Civil service staff member Jenny Meslow received a President's Outstanding Service Award in 2006. She and the other recipients were honored by President Bruininks at Eastcliff.
Honoring all kinds of great service
Nominate a colleague for the President's Outstanding Service Award
By Heather Powell and Gayla Marty
Brief, Feb. 21, 2007
If you work at the U--or even if you don't--you may recognize the Relay for Life and the Turtle Derby as fun fund-raisers for great causes. And there's a civil service employee behind those names: Jenny Meslow chaired the derby for 10 years, and in 2004 she brought the relay to raise funds for cancer-related research to Minnesota.
Meslow was one of two civil service staff members who won the President's Outstanding Service Award in 2006. She's a great example of why it's important to take the time to nominate a colleague for the award.
"I've been at the U for 25 years, and I love the U," says Meslow. "I feel like I put my heart and soul into my job. I didn't do those 25 years to get a pat on the back, but"--she laughs--"it's really nice to get that pat on the back!"
She says the award recognizes how hard she works and how much she cares, and it continues to "cement that dedication."
"Everybody would nominate Jenny for that award every single year because of the things she does to build community and make connections," says Gunn. "And she is highly effective. We all wanted to honor her."
Not every award winner has worked on such public projects as Meslow. The other civil service award winner in 2006 was Debbie Nelson in the Law School, special assistant to the associate dean and director of curriculum development.
Nelson is the one who plans retirement parties, potlucks, and care packages to the Law School's extended family in Iraq.
The Law School's Debbie Nelson celebrated her 2006 award at Eastcliff. See more photos.
"And if there's a crisis, she's the first one picking up a shovel to dig out," says assistant dean of students Erin Keyes. "She gives a lot of herself, and she knows how to communicate effectively. She's a professional in many, many areas."
Professor Stephen Befort agrees. While serving as associate dean for academic curriculum for four years, he worked closely with Nelson.
"She has this great institutional wisdom," says Befort. "I'd go to Debbie and ask, 'How did we do this before?' She would answer always with the best interests of the school in mind.
"Another thing about Debbie is that, as she's moved up the ladder, she's always been willing to help those in her former positions," Befort adds. "She's the ultimate team player."
Nelson's strong role in fostering a sense of community in and beyond the Law School and her example of inclusion and respect are attributes her nominators wanted to honor because they exemplify outstanding service at the U--even though Nelson is not the kind of person who wants public recognition or accolades.
So nominate a colleague! It's not too late. Download the form today and aim for March 9 to submit your nomination.
Heather Powell works at the U Card Office in Coffman Union and is a member of the Civil Service Committee.