Wilkes University

President’s Awards for Excellence

About the President's Awards

The President's Awards for Excellence recognize outstanding achievements of University faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond to serve our students throughout the academic year.

Award Categories

The categories for nominations reflect Wilkes University's key values.

Nurturing individuals to understand and act on their abilities while challenging them to achieve great things.

Wilkes University celebrates our commitment to mentorship. Do you know someone on campus who exemplifies this key value, giving of his or her time and talents and encouraging others to be their best? Someone whose name has been synonymous with mentorship on campus over the past year?

This person may be an ideal candidate for the President’s Award for Exceptional Mentorship.

Advancing knowledge through discovery and research to better educate our constituents.

William Shakespeare once said, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” Through the process of scholarship, we not only discover what we may be, but help those around us discover what they may be as well. Distinguished scholarship and innovative research are key components of our goal to make Wilkes one of the finest small universities in the country.

If one of your colleagues is an exceptional scholar, he or she may be honored with the President’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship.

Embracing differences and uniqueness through sincerity, awareness, inclusion and sensitivity.

Poet and author Maya Angelou once said, “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” As Wilkes strives to enhance the quality of our education, we celebrate diversity in all of its forms, knowing we learn more from our differences than our similarities.

Do you know someone who exemplifies the core value of diversity on campus and should be recognized with the President’s Award for Exceptional Contributions to Diversity?

Promoting creative scholarly activities, programs, ideas and sustainable practices.

Entrepreneur and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” At Wilkes, we value ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness. We don’t want to know how something’s always been done, we want to know how to do it better.

If you work with an innovative leader who has come up with a fresh, original solution to a problem or who has created an opportunity resulting in positive improvements for the Wilkes community, you may nominate your colleague for the President’s Award for Outstanding Innovation.

Appreciating and collaborating with mutual respect to foster a sense of belonging.

At Wilkes, community is more than just a word. It’s a feeling - a feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves, a feeling of coming together to do great things.

Nomination Process

Each summer, the President’s Office invites members of the campus community to nominate a colleague or colleagues for the President’s Awards for Excellence. Nominations are reviewed by the President’s Cabinet and the final winners are selected by the President. Award winners and their nominators are notified in early August and the official announcement is made at Fall Convocation later that month. Each recipient receives a $1,000 prize, lapel pin and certificate.

Awards History

Wilkes University faculty and staff members were honored with the 2021 President’s Awards for Excellence at Fall Convocation on Aug. 25.

For the first time, the President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation was presented to the faculty and staff body of the University. This is in recognition of the ways Wilkes employees have problem-solved, thought creatively and allowed Wilkes to carry out its mission of educating students regardless of the circumstances. Wilkes employees were honored during a special event on Friday, Sept. 24 which ended with a lighted art installation outside of Weckesser Hall. 

  • William Terzaghi, professor of biology, was the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship for his efforts in advancing knowledge through discovery and research to better educate Wilkes constituents.
  • Jeanne Rabel, advising coordinator in University College, was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Community for her efforts in collaborating with others on campus with mutual respect to foster a sense of belonging.
  • Grace Surdovel, faculty of practice in the School of Education, was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity for her efforts in embracing differences and uniqueness through sincerity, awareness, inclusion and sensitivity.
  • David Biever, assistant head football coach, received the President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring for his efforts in nurturing individuals to understand and act on their abilities while challenging them to achieve great things.

Read More About the 2021 Awardees

Fall Convocation was held virtually due to the pandemic, so the 2020 President's Awards for Excellence were given to recipients in separate outdoor ceremonies over several weeks at the start of the fall 2020 semester. Recipients include the following:

  • Wei Du, assistant professor of electrical engineering and physics, was the recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
  • Jason Wagner, application developer for the Office of Technology for Teaching and Learning, received the President's Award for Excellence in Innovation.
  • Brian Bogert, director of institutional research, was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Community.
  • Shelli Holt-Macey, director of experiential programs in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, received the President's Award for Excellence in Mentoring.
  • Ellen Newell, associate professor of psychology, was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 2020 AWARDEES

Six Wilkes University faculty and staff members were honored with the 2019 President’s Awards for Excellence at Fall Convocation on Aug. 21, 2019:

  • Abas Sabouni, associate professor of electrical engineering - President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Heather Bowman, electronic resources librarian - President's Award for Excellence in Innovation
  • Joshua Savitski, associate director of enrollment services - President's Award for Excellence in Innovation
  • Mildred Urban, associate director of special events - President's Award for Excellence in Community
  • Heather Sincavage, director of the Sordoni Art Gallery and assistant professor of art - President's Award for Excellence in Diversity
  • Debra Chapman, faculty of practice in the biology department - President's Award for Excellence in Mentoring

READ MORE ABOUT THE 2019 Awardees

Five Wilkes University faculty and staff members were honored with the 2018 President’s Awards for Excellence at Fall Convocation on Aug. 22, 2018:

  • Zbigniew J. Witczak, professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences - President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship.
  • Kathleen Hirthler, associate professor and chair of graduate nursing programs - President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation.
  • Melissa Howells, director of student development - President’s Award for Excellence in Community.
  • Deborah Tindell, professor of psychology - President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring.
  • Evene Estwick, associate professor of communication studies - President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity.

Read More About the 2018 Awardees

Five Wilkes University faculty and staff members were honored with the 2017 President’s Awards for Excellence at Fall Convocation on Aug. 24, 2017:

  • Thomas Baldino, professor of political science - President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • Charles Cary, executive director of facilities - President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation
  • Mark Allen, dean of students - President’s Award for Excellence in Community
  • Marie Roke-Thomas, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences - President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
  • Erica Acosta, associate director of diversity affairs - President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity

READ MORE ABOUT THE 2017 AWARDEES

The inaugural President’s Awards for Excellence were presented to five Wilkes University faculty and staff members at Fall Convocation in 2016. The honorees were:

  • Michael Steele, professor of biology - President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship, for his efforts in advancing knowledge through discovery and research to better educate students
  • John Carlin, director of network and technology infrastructure - President’s Award for Excellence in Innovation, for his efforts in promoting programs, ideas and sustainable practices as they relate to rebuilding a computer network in unheralded ways
  • Addy Malatesta, director of athletics - President’s Award for Excellence in Community, for her efforts in appreciating and collaborating with mutual respect to foster a sense of belonging on campus
  • Lt. Col. Mark Kaster, lecturer in environmental engineering and earth science and veteran’s counselor - President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, for his efforts in nurturing individuals to understand and act on their abilities while challenging them to achieve great things
  • Helen Davis, associate professor of English - President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity, for her efforts in embracing differences and uniqueness through sincerity, awareness, inclusion and sensitivity.

Read More about the 2016 Awardees