Elizabeth “Jane” Harrison, administrative assistant for the School of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2014 President's Award for Excellence.

The President's Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

Harrison has worked at Virginia Tech more than 40 years, the last 28 years have been with the School of Performing Arts.

“Jane Harrison is that rare employee who sets a standard of excellence for everyone in our program,” wrote Patricia “Patty” Raun, professor and director of the School of Performing Arts, in her letter of nomination. “She models both the skill and the will to pursue established objectives and sets the example of what it takes to achieve these objectives.”

For many years, Harrison has produced the annual Summer Arts Festival — selecting, booking, and hosting the outdoor concerts held on Henderson Lawn, often for audiences of more than 1,000 people.

“The Summer Arts Festival is a joint production of the town and the university, and Jane is the primary force behind this endeavor,” wrote Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam in his letter of support. “It would not be possible without her untiring efforts.”

In addition, Harrison maintains the Artists Registry which provides performing groups and entertainment for more than 50 university events each year, and she provides a wide range of support for the 1,200 students enrolled in fine arts classes.

“Jane is an outstanding representative for Virginia Tech and an exceptional ambassador for the arts,” wrote Gilda Machin-Scarpaci, a special events planner with the Virginia Tech Alumni Association in her letter of support. “She has exposed thousands of alumni to the importance of the arts and to the talent of our students. We owe Jane a world of thanks for adding to the cultural experience of our alumni and to the general pleasure of our participants who are lucky enough to reap the benefit of Jane’s diligence and dedication.”

“She is a tireless, inventive, and responsible colleague who devotes herself to her work and exceeds expectations every day,” added Raun. “Throughout the campus, she is held in high esteem. Within her own school, she is loved.”

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.