More than 300 CSUN staff members were honored for a collective 4,000 years of service at the university’s 53rd Annual Service and Recognition of Excellence Awards, held April 22 at the University Student Union’s Northridge Center.
“Individually and collectively, we do great work, and that does not come by chance,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison told the audience. “It is thanks to your good work that CSUN continually raises the standard of service. Each of you is essential in helping our students succeed and have a positive impact on society.”
Individuals and teams were honored for their dedication, along with staff, auxiliary staff and managers celebrating five-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 35-, 40- and 45-year anniversaries. One employee celebrated a 50-year anniversary with the university: Jeff Craig ’70 (Chemistry), a PPM network analyst from Administration and Finance, who during his time at CSUN secured funding for the restoration and care of the CSUN carillon. Craig was honored with a special medallion and a brick in his name placed near the campus’ Matador statue.
A complete listing of employees honored for their years of services may be viewed on the Human Resources website: https://www.csun.edu/enrichment/staff-service-awards.
CSUN Presidential Award: Yen Duong
This award is granted annually to a staff member who sustains consistent, outstanding performance and demonstrates the eight university planning priorities. Duong ’05 (LSP Math) has been invaluable in her role as office coordinator for the Department of Mathematics, performing budget analyses, management and event planning duties to support the nearly 12,000 students in the department.
Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award: Vicki Allen
This award is presented to an employee who practices, promotes and values efforts to support inclusion and a profound respect for all people from different backgrounds, life experiences, learning styles and points of view within the CSUN community. Allen ’99 (Speech Communication), assistant director of the Matador Involvement Center, has assisted students in celebrating their culture, beliefs and interests through CSUN’s programs and organizations for more than 25 years, and she is a valued volunteer for the Black Alumni Association and Black Graduation.
CSUN Award of Merit: Maria Garza, Patricia Gaynor, Sean Choi, Jody Sawyer
The Award of Merit is presented to employees who exemplify exceptional performance and demonstrate integrity and service to the CSUN community. Four awards were presented:
Maria Garza ’99 (Management), an administrative support assistant at the CSUN Klotz Student Health Center, who created a more streamlined cashless process for services and helped coordinate a critical renovation for the center’s accreditation.
Patricia Gaynor ’75 (Home Economics), assistant director, senior year at the Career Center, who developed Matty’s Closet, a clothing resource aimed at helping students in need and facing tough wardrobe decisions.
Sean Choi, IT’s director of enterprise application development, implemented the access request system, saving 2,375 hours of staff time, eliminating paper forms and improving turnaround times.
Jody Sawyer, heath information management services lead at the CSUN Klotz Student Health Center, who single-handedly oversaw the development of the center’s emergency response team.
Alumni Relations Award: Terri Lisagor
This award is presented to a staff member, faculty member or administrator who develops initiatives that bring alumni closer to their alma mater. Lisagor ’90 (Home Economics), a family and consumer sciences professor, has a long history of alumni connection, opening up classrooms for CSUN alumni to reengage and hosting alumni donors at The Soraya. (Lisagor was unable to attend, so CSUN Vice President of University Advancement Robert Gunsalus took a video of the audience congratulating her.)
CSUN Shine from Within Cohort
The CSUN Shine from Within Program allows highly motivated university staff to participate in a cross-divisional development cohort program. This year’s cohort included Juliana Alvarez, Desiree Dodd, John Paul Gale, Jannath Ghaznavi, Cindy Greco, Rachel Guerra, Domenica Majalca, Chhan Mech, Ilona Runge, Sandra Salute, Anika Usher, Nikki Valadez, Perla Vielma and Corinne VonColln.
Student Assistant of the Year Award: Elisa Carrillo
The CSUN Student Assistant of the Year Award is granted annually to a student employee who demonstrates exceptional contributions to their department by their outstanding skills, professionalism and quality of work and service. Carrillo has been a student employee with CSUN’s Universal Design Center for four years and played a critical role in designing technical pages when UDC’s website was redesigned.
Leadership Award: Shellie Hadvina
This award is given to an administrator who sustains consistent and outstanding demonstration of the Leadership Principles, and connects their work with the campus’ eight planning priorities. Hadvina ’90 (Recreation), M.P.A. ’98, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, has deepened connections between the university and its alumni, creating the first AS Presidents’ Day, the Alumni concert series, and the Corporate Connect program. She was also one of the leaders of CSUN’s 60th Anniversary Celebration.
Jolene Koester Team Award: International Coordinating Council Communication Plan Working Group
The Jolene Koester Team Award is presented to a team of university employees who collaborate on a project, process or other significant initiative that improves performance or productivity and/or reduces costs or enhances CSUN’s image. The International Coordinating Council Communication Plan Working Group worked with stakeholders across the university to help improve communication and application processes for international students at CSUN, particularly if English is not their first language.
Community Engaged Staff & Faculty Award: Maria Elizondo
The Community Engaged Staff & Faculty Award is given to a staff member who creates greater collaboration between CSUN and the community. Elizondo ’08 (Sociology), M.P.A. ’13, the coordinator for volunteer and community programs in the Matador Involvement Center, is the first recipient of this new award for her work in expanding the CSUN Food Pantry and establishing the CSUN Pop-Up Pantry.