Andy Awards honor outstanding staff

“Today we honor Carnegie Mellon’s best-kept secret: our incredible staff. Simply the finest, most hardest working, and most dedicated staff in the world,” said Cohon University Center Administrator Stanley Krowitz at the 20th annual Andy Awards.

The Andy Awards, held on Sept. 30, honor faculty and staff from all over campus for outstanding performance and contributions to the campus community.

The ceremony began with a speech from President Subra Suresh that emphasized the importance of the behind-the-scenes work that the university’s staff performs.

“[The staff members] are the unsung heroes of the enterprise,” Suresh said. “That’s why I personally believe that something like the Andy Awards are so critical.”

Suresh also stressed the value of the university staff’s creative contributions, no matter their size.

“What people don’t realize is that innovations ... happen every day. Very small innovations, from a practical sense, can be much more impactful,” Suresh said. “We put a man on the moon before we put wheels on the suitcase.”

The first awards for Years of Service were presented by Pattye Stragar, staff council chair and fitness operations manager in the department of athletics.

“Win or lose, you represent the best that the staff has to offer,” Stragar said. “Your contributions are an example for all staff who work day in and day out to contribute to the campus community.”

Sixteen staff members were recognized for 30 years of service, nine for 35 years, and three for 40 years. Chuck Gitzen, storeroom manager for the physics department, was recognized for 45 years of service, and Joe Rudman, a scientific project administrator also in the physics department, was recognized for 55 years of service.

Next, Everett Tademy, assistant vice president for diversity and equal opportunity services, presented the Andy Award for Outstanding Dedication.

“These nominees have a can-do attitude and consistently do whatever it takes to overcome obstacles ... in order to accomplish their goals,” Tademy said of the winners. “Like Randy Pausch, they run through walls.”

The Outstanding Dedication Award was given to Gitzen. The Andy Awards website says of Gitzen, “Day in and day out, [Chuck] just gets the job done, no matter what it is. In everything he does, Chuck is committed to doing a quality job.”

The Andy Award for Outstanding Commitment to Students was presented by Dean of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno.

“[The nominees] surpass their duties of their job description and understand the immediate as well as underlying needs of our students” said Casalegno. “Staff at this institution express an investment in learning about the whole student, through understanding students’ values, their ambitions, their aspirations, and what motivates them to learn and contribute to the broader community.”

The award was given to Rubab Jafry O’Connor (HNZ ‘05), an academic adviser in the Tepper School of Business.

Mary Ann Blair, director of information security, presented the award for Outstanding Innovation.

“As individuals, teams, and community members, people in this room continually invent and adapt,” Blair said.

The award was given to Treshea Wade (HNZ ’14), the sole nominee and assistant director of alumni relations in the Tepper School of Business.

“An incredibly hard worker, [Wade] has earned a reputation for her imagination, creativity and innovative ideas especially related to online communication with alumni and social media” according to the Andy Awards website.

The Andy Award for Outstanding Culture was awarded to Diane Stidle, the graduate programs manager in the School of Computer Science’s Machine Learning Department. According to the Andy Awards Website, the award for Outstanding Culture recognizes those who “foster a balanced and inclusive workplace” and “bring out the best in each individual and organization.”

Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy presented the Andy Award for Outstanding University Citizenship.

“The Andy Award for Outstanding University Citizenship honors those who have made important contributions that benefit the entire university community,” Murphy said. “These individuals have committed their time and energy to working with others to improve and enhance Carnegie Mellon as a whole.”

The Outstanding University Citizenship award went to Rudman. According to the Andy Awards website, “Over the years, the name Joe Rudman has been synonymous with caring and commitment.... He makes people around him better than they would have been, and he never gives up on those in whom he believes.”

The last award was for Outstanding Community Contributions, and was presented by Krowitz.

“Nominees for the Andy Award for Outstanding Community Contributions are those individuals who tirelessly devote themselves to enhancing the living, learning and working experience of the campus community,” Krowitz said. “Through their words and actions, they go above and beyond every single day in every single way.”

The award was given to Leon “Pete” Smith and William Taylor of the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach Drivers Team. Smith and Taylor drive the buses used for education outreach by campus members.

“I’m so excited; it’s wonderful. I’m so thankful that they recognized what we do,” Taylor said. “My mother said if you do something, do it good, and that’s all I can do.”