Tonya Pruitt, administrative specialist for the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis in the College of Science 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.

In 2009, Pruitt began providing part-time administrative support for Virginia Tech's Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis which was created the year before to provide research infrastructure in statistics for the university.

“As Tonya has grown professionally and gained more skills, the laboratory has also grown,” wrote Eric Vance, research assistant professor in the Department of Statistics and director of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis, in his letter of nomination.

In 2013, the laboratory helped 1,453 researchers across Virginia Tech in its three main services of statistical collaboration meetings, walk-in consulting, and educational short courses. Pruitt organized and administered all these services.

“Now in 2014, Tonya is enabling us to build a network of 20 statistical collaboration laboratories in developing countries by 2020 so that more people around the world will benefit from statistical thinking,” added Vance. “Her combination of organizational skills and sense of personal responsibility exemplify the qualities we all aspire to. She is able to anticipate challenges and frequently has solutions for problems before they even arise. Her contributions have made the Department of Statistics a better place for all faculty, staff, and students, and her service is an indispensable part of the laboratory’s success.”

“I appreciate many things about Tonya — her cheerful nature, that she always arrives and departs on time, that she supports the activities of the department, and that she willingly participates in staff activities,” wrote Eric P. Smith, professor and head of the Department of Statistics, in his letter of support. “However, what I am most impressed with is her willingness to help, in a careful and timely manner with many of the tasks that are not part of her job description.

“I feel I can trust her to get a task done on time and I am always pleased with the care she takes in completing the task,” he added. "Tonya is the type of employee we wish for.”

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.