The President’s Award for Excellence, established in 1990 by President James D. McComas, is an annual recognition of full-time staff and administrative and professional faculty for their outstanding contributions and consistently excellent performance.

Twenty-seven employees with a collective 450 years of service were nominated for the award this year. These employees were recognized during a virtual ceremony June 4, where President Tim Sands announced this year’s winners. Each of the five recipients receives a letter of commendation from the president, a certificate, and a $2,000 pre-tax award.

“Our nominees and winners exemplify the dedication to service and spirit of community that supports Virginia Tech’s mission across the commonwealth and beyond,” Sands said. “The value of their work is especially evident now, as they maintain our essential operations and ensure a healthy and safe campus environment. We greatly appreciate their leadership and the example they set for all of us.”

The 2020 President’s Award recipients are:

photo of Margie Murray with President Sands
Margie Murray with President Sands at the virtual 2020 President’s Award for Excellence celebration

Margie Murray, special events coordinator for the Office of the President, has coordinated Staff Appreciation Day and commencement, among other events, working with all areas of the university to ensure a seamless experience for attendees. She has routinely gone above and beyond in supporting the Office of the President and its constituents.

Kim O’Rourke, vice president for policy and governance, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Margie has provided the primary staff support for planning and executing the university commencement ceremonies, Staff Appreciation Day, and the President's Awards for Excellence, to name just a few. These events have benefited a generation of students and thousands of employees. Her work has brought her into contact with dignitaries, legislators, alumni, donors, administrators, faculty, staff, and the public. She forged strong relationships and has represented the university professionally and contributed in a very real way to the positive public perception of Virginia Tech.” Watch a video below from Chris Yianilos, executive director of government relations, for more information on Murray.

Recently retired, Murray has been with the Office of the President since 1981.

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photo of Gladys S. Sartin
Gladys S. Sartin

Gladys Sartin, lead housekeeping worker in Student Affairs, works primarily in New Hall West, where she meticulously oversees the cleanliness and appearance of the facilities. She has touched the lives of countless students and employees through her hard work and caring nature.

Director for Facilities and Operations Kenneth E. Belcher wrote in a letter of nomination, “Gladys has my respect and thanks for everything she does each day to make an institutional space more like home.” Watch a video below from Belcher for more information on Sartin.

Sartin was hired in 2007 as a housekeeping worker and promoted to lead housekeeping worker in 2012.

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photo of Sherry V Schoolfield
Sherry V. Schoolfield

Sherry Schoolfield, senior housekeeping supervisor for Recreational Sports, works in McComas Hall. Schoolfield manages a facility that receives thousands of visitors every day and keeps the amenities beautiful and ready for use. Due to her efforts, McComas has been able to sustain numerous critical infrastructure elements, while cutting expenses. She is creative, hardworking, and compassionate.

Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Shushok, Jr. wrote in a letter of nomination, “Sherry is committed to community. Traditionally, housekeeping is an area with a high turnover rate of employees, but under Sherry’s leadership, the turnover in Recreational Sports has lowered. This is due to Sherry’s willingness to go ‘all-in’ for her staff. She goes above and beyond for her staff, and is always the first to show up early, stay late, or come in on an extra day to make sure that the facilities are top notch.” Watch a video below from Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Chris Wise for more information on Schoolfield.

Schoolfield started her career at Virginia Tech in 1997 as housekeeping in Squires Student Center. She moved to Recreational Sports in 1998.

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photo of Robert Sebek with President Sands
Robert Sebek with President Sands at the virtual 2020 President’s Award for Excellence celebration

Robert Sebek, collections technology specialist in University Libraries, manages the sophisticated technical aspects of the library with ease. He is patient and willing to help anyone who needs it. Sebek is a past Staff Senate president and a strong advocate for members of the university community and has worked hard to make a difference at Virginia Tech.

Tamara Kennelly, archivist in University Libraries, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Robert’s commitment to the faculty, staff, students, and community is to be commended. He was instrumental in advocating for Virginia Tech to change the minimum wage starting pay for full-time staff. He also has advocated for affordable housing in Blacksburg and affordable childcare.” Watch a video below from Kennelly for more information on Sebek.

Sebek has been with the University Libraries since 1981 and served as Staff Senate president from 2017 to 2019.

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photo of Anthony Watson with President Sands
Anthony Watson with President Sands at the virtual 2020 President’s Award for Excellence celebration

Anthony Watson, director of buildings and grounds in the Facilities Department, manages special events, inclement weather, and emergencies with ease. He will go above and beyond to be sure that all members of our community are safe on campus and that the issue at hand is addressed. He is a true Hokie.

John Beach, director of utilities for Facilities Services, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Anthony’s efforts have prepared our work force to accept a flexible, multi-role orientation and provide the service that the university needs on a daily basis during a time of mounting budgetary pressures. Anthony has also worked with Human Resources and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry to develop a carpentry apprenticeship program for our workforce. This is of particular importance to Virginia Tech as no state training program in the carpentry field formerly existed.” Watch a video below from Joy Manning, director of renovations, for more information on Watson.

Watson has been with the Facilities Department since 1989.

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In addition to this year’s winners, the following employees were nominated for the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence:

  • Wafa Al-Daily
  • Stephanie Breeding
  • Jillian Broadwell
  • Sean Collins
  • Connie Crockett
  • Bryan Ducote
  • Christopher Dunavant
  • Daniel Eanes
  • Sandra Gautier
  • Amelia Hill
  • Deidra Hopkins
  • Katelyn Kast
  • Christine Luketic
  • Marlena McGlothlin Lester
  • Mason Montgomery
  • Keith Nunn
  • Jessica Sanders
  • Joalenn Tabor
  • Kathryn Tickle
  • Susan Volkmar
  • Christopher Whitlock
  • Melissa Williams

Congratulations to this year’s winners and nominees. For more information about the President’s Award, visit this page. For information on past award winners, visit this page. View a wrap-up video of the event. If you would like to watch a replay of this year's complete President's Award for Excellence award ceremony, visit this page.