Chancellor's staff awards 2014

The staff recipients of the 2014 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence include Larry Westermeyer, Estella Rash and Susana Torres (not pictured). (Photo by August Jennewein)

Three University of Missouri–St. Louis employees were named recipients of the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence at the State of the University Address on Sept. 17.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George presented the awards, honoring each of the staff members for superior achievement and accomplishment. First given in 1988, the annual staff and faculty awards continue a campus tradition of recognizing excellent work and commitment.

Larry Westermeyer, director of Institutional Research, received the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in the administrative/professional category.

Westermeyer, who recently completed 40 years of service at UMSL, leads the university’s efforts to provide data, information and analytical services to colleagues and external constituents. Filling a role that requires a knack for gathering and understanding the relationships among various systems to supply information, Westermeyer also brings people skills and passion to his work.

“Taking on any new process, one is going to come across hurdles, but Larry would not stand for not getting over the hurdles,” said Teresa Balestreri, director of Career Services, who nominated Westermeyer for the award after he helped her staff significantly improve UMSL’s surveys of recent graduates. “He took the time to speak with us to determine what would be best for our situation, developed a flowchart, trained us on the software and walked us through the new process. We truly could not have made this transition without Larry’s innovation and creativity.”

Estella Rash, a child development assistant in the University Child Development Center, received the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in the office/technical category.

Rash’s dedication to children and their development has made her an integral part of the UCDC for more than three decades. Coworkers and parents are struck by her passion and competence for an important job: providing a strong educational and emotional foundation to the children in her care. In addition to the Chancellor’s Award, she was recently honored with an early childhood education award from The St. Louis American Foundation.

“Estella has faithfully cared for and taught the children of numerous faculty and students, so that we can serve the university in other areas,” said Vinita Henry, clinical professor and director of clinic operations in the College of Optometry. “Most of us serve in one area, but Estella’s position has effectively touched a multitude of areas. Occasionally I see her with children taking a walk in Marillac Hall. I recognize her voice instantly. You can hear the love in her voice, and she knows how to provide fun and educational activities.”

Custodian Susana Torres was honored with the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in the service/maintenance category.

Arriving on campus long before the sun rises, Torres displays a tremendous work ethic as she helps ensure a clean, comfortable environment at UMSL. One of the buildings that she regularly cleans is the Thomas Jefferson Library, where her dependability and positive demeanor have an impact on the library’s staff and many users on a daily basis.

“Whenever I see Susana anywhere in the library, she is working hard to make it look nice,” said Susan Mallioux, library assistant. “She is all over the five-story building during her shift, assuring that everything is clean and inviting for students and staff, creating a positive, welcoming atmosphere for the library.”

The event also included 25-year service award presentations to the following staff members:

Patty Archer, compositor, Printing Services
Karen Crawford, administrative assistant, Chancellor’s Office
Jay Frey, senior presssman, Printing Services
Vicki Galvin, office support assistant IV, Graphic Services
Rhonda Harkness, custodian, Residential Life
Joyce LaMartina, administrative assistant, Thomas Jefferson Library
David Owens, head of technical services, Librarian III, Libraries
Michael Charles Remier, systems administrator, Information Technology Services
Karen Rhodes, program/project support coordinator I, MIMH
Janice White, interactive graphic designer, Optometry

Click here to view Chancellor George’s State of the University presentation. His full remarks are here.

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