Carlene Arthur, operations coordinator for the Center for Gerontology and the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2015 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 2004, Arthur began as the administrative assistant for the Center for Gerontology. Two years later, upon the creation of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, she assumed additional duties and new responsibilities at both organizations. Today, she oversees all daily operations, including administration, personnel and payroll, grant fiscal management, academic support, and community engagement.
“Carlene contributes greatly to the successes of both the institute and the center. She is highly competent and her work is exceptional,” Karen Roberto, University Distinguished Professor and director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and the Center for Gerontology, wrote in her nomination letter. “No matter what is asked of her, she approaches all assignments with thoughtful determination, care, and enthusiasm, which results in high-quality outcomes.
“I and others with whom she frequently interacts greatly appreciate her knowledge, skills, dedication, compassion, and good humor,” added Roberto. “Without fail, she goes out of her way to make sure we are in a position to succeed, which reflects positively not only on the institute and center but clearly embodies the motto of Virginia Tech — Ut Prosim, That I May Serve.”
Starting in 2013, Arthur played an important coordinating role for an 18-month renovation project of the Wallace Annex, a 100-year-old building that became the new home of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and the Center for Gerontology in November.
The project involved a physical makeover, including removing walls, gutting rooms, repairing the front porch, replacing outdoor steps, and painting. Arthur worked with several organizations both on and off campus to ensure the work was done according to plan and in a timely manner.
After the renovations were underway, Arthur turned her attention to furnishing the new space. She stayed within budget and contained costs by making use of existing office furnishings and monitoring university surplus.
Arthur also managed the move from Wallace Hall to the renovated space and assembled the new environment to create a space that is professional yet warm and inviting.
In support of the Center for Gerontology, Arthur assists faculty with proposal submissions and provides fiscal and project management support for all grants received by the center. She also manages the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. She tracks applications, admissions, and awarding of certificates, maintains student records, and helps students with many matters, including the Research Forum speaker series, professional travel support, and scholarships. Arthur also produces the center’s annual newsletter and other brochures.
“In all of her efforts, and despite the increased demands of her position, Ms. Arthur is unfailingly cheerful, professional, efficient, and helpful,” noted Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor, associate dean of the Graduate School, and associate director for the Center for Gerontology. “She has willingly assumed more responsibilities than were assigned when she was hired, has advanced her professional skills and expertise consistently over the years, and has displayed outstanding leadership, competence, and team spirit.”
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.