California State University, Northridge celebrated the 50th anniversary of the annual Staff Service Awards on May 26 by honoring hundreds of employees for their years of service and outstanding contributions to the university.
“I want you all to remember that you each belong to a community of educators and are key participants in advancing student success and providing exemplary service for all our stakeholders,” said President Dianne F. Harrison to attendees. “By doing your work successfully and consistently, you help the university to fulfill its commitment to students. I’m grateful for your dedication and accomplishments.”
Harrison recognized Kevin Lizarraga ’01 (Journalism), M.A. ’04 (Mass Communications), director of university marketing in the Office of Marketing and Communications, with the Presidential Award. The award honors an individual who has left an “indelible, positive mark” on the university, contributes to improved processes and demonstrates alignment with the mission, vision, values and goals of the university.
Lizarraga is considered a “driving force” behind the campus reputation and visibility initiative, which is bringing a renewed consistency and strength to campuswide marketing efforts. He has served on the Reputation and Visibility Advisory and Steering Committees, the Web Communications Group, the Usability Group, the campus Emergency Operations Center, Clear the Air Communications Subcommittee, Summer and Winter Celebration Committees, the Social Media Committee and numerous other ad hoc groups.
“As a CSUN alum and true Matador, Kevin’s heart and passion are fully invested in elevating CSUN’s reputation and visibility,” Harrison said. Lizarraga’s nominator said he “inclusively collaborates with campus partners and helps oversee the visual identity of the campus — from online content to print, external advertising to internal campaigns.”
The Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award went to Yukiko Bryant, manager of student life — international programs and partnerships, for going beyond her normal scope of work to develop, facilitate and support activities for international students enrolled in CSUN’s Intensive English Program and the Semester at CSUN Program. The award is reserved for employees who practice, promote and value efforts to support diversity, inclusion and respect for everyone’s values and opinions.
The CSUN Merit Award recipients were Elizabeth Kioussis, executive assistant at The University Corporation; Robyn McKibbon ’13 (Art), an analyst/recruiter in Human Resources; Ruben Lopez, manager in the grounds department in Physical Plant Management; and Gregory Mena, Ed.D. ’13 (ELPS), an instructional designer in the Faculty Technology Center. This award is reserved for employees who contribute to significant process improvements, provide excellent citizenship to the campus community and have outstanding performance beyond the normal scope of their work duties.
The CSUN Alumni Relations Award went to Antonio Machado ’93 (Environmental Biology), M.S. ’94 (Environmental and Occupational Health), a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) and a charter member of the EOH Alumni Chapter. This award is given to an employee who develops initiatives or enhances existing programs that encourage successful, collaborative relationships with alumni, and a greater alumni connectedness that results in achievement of university goals and objectives.
Machado is the faculty liaison to the alumni chapter, faculty adviser to the EOH Student Association and has been a tireless advocate for EOH students, alumni and the department. His talent and experience in the field add to the annual EOH Alumni Chapter Technical Symposium each spring, along with the organization’s speed mentoring event, which raised more than $10,000.
The Jolene Koester Team Award, which recognizes outstanding team achievements and is presented annually to a team that has collaborated effectively on a project, process or other significant initiative that has brought positive changes, was awarded to the CSUN Smoke & Tobacco Free Task Force and Implementation Committee. The initiative was launched in fall 2013 when the Help Make CSUN Bright program surveyed the campus community to measure the interest in going smoke-free. The response strongly supported “fresh and clear air” at CSUN. The implementation committee was formed to develop the logistics of the campus becoming smoke-free and tobacco-free by fall 2015. Dr. Linda Reid Chassiakos, director of the Student Health Center; Ken Rosenthal, associate vice president of facilities development and operations; and Diane Schwartz, faculty in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, accepted the award on behalf of the team.
Harrison also presented certificates to the 16 participants in the CSUN Shine from Within Program, a cross-divisional staff development program.
CSUN staff also received recognition for five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service. President Harrison paid special tribute to 45-year service award recipient José Luis Vargas ’74 (Sociology), M.A. ’75 (Educational Psychology and Counseling), the longtime director of CSUN’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), who passed away March 19 after a brief illness. She presented a framed CSUN jersey to his wife, Yvonne Vargas.
For a complete list of the honorees, please visit the Office of Human Resources.