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December 7, 2000

Chancellor announces 5 winners of staff award

Five winners of the annual Chancellor's Award for Excellence for University of Pittsburgh Staff Employees were announced at Senate Council Monday.

The award honors staff who demonstrate dedication to their units and community service beyond their job responsibilities. Eighteen staff members were nominated. The selection committee was chaired by Robert G. Houston, executive assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

This year's winners are Carol A. Capson, School of Education, Delores E. Johnson, Office of Public Affairs, Jeffrey D. Liebmann, Provost's office, Kathleen A. Rud, Arts and Sciences dean's office, and Stephen P. Zupcic, Community and Governmental Relations.

The award carries a $2,500 cash prize and acknowledgment at the staff recognition day ceremony, set for Dec. 14, and at the 2001 honors convocation. Winners' names will be inscribed on a plaque in the William Pitt Union.

Letters were sent to the winning staff members from the chancellor announcing the award and citing some of their accomplishments.

Capson, personnel/payroll operations manager in the education school's dean's office, started at Pitt in 1967 in the medical school's pharmacology department.

In his letter to Capson, Nordenberg pointed out that "the selection committee cited your dedicated service to the Carnegie Library's 'Beginning with Books, Read Together' program" and volunteer work.

Capson serves as a volunteer cashier at the Mt. Lebanon Trading Post, an usher at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, a volunteer musician for the Jewish Community Center Orchestra, which performs at nursing and personal care homes, and a food service assistant at the Calliope House Folk Music Society. From 1986 to 1990, Capson served as an on-air reader for the Radio Information Service, which provides readings for the sight-impaired.

The chancellor wrote, "Your work both in and outside your job illustrates your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty."

Johnson has been a Pitt staffer since 1958, when she started at the physics department's cyclotron laboratory. Thirteen years later, she moved to News and Publications (now Public Affairs). She currently serves as communications support services specialist, contributing in the production of the University's promotional publications.

For the past several years, Johnson has designed and produced the weekly church bulletins and other publications for Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, where she previously sang in the senior and gospel choirs. An accomplished vocalist, Johnson has performed with musicians and musical groups, including George Benson, Ysaye Barnwell and The Skyliners. She has appeared with performers Richard Pryor and Chuck Jackson and has recorded for Dionne Warwick and guitarist Lee Valentine. She also performed at the 1989 Chautauqua at Pitt conference.

In his letter to Johnson, Nordenberg wrote, "You are, indeed, an exemplary member of the University staff, and I am pleased that you have been publicly recognized for your dedication."

Liebmann, who has been academic planning associate in the Provost's office since 1993, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Pitt. He began working here in 1980 in the Office of Institutional and Policy Studies/Management Information and Policy, and moved to the Office of Budget and Management in 1989. He has served on several University committees, including the University planning and budget committee and the Middle States review team. He is a former member of the Staff Association Council.

Liebmann is active in the Woodland Hills School District, including helping to implement multicultural education there. He also teaches religious education at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh and has developed high school-level curricula that is used by churches across North America. He is a member of the Continental Unitarian Universalist Youth Council and is a trained teacher of the council's youth advisers.

"On behalf of the entire University community," Norden-berg wrote, "let me express deep gratitude for your dedication and hard work."

Rud has been at Pitt since 1969, where she served in the Office of the Comptroller until 1971 when she transferred to the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She remained at GSPIA until 1986, and now serves as the executive assistant to the dean of Arts and Sciences. She has helped out at Pitt athletics events, including taking tickets and ushering since 1980. She earned a Pitt bachelor of arts degree in political science and economics in 1991. She also is a former member of Staff Association Council.

Rud is active in Pitt's Volunteer Pool. She previously served as an emergency medical technician for Baldwin Emergency Medical Services. For 18 years she has assisted at Pitt's commencement and honors convocation ceremonies, passing out diplomas and helping faculty don their academic garb.

In his letter to Rud, Nordenberg stated, "Your record of outstanding accomplishment and service adds to the distinction of this institution, and I am pleased to play a part in recognizing those efforts in this tangible and visible way."

Zupcic, who coordinates Pitt's Volunteer Pool efforts, has been at Pitt since 1970. He served on the Staff Association Council for 15 years, and represented SAC on a number of committees, including the South African divestment committee, the medical rate review committee, and the University Senate's anti-discriminatory policies and community relations committees.

Zupcic is a founding member of the Lesbian and Gay Academic Association at Pitt and currently serves on the advisory group to the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.

The chancellor wrote to Zupcic, "I am personally grateful for all of the work you did on Pitt's United Way Day of Caring. Pitt had one of the best participation rates in the city for Day Of Caring." Nordenberg, who served as regional chair for this year's United Way campaign, added that he was proud of the campaign's success.

Among many volunteer activities, Zupcic has been active in the American Jewish Committee, the Brashear Association, the Pittsburgh Ethnic Coalition, the Croatian Fraternal Union, the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, the Pittsburgh Men's Collective and the Lambda Foundation.

–Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 33 Issue 8

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