2003 Distinguished Staff Award

The Distinguished Staff Awards, the university’s highest staff recognition, annually honors 12 staff members for their exceptional leadership, accomplishments and service to The Ohio State University.
Leslie A. Beyer-Hermsen profile picture

Leslie A. Beyer-Hermsen

Assistant Dean
Ohio State Marion


For the past 15 years, Leslie Beyer-Hermsen has been an invaluable contributor to the growth and development of Ohio State Marion. Beyer-Hermsen is a go-to kind of staff member. She was the individual who reorganized the Marion staff appreciation week activities to better meet staff needs; who coordinated the final construction, furnishing and opening of a new educational facility in Delaware County; who was able to guide the Early Childhood Education Center through its consolidation into a single location; not to mention developing annual student recognitions and an efficient means for creating a schedule of classes. She helped to form and coordinate the Cultural Optimist Club, a student organization that celebrates diversity; organized a Islamic Dinner and Dialogue Evening after Sept. 11; and helped develop the "Growing Our Own" program, which mentors minority students and provides incentives to enter teaching. "Leslie has regularly been called upon to take on difficult or problematic areas and consistently responds in ways that not only address existing problems but also serve to strengthen the campus," wrote a nominator.

Sandra L. Daly profile picture

Sandra L. Daly

Graduate Program Coordinator
Health Services Management and Policy


Colleagues in the graduate program in Health Services Management and Policy credit Sandra Daly as being instrumental in improving their program's national ranking. Daly, who joined the department in 1998, develops marketing and student recruiting initiatives and organizes and manages the annual orientation for new students. She has played an important role in assisting students who are applicants for University Fellowships, helping increase the number of department awards three to five a year to seven to nine a year. Daly is widely praised for her positive and cheerful demeanor. One nominator pointed out that the most frequently mentioned factor for the decision to matriculate on student evaluations is "Sandra Daly's personal and sensitive response to each student's questions and needs." Daly is always willing to step in where she is needed. "We hired Sandy because she exuded confidence, competence, enthusiasm and drive -- and she has repeatedly exceeded our expectations," wrote a nominator.

Ada Y. Draughon profile picture

Ada Y. Draughon

Fiscal/Budget Manager
Women's Studies


"Ada (Draughon's) title ought to be 'Administrative Person Who Knows All,' because without her, I can't imagine how the department would survive," wrote a nominator. Draughon draws praise from co-workers for her dedication to the Women's Studies department, taking advantage of every opportunity to serve the unit's needs even if the task doesn't fall within her expected job duties. Throughout the budget restructuring process, Draughon has used her expertise to help the department find ways to save money without sacrificing research, teaching and service. In addition to keeping an eye on enrollments, scheduling and the budget, Druaghon has helped in developing programming that successfully attracted minority students to the department, scheduling courses and classrooms and organizing receptions and award dinners. "Ada Draughon's skills go far beyond fiscal and budgetary expertise, as much as we appreciate her flawless management of all ten department accounts," wrote a nominator. "She is one of the most professional —and genuinely friendly people I know."

Susan F. Jablonski profile picture

Susan F. Jablonski

Associate Vice President
Ohio State University Medical Center


Sue Jablonski has the ability to be liked, a valuable skill given that her work at the Medical Center has her interacting with everyone from deans and faculty to nurses and doctors to media and community leaders. "Her enthusiastic, straightforward style endears her to even the most jaded of individuals," wrote a nominator. "What you get is a leader who is selfless, fiercely dedicated and genuine." Jablonski served as director of marketing for The Ohio State University Health System for 10 years before being selected in 2000 to lead a new department that combined all of the marketing departments in the health system and James Cancer Hospital. In her new role, Jablonski has implemented an aggressive marketing strategy that has earned her local and national praise and is credited with helping to raise the Medical Center's national reputation. "Sue consistently cuts through the clutter and delivers solutions," wrote a nominator. "I know of no one more committed to Ohio State than Sue and no one who works harder than she does."

