This award recognizes a career of service to the University of Arizona and the community by someone who loves the UA and acts in the spirit of Billy Joe Varney.

Marilyn Taylor

Marilyn Taylor, Associate Vice President of Finance and Administration in the Office of the Provost

Marilyn is being recognized for her community outreach, her dedication to making University financial systems efficient and effective, and her longstanding loyalty to the UA–which dates back to her time as a 12-year-old working concessions at football games. Supporters wrote about Taylor's service with organizations that search for treatments and cures for leukemia, a disease her son recovered from. Other letters detailed Taylor's tireless efforts helping incoming freshmen and their parents during move-in days, and her ability to cultivate strong relationships with colleagues across campus. For someone whose work is primarily behind the scenes and often is unknown to the University community, it would be fitting for Marilyn to receive public recognition for all her work, dedication, and sacrifice to the University over the years.



Individual Awards are presented to approximately 9 members of the Classified and University Staff, regardless of their length of service, classification or pay grade. These awards are designed to recognize outstanding achievements.

Toni Alexander

Toni Alexander, Assistant Dean for Business and Finance, College of Humanities

Toni's "impeccable" work ethic, her tendency to continue working well after others in the office have gone home, and her ability to work under pressure. Other supporters spoke to Alexander's dedication to diversity and inclusion, her willingness to mentor others in the college, and her ability to solve problems. Toni's positive attitude and generosity with her time have made her a favorite among the COH staff and faculty.


Katherine Alvarado

Katherine Alvarado, Coordinator of the Willed Body Program in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Katherine's dedicated, compassionate, and rises to any challenge. She helps facilitate donations of bodies for medical education at institutions around Arizona. Alvarado's supporters said she helps donors' families work through the donation process, which is often stressful and emotional. Alvarado often works evenings, weekends and holidays, and is on call around the clock to ensure messages from donors' families are answered. Alvarado's dedication is responsible for the ongoing success of the program.


Lierin Cox

Lierin Cox, Senior Research Specialist, University Animal Care

Lierin earns an "overwhelming" number of unsolicited accolades each week from members of the UA research community. She is a skilled veterinary technician who manages research support, clinical care and investigator coordination for large animal projects. Other supporters wrote about the positive attitude Cox brings to every challenge, and her tendency to arrive to work early and leave late, and she is the go-to resource at University Animal Care for nearly any question. Her dedication is well known and recognized by our research community.


Brandie Cudney

Brandie Cudney, Administrative Manager, Eller College of Management's Department of Management and Organizations

Brandie's commitment to her position, her "always say yes" attitude, and her management style. Nominators praised Cudney's ability to think outside the box, her efficiency, and her willingness to take on more responsibilities as the department has grown. Because she has a combination of high skills and a commitment to delivering excellence, everyone thinks of her first. They know she will get the job done well.


Nancy Emptage

Nancy Emptage, Administrative Associate, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Nancy is professional, competent, reliable, enthusiastic and dedicated. Emptage has served as the backbone for several of her department's major projects, including coordinating accommodations, food, transportation, reimbursements and scholarship payments for large events. She also serves as a "walking encyclopedia" for UA policies, and volunteers to train new staff members. Her willingness to assist others and her commitment to our department is unequaled.


Lydia Kennedy

Lydia Kennedy, Director of the UA Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Lydia has proven herself to be an exceptional leader and champion of inclusive excellence in health care. Colleagues' letters of support said Kennedy often volunteers her time to provide diversity trainings to faculty groups and peer-mentoring programs, and is very active in UA volunteer-based groups such as the Commission on the Status of Women. Ms. Kennedy's initiatives toward innovation and programming that benefit underrepresented groups and the campus at large are remarkable and well beyond her role in her office.


