Lynn Darnell, a housekeeper assigned to Burruss Hall at Virginia Tech for more than eight years, has 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.

“If you ask Lynn's coworkers and supervisors, she is consistently mentioned as the essential team player among the housekeepers and one of the leaders,” wrote Heidi McCoy, deputy chief facilities officer, in her letter of nomination. “Over the years, I have personally seen Lynn take the initiative to cover for co-workers who are absent to ensure that the work is completed to the highest standards.”

Of the 90 university housekeepers in Facilities Services, Darnell is among the select few who are consistently asked to train new co-workers.

“Because of her knowledge of the task required to make the university shine, her commitment to the university and to her work, and her positive attitude, Lynn is consistently at the top of the list of trainers,” added McCoy.

Her ability to train was evident when the university recently hired two housekeepers who spoke little English. Darnell enthusiastically assumed the role of trainer, and did everything she could — including drawing pictures to better explain tasks — so that the new employees were successful in their new roles.

In addition, Darnell goes above and beyond her job responsibilities to help implement changes with the housekeeping staff.

“When the university transitioned from upright vacuums to backpack vacuums, some expressed skepticism with the changes,” noted McCoy. “Lynn, however, proactively encouraged the adoption of this new method and took it upon herself to both train and convince her coworkers of the advantages of the new system."

"Lynn epitomizes excellence with her strong work ethic, teamwork, enthusiasm, and quality service,” Vickie Chiocca and Sarah McCoy, two staff members in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, wrote in a letter of nomination they co-signed. “She anticipates what needs to be done, and approaches her work methodically, in a planned and organized way. She has a system down for keeping Burruss Hall shiny and bright."

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.