2008-09 Presidential Award Winners
Gretchen Voight, 2008-09 Presidential Award for New Employee Excellence
Gretchen Voight began her career at SMU as the Assistant Registrar for Academic Ceremonies in May 2006. Her primary responsibilities consist of coordinating and managing all aspects of SMU’s five annual academic ceremonies, including Opening Convocation, December Graduation, Honors Day Convocation, Baccalaureate Service and Commencement Convocation.
Gretchen credits her father for her success. Ranny Voight has always been a shining example of the value of work ethic, and taught Gretchen at an early age that you should always give 150% in your professional life.
A native of Port Neches, Texas, Gretchen earned a B.S. degree in Hospitality Management from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2003. As a student, Gretchen played a key role in the University’s Orientation Program from 2000 – 2003, which is where she developed an interest in a career in higher education. Gretchen was drawn to SMU because of the friendly atmosphere, its dedication to the well-being of its employees, and the positive camaraderie among faculty and staff.
Outside of her duties as Assistant Registrar, Gretchen is a new member mentor for the North American Association of Commencement Officers, an active member of the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and has served on the Local Arrangements Committee of the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers as the Exhibits and Vendors Chair since 2006. She is the new President-Elect of the SMU Staff Association, and also chartered a book club at SMU in 2008 called “Book Addicts Anonymous.” Outside of SMU, Gretchen spends time as a volunteer Wishgranter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and enjoys weekend road trips to East Texas to visit friends, and visits to Southeast Texas to visit family.
Amber Kosik, 2008-09 Presidential Award for Innovation
Amber has worked as a Residence Hall Director at SMU for three years. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Trinity University and went on to receive a Masters of Education in Student Affairs from The Pennsylvania State University. Her passion for the liberal arts education and her love of the great state of Texas brought her to SMU. She is now enrolled in the Professional Masters of Business Administration Program at SMU’s Cox School of Business and also serves as a Personal Trainer at SMU’s Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Amber believes that her successes in life are a result of the work ethic she learned from her Mother and the critical thinking skills she received from her Father and the millions of puzzles they must have completed together. Amber views everything she does, from running marathons to coaching her student staff members, as a challenge waiting to be conquered in new ways which makes every day an exciting adventure.
Brooke Benten Jimenez, 2008-09 Presidential Award for Continuing Excellence
Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed., serves as Assistant Director of Fitness for the Department of Recreational Sports. She came to SMU in January 2005. Brook began the SMU Group X program in January 2005, offering 8 classes per week. Four years later, she is managing a program that offers 84 classes per week, primarily instructed by SMU students. Brook teaches a 10-week extracurricular Fitness Instructor-in-training course. This course teaches students exercise science principles and practical skills that prepare them to pass a nationally-recognized instructor certification. Mrs. Jimenez wrote the book for this course! Brook’s mission at Southern Methodist University is to educate students on basic nutrition and physical fitness, and impart a passion for exercise and a lifelong pursuit of health and wellness.
“Southern Methodist University is a great place to work, because of the people,” says Jimenez. “Judith Banes is the Director of Recreational Sports, and anyone who has ever had the privilege of working with Judith would agree that she is an extraordinarily genuine, giving, fair, and kind-hearted person; the epitome of a leader. Patty Wilson is the Business Manager for Recreational Sports, but she’s also my ‘mother bear’ and mamma will not let anyone mess with her cub! The rest of the department and many colleagues within the division are truly dear friends. SMU does a great job in hiring qualified professionals that have both competence and character.”
Brook is President of Cardiopump Fitness, LLC. Through Cardiopump, she released her premier workout video, "Kettlebell: Butts & Guts by Brook Benten" in 2008. She was the March 2009 “Wellness Spotlight” for the American College Personnel Association. Brook is a national presenter and continuing education provider for the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Mrs. Jimenez was featured in D-Beauty magazine in Fall 2007. She is a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and nutritionist. Brook obtained her Bachelor's of Science in Exercise and Sport Science at Texas State University in 2003, and her Master's of Education in Physical Education with emphasis in Fitness Management from The University of Houston in 2004. She has experience working in commercial fitness, corporate fitness, municipal recreation, and campus recreation.Growing up, Brook was the clumsy kid that was cut from every organized sport. Although she was not coordinated with team sports, she loved the way her body felt to move. She self-proclaimed herself as the “Queen of Off-season.” When she found Step Aerobics, the fit was like a hand and a glove. Through group fitness, Brook learned to tone her body, raise her spirits, and find confidence she had never known. She commits her career to helping others find this joy. Her professional objective is to break negative associations to exercise, and, by teaching fun and effective fitness classes, catalyze improvements in physical, social, and emotional wellness in the lives of others.
Joe Gargiulo, 2008-09 Presidential Award for Outstanding Leadership
Mr. Joe Gargiulo, Chief Information Officer for Information Technology, is responsible for overseeing the Academic and Administrative technology needs for the University. Information Technology is a critical enabler for students, faculty, staff and patrons of the University in support of their instruction, research, administration, business and social needs. Information Technology is comprised of the software, hardware, people and processes needed to support the University’s goals and aspirations. IT is committed to providing quality and timely services to support the academic goals and to improve the learning and working environment of the University.
Mr. Gargiulo has been employed at SMU since 1998. Initially managing the Y2K and legacy system to PeopleSoft conversions, he also assisted with the SMU Libraries’ system conversion to Voyager. In the 2005 ITS reorganization, he was appointed Executive Director of Administrative Computing, responsible for Administrative Systems Training, Software Applications, Systems, Telecommunications, and User Services.
Mr. Gargiulo has worked very closely with the academic and administrative units across campus to support their technology needs, highlighted by a Commendation from the Faculty Senate. He has been in close communication with the Faculty Senate IT Committee to ensure faculty needs and issues in IT are addressed. He has been a member of the Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN) Board and the North Texas GigaPop Management Council, where he has worked closely with the CIO’s of 33 other Texas colleges and universities.
A veteran in the IT industry, Mr. Gargiulo started his career with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1979. He spent eight years there, progressing through their Systems Engineer Development Program and becoming a Systems Manager supporting systems in the health care industry. He then spent the next eleven years at Fidelity Investments progressing to Vice President, managing a team of 80 software developers responsible for marketing, customer, mutual fund and brokerage systems for five million households and eight million customers.
Mr. Gargiulo served in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Plymouth Rock (LSD-29).
Mr. Gargiulo received his Bachelors degree in Business Administration (Management Information Systems) from Old Dominion University. He graduated magna cum laude and was selected Outstanding MIS Senior.
Mr. Gargiulo is married and has a daughter.