Drexel University celebrated the eighth annual President’s Awards Nov. 3. The event honors faculty and staff who contribute to the richness and diversity of the Drexel community, and acknowledges those who enable the University to fulfill its mission and achieve its goals. There are three award categories: excellence, intercultural engagement and diversity, and civic engagement. The 2014 President’s Awards was hosted in the auditorium of the main building for the first time in five years.
Vice president of human resources Louis Bellardine opened the ceremony by greeting the audience and explaining the significance of the event. Health care advocate Renee Amoore then took the stage, where she elicited laughter from the crowd. Afterwards, President John A. Fry expressed gratitude to the faculty and staff with a speech. He then invited Jim Tucker, senior vice president of administration and business services, to present the winners of the awards.
They announced the recipients of the excellence award — three in this category. The libraries’ Alexis Antracoli was the first winner to be acknowledged. She was introduced by a video of her colleagues highlighting her achievements. She is most recognized for having designed and implemented the libraries’ records management program. Her dedication to making the program work led her to becoming a recipient of the excellence award. Her acceptance speech was dedicated to those who have helped her along the way. Deputy Director of Athletics Nicholas Gannon was another recipient of the excellence award, for his trustworthiness, amicability and diligence. “He’s always the first one to come and the last one to leave,” Eric Zillmer said about his colleague. During his heartfelt acceptance speech, Gannon thanked his family for their support.
“This is probably the only time I get to publicly thank everyone I need to thank,” he said.
The final recipient of this award was the staff of the two-year residency program. They were awarded for their versatility, dependability and commitment to making the housing process — accommodating more than 5,000 students — run smoothly, according to Rita LaRue, senior associate vice president of Drexel Business Services. Representatives of the group accepted the award.
The intercultural engagement and diversity recipients were presented by Michelle Rovinsky, associate vice president of equality and diversity. The first winner, Fred Allen Jr., associate director for undergraduate studies, won the crowd over when he brought his son to the stage during his acceptance speech. He was a leading example in the minority group community at Drexel. He has worked with several minority group organizations, and has devoted to making the students feel involved with his engaging personality. LGBTQ advocate Tatiana Diaz was the second winner. She was acknowledged for spreading LGBTQ awareness in the Drexel community. Diaz works with students and LGBTQ organizations to raise LGBTQ issues and awareness to Drexel.
Lastly, the civic engagement award was given to Daniel Taylor, an associate professor at Drexel’s College of Medicine. His “Reach Out and Read” program — an organization that encourages parents to read to their children — played a big factor in Taylor’s recognition. Other than giving shout-outs, he shared some of his experiences working at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and promoting his “Reach Out and Read” program.
Fry — along with Taylor’s children — then presented a $1,000 donation to “Reach Out and Read.” A nearly 40-second applause followed the award show.
This year, there were a total of 58 nominees. The nomination process starts each year in June and lasts a month. The nominations are reviewed by a cross-functional selection committee made up of Drexel faculty and staff. Afterwards, it is forwarded to the president’s cabinet where they forward it Fry for final selection.
The hour-and-a-half ceremony was followed by a catered dinner, where many took the opportunity to congratulate the winners and nominees. For others, it was a chance to celebrate with friends, family and colleagues. Gannon said, “I brought my kids, my wife and my mother in-law with me so we can all share this special moment.”
Credit for this “special” evening goes to Althea Wallace, who coordinated this even with help of other departments such as the Office of Protocol and Special Events, the Office of Equality and Diversity Services and Events Services.