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December 15, 2017

Ten Staff Members Chosen for Chancellor’s Awards

Ten Pitt staff members have been awarded the University’s highest staff honor, saluting their contributions to Pitt and its community.

Recipients of the 2017 Chancellor’s Awards for Staff Excellence were recognized on Thursday, Dec. 14, at a luncheon hosted by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher in the University Club.

Noted Gallagher: “The accomplishments of this year’s honorees intersect with our strategic plan in direct ways — by supporting innovative research, engaging in community service and enriching student experiences — and in less obvious ways, such as improving how we process immigration documents to promote global learning.

“Celebrating these individuals and their remarkable achievements is an act of appreciation, but it’s also an inspiring reminder that we all can make a difference, and we all have a role to play in advancing the University’s mission and strategic plan.”

The awards are open to full- and part-time employees, both classified and union, who demonstrate the highest level of achievement in one of 10 categories: student impact, research support, innovation in advancing administrative and operational efficiency; University engagement; community engagement; outstanding career achievement; exceptional early career achievement; commitment to diversity and inclusion; excellent mentor; and service to the University community.

Recipients receive $2,500 and recognition on a plaque displayed in the William Pitt Union.

Pitt employees nominated 104 colleagues for awards in 2017, including several nominations for more than one award, resulting in 127 total nominations across the 10 award categories.

Winners of the 2017 Chancellor’s Awards for Staff Excellence are:

Service to the University Award

Heather Camp

Heather Camp

Heather Camp, community relations officer with the Pitt Police in the Department of Public Safety, is the recipient of the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Service to the University.

The award was created to recognize staff members “whose dedication and commitment to providing support and service to the University enhances the overall quality of life for all members of the campus community and contributes to enhancing the environment and safety of the campus.”

In his award letter, Gallagher wrote that “the selection committee was impressed by the proactive role you have played in ensuring that our campus provides a safe and welcoming environment for every member of our community.” He praised Camp’s work in developing and implementing the self-defense awareness familiarization exchange program to teach students practical self-defense tactics; cultivating relationships with businesses and residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the Pittsburgh campus; and working with the Office of Community and Governmental Relations to establish programs to combat underage and binge drinking.

Community Engagement Award

Stephanie Fiely

Stephanie Fiely

Stephanie Fiely, director of student life at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, was honored with the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Community Engagement.

This award is given to staff members who have “dedicated themselves to making their community a better place to live and to improving the quality of life for others.”

The chancellor noted Fiely’s “far-reaching impact on the Titusville community,” including her work ensuring Pitt–Titusville students gain an appreciation for the importance of community service through such programs as the YWCA Week Without Violence, Fall Festival and Easter Egg Hunt; the Race Against Racism; and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service events. He also acknowledged her work on the boards of local community organizations and with the Pitt–Titusville Cultural Arts Committee and the Stand Up Together Committee. The latter program brought together campus representatives, Titusville Police and area civic and community leaders to help create a culture of respect and inclusion.

Research Support Award

Elizabeth Hartigan

Elizabeth Hartigan

Elizabeth Ross Hartigan, clinical research manager at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, was selected to receive the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Research Support.

The award was created to recognize a staff member “who has worked to advance the University’s research efforts, including, but not limited to conducting research and providing other forms of research support.”

Gallagher cited several nomination support letters outlining Hartigan’s work. Joseph Pilewski, faculty member in medicine, cell biology, physiology and pediatrics, noted she had “become a local and national leader in clinical research, supporting multiple departments and research areas” and “contributed to the development of new treatments for cystic fibrosis.”

Nancy Harter, pediatrics research administrator, said Hartigan had “taken clinical research in pediatrics to the next level by developing new leaders, empowering and educating research staff, and pioneering ways to offer crucially needed services to faculty, fellows and staff.”

Outstanding Career Achievement

Thomas Heidcamp

Thomas Heidkamp

Thomas Heidkamp, manager of Surplus Property, has won the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Outstanding Career Achievement.

The Outstanding Career Achievement Award honors a staff member “with more than 20 years of unparalleled service to the University who, throughout their career, has made exceptional contributions to the success of their department and the University, who has earned the respect of their peers and whose efforts have defined what it means to be part of the Pitt community.”

Heidkamp’s work, the chancellor wrote, included many achievements: “You built what was a small operation to reuse salvaged furniture and equipment into a department that has placed over $2 million in inventory back into use at the University. You have promulgated a ‘zero landfill’ policy that each and every year thousands of pieces of furniture from our residence halls is made available to those in need through your partnerships you have established with Goodwill. You also participate in the University’s partnership with the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Start on Success Program to provide students with learning disabilities with valuable educational experiences that will assist them in developing career skills by serving as a mentor and worksite supervisor.

