The Continuing Excellence Award Winner this year has truly embodied the meaning of what “continuing excellence” is all about. During her tenure, she has mentored and worked in virtually every area of her field of Residence Life and Student Housing. Her dedication and service has allowed her to triumph during years of challenging seasons, providing housing for new and returning students, summer conference attendees, and visitors for spirit camps. Her accomplishments include the development of the SMU Accredited Child Care Center, extensive planning and renovation of many SMU residence halls, and new Risk Management initiatives to provide safety and security for campus residents. Excellence was also demonstrated by her service rendered in many campus committees that were in addition to her own demanding job responsibilities. She excels in serving the diverse community of SMU and leads her own staff and the university in a way unlike any other. She is a person that stands out professionally among all colleges and universities in the area of Residential Life and provides the model that balances work, education, and family for her colleagues to follow.
Our recipient of the New Employee Excellence Award has taken the opportunity to demonstrate to all of us the impact one can have in the beginning of any career at SMU. Many students have already experienced the unique care and concern identifiable in her service in the Memorial Health Center. She has provided ongoing medical treatments to students, being available day or night, even providing her home phone number to those that needed special monitoring. In a particular student’s time of need, she personally paid for additional treatment the student required during a time of financial crisis for them. She also embraces the need to assist in the SMU Community outside of her office. After attending this past new student retreat at Mustang Corral, she posted photos of her students and contacted them regularly as they made their adjustments to university life. She is the person in the office that makes holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations visible and memorable. When counseling students on disease and alcohol abuse prevention she does so in a way that allows them to maintain their independence while still feeling healthy and safe.
The winner of the Outstanding Leadership Award has shown that sound financial management, consideration, collaboration and dedicated service provide the groundwork for engaging her staff in their fiscal roles. She has strongly overseen endowment, planned giving, and mineral accounting for the university, ensuring that SMU’s assets are in good hands. In addition to her immediate financial responsibilities, she has engaged time and time again as a volunteer treasurer for campus organizations. She leads by example and not only invests in the market; she invests in her employees, knowing that accuracy and accountability affect the lifeblood of university resources. She easily inspires her staff and colleagues throughout the campus. After serving on many committees and recruiting other strong leaders for SMU, she has been able to guarantee favorable audits for years. She has been instrumental in financial decision making and has maintained the high standards we all share for integrity in financial and business affairs.
For the Innovation Award Recipient, traveling vast distances was merely a part of her plan to transform an academic program into something that would change educational standards in the city of Dallas. By utilizing federal funding she brainstormed a way to reach out to school teachers with Spanish language talents. She led the collaborative efforts between SMU and the Dallas Independent School District to recruit teachers from Puerto Rico to enroll in the School of Education and Human Development. Her initial efforts have lead to 30 new bilingual teachers in DISD classrooms with large numbers of students learning English. Thanks to this dedicated staff member, SMU has been able to engage county and city leadership and expand the mission of SMU’s impact upon a global community. These new student-teachers will result in tuition revenues estimated at over $380,000 and enhanced federal support of providing bilingual teacher certification. Thanks to her innovative ideas of going directly to Puerto Rico, her previous homeland, she has given SMU the students it needs to continue in academic excellence in the discipline of secondary education.
As Associate Dean of Dedman College, Randy is known as the ‘go-to guy’ with his ability to solve problems of all kinds. He graduated from SMU in 1970 and has devoted 35 years to service of the SMU community. His high standards and commitment to make SMU a better place have identified him as a cornerstone of the University. He has served in many different leadership roles throughout his career which in the last few years has included oversight of the construction of the Dedman Life Sciences building and now the renovation of Fondren Sciences. Yet he still found time to volunteer with the SMU ICE program. In his rare spare time, Randy has served at the Interfaith Housing Coalition as an employer counselor, he has led as an Elder and member of the Worship Committee of the First Presbyterian Church in Richardson, and he has enjoyed fishing and flying airplanes with his wife Barbara and their grandchildren.