your service — and shows that CSUN values you, our Matadors, for your hard work and dedication to our students, each other and CSUN as a vibrant university community,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Thanks to your contributions, we are able to continually raise the bar of service and support we provide to our students to help them achieve academic success. It is because of what you do, and what you are capable of doing in the future, that CSUN will continue to prosper and rise to new heights.”
This year’s event, which took place May 2 at the University Student Union Northridge Center, honored 322 staff, managers and auxiliary employees for service in five-year increments, from five years up to 45 years. The 45-year honorees were Judith Friedman of the Department of Psychology and William Krohmer of the Department of Biology.
The event also included seven awards for outstanding contributions by staff and administrators:
Harrison presented the prestigious President’s Award to Susan Dickman ’04 (Marketing), the program and marketing manager of The University Corporation (TUC). The President’s Award goes to a staff member who sustains consistent, outstanding performance and demonstrates the values of the university.
Dickman was honored for helping to grow TUC’s program and marketing department, and helping to create greater synergies between CSUN Athletics, Associated Students, Housing and TUC. She earned recognition for a long list of projects, including the CSUN Campus Store remodel; the Matador Shirt initiative, where all incoming students receive a T-shirt to connect them to CSUN; coordinating efforts for CSUN-branded Pepsi trucks in Los Angeles County; and serving on multiple cross-divisional committees that coordinate campuswide events such as the CSUN Summer and Winter Celebrations, 2017 CSUN Founders’ Day and Homecoming event, and Athletics Fan Fairs.
“Susan is an excellent project manager and team leader with an extremely positive and upbeat attitude that lends itself to her role in executing initiatives,” Harrison said. “She has the insight on how to personalize a marketing campaign so it will speak to the intended audience. Susan continually operates at the highest level of performance, and has earned our admiration and respect.”
Dickman, who was born and raised in Northridge, was visibly emotional as she accepted the award. Her mother, Marsha Collier, who attended the ceremony, pointed out that Dickman had been voted CSUN Homecoming Queen in 2002 and even attended CSUN football games as a child.
“As a Matador and graduate and someone who loves the university, I’m humbled, and it still doesn’t feel real,” Dickman said. “I couldn’t be happier to come to work every day.”
Deborah Wallace, associate vice president for Financial Services, received the Leadership Award, which is awarded to an administrator who consistently exhibits CSUN’s leadership principles and demonstrates a commitment to connecting work with the campus’ planning priorities. Wallace was honored for her commitment to using team members’ individual strengths and helping them achieve their goals. She also collaborated on a recent outreach program to assist graduating seniors who would have been disenrolled for financial reasons, removing barriers to their success.
Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award
The Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award was awarded to Nancy Alonzo, senior community director of Student Housing and Conference Services. Alonzo was honored for planning and facilitating CSUN’s annual Oppression Reduction Training, which includes sessions for student leaders on racism, microaggressions and classism. She also created the Latinas Rising support group and works with the DREAM Center and University Student Union’s Cross Cultural Committee.
The CSUN Merit Awards are presented to employees who exemplify exceptional performance and demonstrate integrity and service to the university community.
- Sarah Johnson, coordinator of the CSUN Institute for Sustainability, who has led awareness events to solve composting issues and other activities that help save time and waste hauling fees, and help meet university greenhouse gas emission goals.
- Claire Davis, associate director of administrative services for Student Housing and Conference Services, who currently serves as co-interim administrator in charge of Student Housing and Conference Services. Among other successes, Davis was praised for the smooth annual student check-in process and for helping to transition Student Housing to paperless records, starting with a fully online application.
- Betsy Corrigan, director of Food Services, who has worked to provide a robust menu and to provide all students with access to nutritious options, as well as implementing the use of compostable and recyclable single-use containers.
- Noe Aguirre and Vanessa Ochoa, coordinators of the Veterans Affairs unit of Administration and Records, who were honored for their efforts to support the 511 veterans, reservists, National Guard members and active-duty soldiers on campus. This included creation of an online certification process.
Alumni Relations Award
The Alumni Relations Award, which goes to a person whose efforts bring alumni closer to CSUN, was awarded to Lawrence Becker, a political science professor and director of the CSUN in D.C. Internship Program. Becker has built relationships with various influential individuals and institutions in Washington, D.C., including members of Congress, the State Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and many others. He also has assisted in engaging alumni on a variety of policy initiatives, providing alumni and university friends with an in-depth look at the CSUN in D.C. program and the profound impact it has on students.
Student Assistant of the Year
For the first time, the event also implemented a Student Assistant of the Year award, given to a student employee who demonstrates exceptional contributions to their department by their outstanding skill set, professionalism, and quality of work and service to the university community.
The inaugural award went to Jodie Rink of University Marketing and Communications, who coordinates all estimates and invoices related to more than a dozen external advertisement vendors and ensures that the creative work is submitted on time. Her work assists the university’s external advertising campaign. These contracts, invoices and estimates require laser precision in terms of follow through and scheduling.
Jolene Koester Team Award
Jill Mejia, assistant director of Undergraduate Degree Services for Admissions and Records, and Julia Riddle, associate director of Systems and Operations for Admissions and Records, accepted the Jolene Koester Team Award on behalf of the Online Graduation Application Team comprised of employees from Admissions & Records, Information Technology and Cash Services. The Jolene Koester Team Award is presented annually to a team of university employees who collaborate on a project, process or other significant initiative that brings about radical, positive change that improves performance or productivity — and/or reduces costs or enhances the image of the university. Riddle’s Online Graduation Application team reduced hours of manual input, improved workflow and reduced the amount of paper needed for graduation applications.
CSUN Shine from Within
The 14 individuals who participated in the annual CSUN Shine from Within Program were also recognized. The cross-divisional development cohort program helps selected staff develop core competencies, develop a sense of connection and community with other units across campus, and broaden understanding and knowledge about the university and other divisions, investing participants more deeply in the mission of the university and its planning priorities.
A complete listing of employees honored for their years of services may be viewed on the Human Resources website at: https://www.csun.edu/enrichment/staff-service-awards.