Anita Martinez

Anita Martinez, Senior Office Specialist in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine – Phoenix

Anita helps manage the department's summer internship program, and has proven to be the spark that was missing. In that capacity, Martinez turned the internship's poster session into a special event for applicants and their parents, made applicants feel welcome, and has been proactive in promoting the program with underrepresented minority populations


Tyler Meier

Tyler Meier, Executive Director, UA Poetry Center

Tyler's leadership, creativity and passion. Meier is among the college's leaders who is trusted with representing the college on a variety of tasks and University committees, including a committee for the UA's strategic plan. Other supporters wrote about Meier's ability to make the Poetry Center operate more efficiently, and his dedication to community outreach. Thanks to Mr. Meier's tireless efforts, the Poetry Center's prestige and successes greatly contribute to the College of Humanities' reputation around the nation.


Christina Pool

Christina Pool, Associate Director of Evaluation and Comprehensive Review, Office of Admissions.

Christina  was praised for her efficiency, her mentorship of her team, and her ability to think strategically and analytically, which has helped the office achieve its goals. In letters of support, colleagues said she adapted quickly when her team took on admissions processing for Arizona Online, UA South and extended campuses, which came with added responsibilities at a time when the office was short-handed. She demonstrated to me and the entire staff that she is a positive and effective leader who is willing to take on additional responsibilities without complaining or asking for anything in return.


The team award is presented to a team primarily comprised of Classified University Staff and tasked with a specific project or function.

The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health's Academic Advising Team

The five-person team provides comprehensive advising services to about 1,400 undergraduate students each year, according to nomination materials. The team is being recognized for its ability to meet the needs of the college's diverse student population, its outreach to campus through participation on committees, and the high value the team places on diversity and accessibility. Tisch, in her nomination letter, called the group a "high functioning team that serves as a role model for other student services entities across campus and throughout the advising world."

College of Public Health's Academic Advisors:

Melanie Fleck, Grace Patterson, Maggie Ramirez, Stephanie Springer, 
Abba Versace​​​​​r

Mel and Enid Zuckerman COPH Academic Advising Team


The Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers Team

This three-person outreach unit in the Department of Mathematics aims to increase the number of skilled math teachers in Southern Arizona. The team was praised for the variety and quality of its workshop programming, its service to math teachers in Southern Arizona through community outreach, and its dedication to its mission of providing every student with a highly qualified math teacher, according to nomination and support letters. This is the result of a team effort, with a shared common vision where each team member brings their unique expertise toward that vision.

Rodrigo Gutierrez, Co-Director, Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers
Melissa Hosten, Co-Director, Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers
Michael Perkins, Program Coordinator, Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers


CRRM Teachers Team



Department Award for Excellence: Pharmacy Practice and Science

The Department Award of Excellence is presented to a single department in recognition of its outstanding departmental excellence in the management of its people and resources. 

Supporters wrote about the department's ability to recruit and retain talented and diverse faculty, the faculty's high-level interdisciplinary research, and the department's collaborative culture, which includes partnerships on certificate programs with academic units around campus. The department's high performance culture is evident in the fact that its research achievements have enabled it to be ranked as a top twenty pharmacy department.

Pharmacy Practice and Science Department Team

Back row, from left:

Jason Karnes, Sandipan Bhattacharjee, Cas Sprout, Ashley Campbell, Ivo Abraham and Juan Villanueva.

Front row, from left:

Marion Slack, Maryam Fazel, David Nix, Jeannie Lee, Brian Erstad and Jennifer Martin.

Eugene G. Sander Award for Shared Governance

The Sander Award provides recognition to UA leaders who embrace and embody the ideals of shared governance, and recognize the importance of appointed professionals and their contributions on campus. 

Supporters wrote about the department's ability to recruit and retain talented and diverse faculty, the faculty's high-level interdisciplinary research, and the department's collaborative culture, which includes partnerships on certificate programs with academic units around campus. The department's high performance culture is evident in the fact that its research achievements have enabled it to be ranked as a top twenty pharmacy department.

Brian Berrellez

Brian Berrellez, Business Analytics Manager, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Nomination letters spoke to Brian's willingness to lend his technical expertise to colleagues across campus, his strong work ethic and his dedication to quality. His supporters noted that Berrellez also serves on a variety of committees in the college and beyond, proving his high regard for shared governance and collaboration. Brian embodies the characteristics of a servant leader in all things, especially with his tireless efforts and leadership in the realm of shared governance.

Congratulations to These Dedicated Employees!