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.

Thirty-three employees with a collective 415 years of service were nominated for the award this year. These employees were recognized during a virtual ceremony yesterday, April 22, where President Tim Sands announced this year’s winners. Each winner receives a letter of commendation from the president, a certificate, and a $2,000 pre-tax award.

“The President’s Award for Excellence recognizes determination, creativity, and true dedication to the mission and spirit of Virginia Tech,” Sands said. “These individuals kept us moving forward over the past year, while protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We deeply appreciate their service to the university.”

This year, more awards were given out than in any other year. This reflects the incredible work and accomplishments of this past year, including work during the pandemic.

The 2021 President’s Award recipients are:

photo of Jarrod Alls.
Jarrod Alls

Jarrod Alls, quality control assistant in Facilities Operations, performs a wide variety of duties. He has extensive interaction with promoting and overseeing compliance of operational quality for housekeeping, grounds, and contractual services. Alls serves as the frontline contact with our contracted partners and frequently navigates to areas where their services are being performed to inspect and discuss needs and expectations.

Jon Clark Teglas, chief of staff to the vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Jarrod is responsible for coordinating university efforts to assure that buildings and grounds constantly express the sense of place and quality that is intrinsic to Virginia Tech. That’s a substantial task – and he executes it flawlessly.” Watch a video below from Teglas for more information on Alls.

Alls has worked for Virginia Tech since 2018.

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photo of Mariam Juliet Dadras.
Mariam Juliet Dadras

Mariam “Juliet” Dadras, occupational health nurse in Environmental Health and Safety, oversees Virginia Tech's Occupational Health Clinic, which services more than 3,000 employees. During COVID-19, Dadras’ position served as Virginia Tech’s COVID-19 case manager for the university. She partnered with critical campus partners and established key relationships within the Virginia Department of Health.

Kevin Foust, associate vice president for safety and security, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Juliet brought a human side to COVID-19 case management at Virginia Tech. She has spent countless hours, many of which were at night and on weekends, personally calling each and every employee who had been diagnosed with the virus to check on their well-being, to offer resources, and to ensure they were doing well. Her care and compassion for her fellow Hokies has been nothing short of spectacular.” Watch a video below from Foust for more information on Dadras.

Dadras has worked for Virginia Tech since 2017.

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photo of Amy Epperley.
Amy Epperley. Photo by Christina Franusich at Virginia Tech.

Amy Epperley, director of Hokie Wellness, provides health and wellness resources, programs, and more for the university’s students and employees. She moved into her new position a little over a year ago, then the pandemic struck and she quickly had to shift her team’s focus.

Bryan Garey, vice president for human resources, wrote in a letter of nomination, “In just over a year, Amy assumed a new role, led a newly restructured team, and faced an amazing new challenge through the pandemic. Wellness has never been more critical to our university community than through the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to Amy’s leadership, resilience, and call to service, Virginia Tech students and our valuable faculty and staff have received the support they deserve.” Watch a video below from Garey for more information on Epperley.

Epperley has worked for Virginia Tech since 2014.

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photo of Brenda Husser.
Brenda Husser

Brenda Husser, office manager and academic advisor for the Department of Sociology, leads advising efforts. Along with advising and assisting students, she also assists faculty with developing as teachers, researchers, and community leaders.

Anthony Kwame Harrison, associate chair for sociology, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Brenda’s most visible success is as an academic advisor. The past six years, the number of department majors have tripled. Brenda both managed the department and advised the majority of the majors. During our department commencement ceremony, Brenda consistently receives a standing ovation from the graduating class, and numerous students include a special thanks to her in the two to three sentence statements that are read when their names are called. Such personal connections and debts of gratitude are vital to the positive feelings alumni have for Virginia Tech and the degrees they earn.” Watch a video below from Harrison, for more information on Husser.

Husser has worked for Virginia Tech since 1981.

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photo of Robin Hypes.
Robin Hypes

Robin Hypes, timetable and schedular coordinator in the Office of the University Registrar, provides instruction, answers procedural questions, and processes changes. In March 2020, Robin and her supervisor spent countless hours reworking, transitioning, and publishing the fall 2020 Virginia Tech class timetable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Late spring and summer 2020, they organized the assignment of the new class modalities. A similar process was done for spring 2021.

Elizabeth Long, undergraduate academic advisor for political science, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Robin’s leadership and guidance for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 timetables was critical. Without Robin, the timetable would not have been finished and published in the processional manner it was.” Watch a video below from Long for more information on Hypes.

Hypes has worked for Virginia Tech since 2007.

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photo of Nancy Nolen.
Nancy Nolen

Nancy Nolen, enrollment services assistant in the School of Education, manages documentation for approximately 150 master's and doctoral students. Much of her responsibilities include attention to detail, ensuring student paperwork, such as applications, plans of study, change forms, withdrawal forms, exams, and degree applications, is completed correctly with correct signatures.

Nancy Bodenhorn, associate professor and associate director for School of Education, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Nancy is the most pleasant person with whom I have had the pleasure of working. She greets every request with grace and composure, which exemplifies her commitment both to Ut Prosim and to the Principles of Community.” Watch a video below from Bodenhorn for more information on Nolen.

Nolen has worked for Virginia Tech since 1997.

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photo of Keith Nunn.
Keith Nunn

Keith Nunn, project manager for the Academic Resources Management, was tasked to work with the registrar’s office to provide students a safe classroom experience and learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nunn was responsible for safely accommodating reduced occupancy, in-person classes for the fall semester.

Van Coble, assistant provost for academic space for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, wrote in a letter of nomination, “Keith managed the efficient transfer of thousands of tables, chairs, desks, and other furniture and their storage in a well-organized arrangement that would facilitate selective retrieval as required. The schedule was extremely tight and the moving logistics were challenging. Keith spent countless hours supervising the efficient pickup and delivery of the furniture from classrooms all over campus.” Watch a video below from Coble for more information on Nunn.

Nunn has worked for Virginia Tech since 2010.

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In addition to this year’s winners, the following employees were nominated for the 2021 President’s Award for Excellence:

  • Kenneth Belcher
  • Gregory Canaday
  • Megan Coulter
  • Amanda Eagan
  • Daniel Eanes
  • Brandon Epperley
  • Douglas Epps
  • Penny Falck
  • Robert French
  • Justin Hurt
  • Laura Lehmann
  • Christine Luketic
  • Bruce Lytton
  • Samantha Mahdu
  • Andrew Marinik
  • Jason Pearman
  • Stacey Poertner
  • Ashley Roberts
  • Philip Robertson
  • Jacqueline “Renee” Ryan
  • Amanda Sandridge
  • Robert Santolla
  • Veronica van Montfrans
  • Susan Volkmar
  • Brian Wiersema
  • Melissa Williams

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