The annual Employee Service Awards ceremony brings together colleagues from across campus to celebrate the exceptional dedication of University of Richmond staff, honoring employees who have been with the University for five or more years. During the event, four staff members are selected for the Outstanding Service Award to recognize their commitment and service to the University. One award winner is selected from each of the following categories: administrative, clerical support, service/maintenance, and dining services. Winners are nominated by colleagues and supervisors, and selected from a pool of candidates.

The recipients for the 2013 Outstanding Service Awards include: Hope Walton, Sandra Roman, Paul Witten, and Younes Berregui.

Administrative: Hope Walton, Director, Academic Skills Center

When a student is struggling with his or her course load or needs a mentor, or if a committee wants to work out the details of a particular issue, Hope Walton is there to offer advice, guidance, and valuable insight. For more than 20 years, Hope has been the director of the Academic Skills Center, where she oversees 70 tutors and offers tutorial assistance in 172 courses through the Peer Academic Skills Tutoring program. In addition to building the center’s peer-tutoring and peer-mentoring programs, she has been recognized repeatedly at the state, regional, and national levels for her innovative work and dedication. Her Peer Advisors and Mentors program has helped with the retention of students, and she has worked with staff and faculty to increase matriculation of students of color. Over the years, Hope has worked on numerous University committees, helping with strategic planning, daily operations, and student scholar selections. “I appreciated hearing the positive commentary that my supervisor, Tina Cade, shared during the ceremony,” Hope said. “She, Steve Bisese, and Roger Mancastroppa have played significant roles in my attainment of this prestigious award.”

Clerical Support: Sandra Roman, Administrative Coordinator, Undergraduate Admission

Although her position requires her to juggle multiple tasks on a daily basis, when asked, Sandy Roman always has time for one more task to help a coworker. A trusted team player who is a master problem solver, she also offers encouragement to her colleagues during times of struggle, and is there to congratulate them for achievements and success. Sandy is passionate about her work, and is a natural at putting people at ease. She processes international applications, tenderly working with applicants from around the world to make the process less intimidating and stressful. A mentor who freely shares her experiences with younger colleagues, Sandy thoroughly trains her student employees to give them real work in the Office of Admission to help prepare them for the working world beyond Richmond. Sandy said, “I know the high caliber of colleagues I work with and feel fortunate that I was selected from such a group of outstanding individuals.” 

Service/Maintenance: Paul Witten, University Police Officer

University police officer Paul Witten is often called upon for specific tasks because his colleagues know that he will give 110 percent. In March 2012, when a fellow officer was temporarily assigned to another position, Paul assumed the officer’s duties, in addition to his own, including managing supervision during shifts, distributing proper emergency notifications, completing monthly reports, and conducting general inspections. He also takes initiative in building the department’s relationship with the University community by teaching self-defense classes for women, developing and running a student cadet program, serving as a member of the University Staff Advisory Council, and traveling with students as a chaperone on a trip to Israel. Also a great communicator, Paul routinely offers feedback and recommendations on how to make the department more efficient. “It is humbling to think of the company I now keep with past recipients,” Paul said. “I am truly honored to have been nominated for the award.”

Dining Services: Younes Berregui, Utility Worker, Heilman Dining Center

Younes Berregui joined the University in 2009 and in the last four years has built a reputation as a leader who is always willing to go above and beyond his designated job responsibilities. He is known to take charge when challenges arise, taking great pride in helping to find a solution. The first in his area to complete a one-year leadership program designed to prepare workers for management, Younes shared the skills he learned—accounting practices, employment law, leadership skills, LEED Green requirements, and other topics—with his peers. He encouraged fellow employees to sign up for the program for self-improvement. His positive attitude, leadership skills, and dependability make him a positive example for others: “I am so happy to receive the award—it was unexpected,” Younes said. “University of Richmond takes such good care of its employees on so many levels. It’s a place to grow and thrive.”