Penn Models of Excellence Award Winners Honored

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Media Contact:Amanda Mott | | 215-898-1422April 3, 2014

On April 3, 600 members of the Penn community gathered in Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania to honor the 2014 Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence and Model Supervisor Award winners. 

Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli were on hand to make the presentations and applaud the honorees.

The highlight of Thursday’s award ceremony came as the Model Supervisor Award was named live. The Law School’s Silvana Burgese, manager of the faculty support staff, was named the winner. Burgese and her fellow finalists, Ann Marie Franco, director of the Office of the Dean in the School of Nursing, and Miriam R. Wright, director of enrollment management in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences, were nominated based on feedback from their staffs as models of fairness, strong leadership and exceptional managerial skills. 

Across the award categories, this year's honorees represent excellence. Award winners each received $500. Recipients of honorable mentions each received $250.

Since 1999, the Models of Excellence Program has honored Penn staff member accomplishments that reflect initiative, leadership, collaboration and commitment to service. In 2007, Penn introduced the Model Supervisor Award for distinguished leadership. 

“Each year for 15 years, the family members and guests of our award winners make this event a real celebration,” said Jack Heuer, vice president of human resources. “And to have the president, provost and executive vice president recognize staff members is often a career highlight.  It is that leadership that allows this event to be a real celebration and to succeed.” 

This year, Penn initiated the Pillars of Excellence Award to recognize exceptional non-exempt, weekly-paid staff members. The winners of the inaugural Pillars of Excellence Award were Laura Farrington, an administrative assistant in the Department of Public Safety, and Ruth Kelly, the program coordinator for Facilities Planning and Operations in the School of Arts and Sciences.

All award categories are nominated by co-workers and chosen by a rotating selection committee of campus leaders and former award winners. Those recognized for having made major contributions to Penn’s standing as a world-class institution:

Models of Excellence Award Winners:

Travel and Expense Management Initiative Team: The Travel and Expense Management Initiative Team successfully implemented a new and improved travel and expense system by improving processes, collaborating with stakeholders and communicating with customers. 

Audit, Compliance & Privacy: Sean Stickel 

Business Services: Sandra Ardis, Michele Dolce, Hilary Easley, Do Hyun Kim, Barbara A. Lea-Kruger, Jennifer Miller, Mark Mills 

Finance: Roxanne Bataitis, James I. Horstmann, David Ishmael, Kristy Owen, Michael J. Popko, Tom Slavinski, Paul Weidner 

Information Systems & Computing: Kalyani Balasubramanian, Jeanine M. Kleba, Teresa Leo

Office of the Executive Vice President: Janet R. Plantan

Penn's Move-in Team: Using online check-in, social media, and campus resources, Penn's Move-in Team created new and innovative ways to make the Move-in experience more efficient and welcoming for students and their families.

Business Services: Nathan Cockrum, Dennis Daly, Paul Forchielli, Elizabeth R. Hartzell, Derek Hunsberger, Thomas J. MacDonald, Michelle Majeski, Holly Marrone, Sarah L. McFarlane, Wilma D. Smith, Kevin Thurwanger, Lenny Zeiger

Division of Public Safety: Cherie A. Heller, Gary Williams

Information Systems & Computing: Renee Jordan 

University Life: Maria Fumai-Dietrich

Models of Excellence Honorable Mentions:

Robert Ditto Jr. demonstrated leadership and expertise during the selection and implementation of Instructure's Canvas, a new online course management system for teaching and learning for all of Penn's schools. 

The National Resource Centers Outreach Team showed creativity and a collaborative approach to delivering outstanding programming and increasing services to their constituents during financial cutbacks.

School of Arts & Sciences: Melissa DiFrancesco, Labaron Palmer, Raili Roy, Anastasia Shown

The Programs & Special Events Making History Campaign Team conceived, designed and implemented Penn's Making History end-of-campaign celebration.

Development & Alumni Relations: Mirka Cortes, Josh Durando, Susan Eagar, Lauren Graham, Andy Holman, Orna Rosenthal, Cindy Rossi, Scott Sharpe, Maureen Stridick, Emily Valciukas

Ernest Wright showed initiative and creativity in developing a series of Web videos to help end-users navigate the University's budget application, Hyperion Planning. 

Pillars of Excellence Award Winners:

Laura Farrington successfully launching the PennReady Blue Book Program by applying extraordinary talent, expertise, cooperation, coordination and drive.

Ruth Kelley demonstrated inexhaustible energy, cheerfulness and enthusiastic administrative support to the staff in SAS Finance and Administration.

Pillars of Excellence Honorable Mentions:

Lucyna Fortuna created an outstanding work environment for Human Resources staff through an extraordinary personal commitment to her custodial duties. 

The Service Excellence Transition Team showed extraordinary initiative in creating an outstanding shared system to effectively respond to student residential needs.

Business Services: Elizabeth Apthorp, Jeremy Estrada, Rebecca Golpe, Michelle Majeski, Sarah L. McFarlane, Jane Pablos, Maureen Stanton 

Development and Alumni Relations: Stephen McElwee 

Deborah Small-McCord demonstrated leadership, professionalism and exemplary customer service as a senior barista at Starbucks.

2014 Model Supervisor Award Finalists:

This year’s Model Supervisor finalists are skilled leaders, motivators, communicators and supporters. 

Silvana Burgese, Manager of the Faculty Support Staff, Law School

Ann Marie Franco, Director of the Office of the Dean, School of Nursing

Miriam Wright, Director of Enrollment Management, College of Liberal and Professional Studies, School of Arts and Sciences