Special events coordinator Karen Andrews received the college's 2012 Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence.
Andrews Receives 2012 Staff Award for Excellence
Date: May 31, 2012
Author: Sherrie Whaley
Contact: Karen Andrews, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Andrews, special events coordinator in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has received the college’s 2012 Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence.
A member of the Grady College external relations team, Andrews was recognized for her exemplary work with college events and her leadership of the Grady Ambassadors student group.
The Savannah native was presented with a plaque and $500 during the annual Faculty-Staff Recognition Celebration held April 30 in the Drewry Room.
Dean Cully Clark presented the Staff Award for Excellence to Karen Andrews during the Faculty/Staff Recognition Celebration.
One nominator wrote, “Karen Andrews is the backbone of the Grady College. Her presence is felt in every college event, by every college guest, by faculty and staff, and by every Grady student. Although her planning skills are world-class, the menial tasks are never beneath her. Karen is always there, with a smile, ready to help.”
Her contributions are most visible through the college’s many events—from the Annual Gala, Homecoming on the Lawn, Convocation and alumni events to retirement parties, board meetings, lecture receptions, student appreciation days, etc. However, it’s the “little things” Andrews handles that often goes unnoticed.
For example, she voluntarily took on co-director duties for the Georgia Journalism Academy, a seven-day summer camp for high school students, in which she frequently logs more than 100 work hours with everything from setting up events and games to escorting students to the emergency room.
Andrews is one of the few Grady College staff members who truly reaches all constituents, from prospective high school students and current Grady students, to faculty, staff and alumni. “Our alumni know Karen first-hand,” wrote a colleague. “She is always the first one to greet them at an event and the last one to help clean up their mess, sometimes literally.”
Called the cornerstone of every event the college holds, Andrews’ commitment to her job was lauded. “I can’t think of one person within the Grady College who has a negative impression of Karen. Her willingness to help is unmatched,” wrote a nominator. “Her knowledge of the Grady College and the University of Georgia system is remarkable. With all the extra duties she has taken on, and with the relationships she has built with partners of the College, there simply is no replacing her.
Andrews has worked at Grady College since 2007. She is a double Grady alumna, first graduating with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication arts in 2003. She received her master’s degree with a public relations emphasis in 2011.
She also works closely with current Grady students as coordinator of the highly successful Grady Ambassador program. “It’s not uncommon to see a student hanging out in Karen’s office, seeking her advice or just chatting. It’s a testament to her influence on students,” one colleague noted.
Other Penn Award finalists who were recognized with Andrews and received awards of appreciation from Grady College Dean Clark included Cindi Johnson, executive assistant to the dean; Sophie Barnes, administrative secretary for the Department of Journalism; and Cheryl Christopher, administrative secretary in the Department of Telecommunications.
The Staff Award of Excellence is dedicated to the memory of Vera Penn, who died in 2007 and was Grady’s former assistant to the dean for student affairs. She personified excellence and was a valued colleague and friend to many.
The Grady College Vera Penn Staff Award for Excellence is presented annually to the individual who exhibits outstanding characteristics in performance of duties. Professionalism, dependability, and a good attitude are just some of the attributes that the recipient brings to the Grady environment. The winner is considered an outstanding example for others and represents the Grady College in a positive manner.
Previous recipients of the Penn Staff Award include Donna LeBlond (2011), Louise McElroy (2010), Donna Lord (2009), Jane Worley (2008), and Janet Sharik (2007).
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