Luci Williams, a transcript analyst, and Dixie Balman, financial aid counselor, were named the 2010 winners of the President’s Distinguished Service Award today at Fort Hays State University’s 23rd annual Holiday Party and Awards Ceremony, held in the Memorial Union.
The President’s Distinguished Service Award was begun in 2007 to recognize one classified and one non-teaching, unclassified staff member. The award is given for excellence, dedication and commitment to FHSU over a sustained period. Each receives $500.
Quoting letters in support of the nomination, FHSU President Edward H. Hammond said, “Luci always goes above and beyond the call of duty.” She was cited for her dedication to academic integrity and her work with community colleges.
“She voluntarily travels to community colleges, which has brought exceptionally positive recognition for FHSU from those students and their parents,” said Hammond. “The words ‘professionalism’ and ‘work ethic’ appear again and again in the letters. She has been and continues to be a key factor in student success at our university.”
Balman, noted the award citation, has distinguished herself in a wide array of work activities since returning to FHSU, her alma mater, in 1999. “From veterans’ affairs, to NCAA compliance, to scholarship services, to financial aid counseling, she finds a way to make everything work better,” read Hammond.
She was praised for creating an optical imaging system that streamlined the work of scholarship selection committees and for her “kindness and compassion when dealing with sensitive financial issues.
“She is friendly and cheerful, which makes students comfortable confiding in her,” said Hammond.
The fall winners of faculty awards for scholarship, teaching and service were also recognized. Dr. Richard Packauskas, associate professor of biological science, was recognized with the Outstanding Researcher Award. Brenda Craven, instructor of English, won the Outstanding Teaching Award, and Dr. Robert Meier, professor of informatics, won the Outstanding Faculty Service Award.
Those awards were presented to the recipients at surprise ceremonies in the classrooms in the days prior to the holiday party.
Packauskas is an internationally known expert in leaf-footed bugs and has published a 270-page catalog of the insects that, said Hammond, “will be the reference for entomologists with an interest in this area.” He recently presented an important paper on an invasive species of the insect in China.
Hammond cited a student letter about Craven in which the student said that she would recommend Craven for any class “because of her passion for teaching.” “Her peers,” said Hammond, describe her as accessible and helpful to students outside of class, and masterful in her planning and pedagogical innovation in class.”
Meier, winner of the Faculty Service Award, has chaired the tenure and promotion committees for the College of Business and Leadership and helped create the proposal for an information systems engineering degree.
“He has served on numerous university committees during his long service here and provides a valuable institutional memory for our university,” said Hammond.
The faculty recognition program rewards outstanding instructors who are nominated by each of the four colleges of the university. Recipients are selected by a committee appointed by the respective college deans. Three winners will also be selected during the spring semester.
Each award winner, in the fall and the spring, receives a $500 check and is eligible for the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award, announced at the Fall Convocation in August. The Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year receives a $1,000 award. Commerce Bank contributes to the monetary award.
Eighty employees with a combined 1,400 years of service to Fort Hays State University and the state of Kansas were also recognized.
The employees included four 40-year employees and 13 employees who have worked for FHSU or the state of Kansas for 30 years. Ten 20-year employees were recognized and 45 employees who have completed 10 years of service.
The FHSU Alumni Association also recognized eight employees who each have 25 years of service to the university.