Annual Staff Service and Recognition of Excellence Awards Ceremony Returns as In-Person Event

  • President Erika D. Beck stands at podium on stage.

    President Erika D. Beck introduces the first Recognition of Excellence Award, The Presidential Award, at the 2022 Staff Service and Recognition of Excellence Awards ceremony. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Kristina de la Vega standing with Colin Donahue

    Associate Vice President for Human Resources Kristina de la Vega with Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Colin Donahue, after accepting her Leadership Award. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Group of staff honored for 35 years of service with William Watkins

    Staff members who have been honored with the 35 years of service award gathered together in front of the stage with Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students William Watkins (far right). Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Stanley Thermidor holding award with William Watkins

    William Watkins with Stanley Thermidor after awarding him the Student Assistant of the Year Award. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • President Beck fist bumps award recipient

    President Beck greets an award recipient with a fist bump as he crosses the stage. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Attendees sitting at tables and standing talking to one another

    Attendees chat amongst themselves at one side of the University Student Union before the ceremony begins. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

Staff members’ years of service and contributions to the university were celebrated at CSUN’s 56th Annual Staff Service and Recognition of Excellence Awards ceremony. It was held at the University Student Union (USU) on July 7.

It was a festive atmosphere — attendees could enter the event on a red carpet and have their photos taken. The tables inside were decorated with roses to place at the foot of the Matador statue after the ceremony. Two projection screens were placed on either side of the stage and showed videos and photos of the honorees. The ceremony was also presented on a Zoom livestream for honorees who couldn’t attend in-person.

CSUN President Erika D. Beck opened the event with words of gratitude.

“Thank you for everything you do everyday for our students, and for your commitment to the Matador community,” Beck said.

She then presented the first Recognition of Excellence Award, the CSUN Presidential Award.

CSUN Presidential Award — Rachel Valiensi

This award honors a staff member who demonstrates the values of the university and has connected their work with the campus’ eight planning priorities.

Rachel Valiensi is the faculty personnel, facilities and college schedule of classes lead analyst. She assisted staff and students during the pandemic by troubleshooting new technologies, rebuilding class schedules and creating special arrangements for outdoor classes.

The other honorees for the Recognition of Excellence Awards are listed below.

CSUN Award of Merit – Zulema Reyes, Yasmine Sidhu and Carye Vogt

Jolene Koester Team Award – Summer Progress Including Tuition (SPRINT)

CSUN Alumni Relations Award – Katherine McNamara

Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award – Cynthia White-Anderson

CSUN Student Assistant of the Year Award – Stanley Thermidor

CSUN Leadership Award – Kristina de la Vega

CSUN Community Engaged Staff Award – Edith Winterhalter

CSUN Sustainability Award – Amanda Cleveland

Nearly 300 employees were honored for years of service — ranging from five years to 45 years. Collectively, the group recognized has served more than 3,200 years at CSUN, organizers said.

Beck then honored Chester Przelomiec with the 45 years of service award. Przelomiec was hired in 1977 and works in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication in the Department of Art.

“For 45 years, Chester’s experience, wisdom and service to our campus community has helped facilitate the transformative power of higher education for tens of thousands of Matadors,” Beck said.

Two individuals, Suzan Brownlee (Office of the Registrar) and Ramon Muniz (Educational Opportunity Program), were also honored with years of service awards — working for 40 years at CSUN.

For more information on the awards and honorees, visit

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