“In his letter supporting your nomination,” Chancellor Gallagher added, “John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for Community Relations, called you the ‘Father of Sustainability at the University.’”

Early Impact Award

Misti McKeehen

Misti McKeehen

Misti McKeehen, director of the Office of PittServes in the Division of Student Affairs, received the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Early Impact.

The Early Impact Award recognizes a staff member with three to five years of experience who, “within that short period of time, has exceeded the expectations of their position, taken on numerous assignments, and demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the University.”

Among the accomplishments noted by the chancellor, McKeehen was honored for “helping our students appreciate the value of community service through programs such as Pitt Make a Difference Day and Alternative Spring Break, which has expanded to include an international component,” as well as such innovative programs as Give-A-Thread and Thriftsburgh. “The committee was deeply impressed by how you were able to connect with multiple University departments, Sodexo and community organizations to establish the Pitt Pantry to serve members of the University community,” the chancellor concluded.

Student Impact Award

Patrick Mullen

Patrick Mullen

Patrick Mullen, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was selected to receive the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Student Impact.

This award was created “to recognize a staff member whose efforts have helped our students succeed and grow as individuals, contributed to the quality of life for our students, demonstrated consistently excellent customer service and promoted and supported a culture of diversity and respect on our campuses.”

Gallagher, citing the University’s strategic plan goal of preparing Pitt students to lead lives of impact, said Mullen had contributed to this goal “through the personalized touch you bring to working with individual students and the innovative programs you have developed.” He noted that Mullen’s nomination had received “several letters from former Pitt students that praised you for the impact you have had on your studies and their careers.”

University Engagement Award

Lindsay Rodzwicz

Lindsay Rodzwicz

Lindsay Rodzwicz, Coulter Program manager in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Bioengineering, was awarded the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award in the University Engagement category.

This award recognizes “a staff member who extends their commitment to Pitt through exemplary participation in volunteer activities within the University, through service on committees, working on special projects, or volunteering to assist with events or programs that are outside of the scope of their normal job duties.”

Gallagher noted Rodzwicz’s work as an officer and member of Staff Council, including her service as an advocate during Pitt Day in Harrisburg and as staff representative on the Board of Trustees committees for institutional advancement, risk and compliance, and research and innovation. She was also adviser to the campus chapter of Chi Omega Fraternity, where her leadership and example as a woman in a STEM-related career has positioned her to serve as a role model for young women.

Innovation in Advancing Administrative and Operational Efficiency Award

Katherine Von Lehman

Katherine Von Lehman

Katherine Von Lehman, compliance coordinator with the University Center for International Services’ Office of International Services, was chosen for the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Innovation in Advancing Administrative and Operational Efficiency.

This award honors “staff members who have made exceptional contributions toward effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace, including implementing innovative approaches to improving productivity or developing cost-saving plans.”

Most impressive to the selection committee, the chancellor noted, was Von Lehman’s implementation and customization of the Sunapsis database, which streamlined and automated a very complicated, paper-driven system for submitting and tracking immigration documents for international students, scholars and staff members. Sunapsis has since been implemented on all Pitt campuses. “Your work has played an important role in helping the University to further position itself as a leader in international education,” he said.

Excellent Mentor Award

Sarah Wagner

Sarah Wagner

Sarah E. Wagner, director of the Vira I. Heinz Program in the University Center for International Studies, was selected for the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award in the Excellent Mentor category.

This award is for “staff members who serve as a role model and mentor to their colleagues, helping them to develop and improve their skills, acclimate to new positions, or learn new processes so that they can achieve success in their careers at Pitt.”

In nominating Wagner, Jessica Sun, exchange program manager and graduate fellowships advisor for Pitt Study Abroad, described how Wagner has “impacted the careers of [her] colleagues by helping them to develop the skills that they need to become successful in their own careers,” the chancellor wrote. “Ms. Sun described the many unique ways in which you nurture and encourage your colleagues, going above and beyond merely letting someone know that they have done a good job.”

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Award

Crystal McCormick Ware

Crystal McCormick Ware

Crystal McCormick Ware, director of diversity initiatives for the University Library System, has won the 2017 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

This award honors “a staff member who has contributed to the University’s diversity initiatives and worked to create a culture of inclusion in their department, business unit or school and the University.”

“The Selection Committee was impressed by the many ways in which you have worked to ensure that the University Library System (ULS) embodies the University’s efforts to make diversity and inclusion core values of our community,” the chancellor wrote. “Within ULS, you have organized workshops and training sessions on race, disability services, generations in the workplace, LGBTQIA+ issues, social justice, and veterans services, to name but a few.”

He also noted Ware’s work on the University’s K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month, the Hallowed Grounds Walking Tour and the Centennial Celebration of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity’s omicron chapter, among other accomplishments.


Marty Levine,, 412-758-4859


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 9

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