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Several award winners looking at the award wall display in the Campus Club.

Current and previous award winners viewed the new display in the Campus Club on the fourth floor of Coffman Union.

Over the top

Campus Club unveils display of U award winners

By Gayla Marty

Brief, Feb. 28, 2007

The Campus Club on the Twin Cities campus was full of sunlight and laughter last Wednesday afternoon for a gathering of more than 100 U faculty, staff, and student winners of three awards. A display of the awards was unveiled on a wall where members and guests can't miss it--between the coatroom and the dining service.

The awards are the President's Award for Outstanding Service, the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award, and the Outstanding Community Service Award. (See sidebar, below right.) Recipients each year include faculty, staff, and-for the Johnson Award--a student. In the new display, each award is identified by a bronze plaque above a case containing the names of the current year's winners etched on individual glass nameplates.

"We needed a place to celebrate these very important awards," President Bruininks told the crowd that gathered for a reception in the west wing. "I am so pleased to see it come to be. These awards honor a community of people who keep paying forward to make not just the U but the world a better place."


See the names of current-year and previous winners on each award Web site.

President's Award for Outstanding Service
Est. 1997
Recognizes faculty, staff, or retirees who have provided exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units; have gone well beyond their regular duties; and have demonstrated an unusual commitment to the U community.

Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award
Est. 1998
Honors U of M faculty, staff, and students who, through their principles and practices, exemplify Dr. Johnson's standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments.

Outstanding Community Service Award
Est. 1999
Recognizes outstanding contributions and accomplishments of U of M faculty, staff, or community members who have devoted their time and talent to make substantial, enduring contributions to the community and improving public life and the well-being of society.

Last year, the University dedicated the Scholars Walk to honor outstanding academic and creative achievements of the faculty. But President Bruininks's idea to honor all kinds of contributions to the U had been percolating even before ground was broken for the walk. The president's office approached the Campus Club about four years ago.

"We could only think, 'We don't have enough wall space!'" said Campus Club president and dentistry faculty member Gary Anderson. "But when these three awards rose to the top, there was no question that it was the right thing to do. These awards honor people from all walks of life whose accomplishments make the U what it is and what it will be."

Speakers also included Robert Jones, senior vice president for system academic administration, whose office will support the awards display in conjunction with the Campus Club and the U Honors and Awards Program; Rusty BarcelÓ, vice president for equity and diversity; and Victor Bloomfield, professor and director of the Office for Public Engagement.

Josie R. Johnson standing next to the plaque for the award named in her honor.
Former U regent and associate vice president Josie Johnson stood next to the display for the award named in her honor.

The crowd gave a standing ovation to Josie Johnson, the first African American and woman on the University Board of Regents in 1971, who has also served the University in roles from senior fellow to associate vice president for minority affairs and diversity.

"I was honored to fill her shoes in 1996 and it was daunting, to say the least," said BarcelÓ, now vice president for equity and diversity, in a tribute to Johnson. "And she is still just as committed to this work. After I came to the University for the second time [last year], I had lunch with Dr. Johnson and she gave me a list of goals to be accomplished!"

Before and after the program, previous and current-year award winners enjoyed the display, traded jokes, and posed for pictures in clusters in the west wing and in front of the display.

"It's all a little overwhelming," said 2006 President's Award for Outstanding Service winner Betty Jo Johnson, executive office and administrative specialist in the College of Education and Human Development. "First they brought us to be recognized by the Board of Regents, then to Eastcliff for a reception, and now this. It's just over the top!"

But everyone agreed on the importance of giving greater visibility to those who contribute in a multitude of ways to the U community. The awards display is a good match between that goal and the mission of the Campus Club as a meeting place for the whole U community.

"These awards honor people from all walks of life whose accomplishments make the U what it is and what it will be."

Plans call for a reception each year, hosted by the Campus Club, to honor new recipients of the three awards. At that time, the previous year's winners will take possession of their etched nameplates.

The award display was created by a team led by Vickie Courtney, program director, University Honors and Awards. Members of the team were Ann Holt, executive director, Campus Club; Jessica Meyer, U Senate Office; Melanie Clarke, designer, University Relations; and Jim Lemke, president, Triology Marketing Group.

RELATED READING Grand opening of the Scholars Walk and Wall of Discovery, fall 2006