Kenneth P. Kaiser profile picture

Kenneth P. Kaiser

Assistant Director 2
Recreational and Intramural Sports


"No one has taken more pride in Larkins Hall than Ken Kaiser. Having the responsibility for a 350,000 foot facility with thousands of people coming through the doors each day is a huge undertaking that few can comprehend," wrote a nominator. Kaiser has been a teacher and mentor to countless students who have worked for and with him during his 25 years at the university. He helps out as an event manager and liaison, often as a volunteer, for university events such as Welcome Week and Commencement and for community events such as the Special Olympics or the National Kidney Foundation's Transplant Games. Kaiser also takes on additional tasks, such as serving as a scorekeeper for men's football and basketball games, a tournament manager for OHSAA girls and boys state tennis tournaments and as an administrator for the OSHAA State Track Meet. "As a visionary, Ken is able to see the entire picture and envision an exciting future, plus find a way to make it happen," wrote a nominator.

James A. Knapp profile picture

James A. Knapp

Instructional Aids Associate


Jim Knapp has made himself indispensable to the Department of Theatre. It's not just his personality (his affable nature, calm demeanor and sense of humor); his organizational abilities (he oversees and maintains the department's complicated production calendar); and his work ethic (he can always be counted on); but also his affinity for any task involving a computer. "Simply put, we could not get along technologically without Jim," wrote a nominator. One of his crowning achievements is developing a computer program, DRAMA (Dramatic Resource Accounting Management Application), that is capable of supporting the department's tracking of ticket sales, production expenditures, procurement card purchases, season ticket subscribers and alumni mailing lists. Whether teaching courses on stagecraft, keeping computers up and running or mentoring students on the fine points of technical direction, Knapp earns high praise. "There isn't much that goes on around here that Jim has not at least has some involvement in and as a result, our department is a better place," wrote a nominator.

Judith A. Monson profile picture

Judith A. Monson

Assistant Director for Academic Studies


For 23 years, Judie Monson has worked tirelessly on behalf of students in the Department of Mathematics. "Judie Monson's primary goal at work is to help students," wrote a nominator. "She achieves this goal through many avenues, either directly through conversations with students or indirectly by advising instructors on teaching practices and suggesting improvements in the design of math courses." Monson is credited with creating or nurturing a number of projects that have benefited the department. She initiated contact with the football coaching staff, to form a partnership to improve players' grades; she had the idea of sending letters to high school students who do exceptionally well on Advanced Placement exams; she organizes the annual Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony; and she helps train math majors who will work as recitation instructors. "Perhaps her greatest contributions have been in building an outstanding mathematics counseling program and being a consistently exceptional counselor who, with expert knowledge and compassion, treats each student as an individual and has helped thousands reach their goals," wrote a nominator.

Kathy E. Newman-Gall profile picture

Kathy E. Newman-Gall

Associate Registrar
University Registrar


As a leader, Kathy Newman-Gall is highly regarded by her employees in the Registrar's Office. "She has created a positive, trusting work environment where her employees are empowered to complete their assignments in their own way, as long as quality and productivity are not compromised," wrote a nominator. Newman-Gall is responsible for the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), Transfer Credit, Commencement and Athletic Eligibility. Newman-Gall is credited with greatly improving Ohio State's method of conducting degree audits, creating a streamlined process that benefits students and advisers; she helped bring in several innovations to procedures for determining transfer credit; and she was very involved in developing and implementing the Course Applicability System in conjunction with the Ohio Board of Regents. Nominators nearly ran out of adjectives praising her qualities. As one wrote: "Her unique combination of intelligence, tenacity, organization, flexibility, sensitivity, technical savvy, humor and common sense all contribute to the fact that she is a very important asset to this university."

Randy R. Nemitz profile picture

Randy R. Nemitz

Television Producer and Site Coordinator for Section of Communications and Technology
Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC)


Since he arrived at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center nearly 20 years ago, Randy Nemitz has played a pivotal role in using technology to improve education. "He was instrumental in creating an interactive system for classes conducted concurrently at Columbus and the Wooster campus," wrote a nominator. "Through efforts involving grants, gifts and other externally funded projects, he has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for television support." Nemitz produced the first 16-week distance education credit course for Ohio State; has produced more than 30 national teleconferences; established an internship program with Wooster-area universities; and helped plan and design the communications system for the campus' new conference center. All that, and he's a nice guy who happens to be very good at making videos. As one nominator wrote, "He has a unique ability to bring together a very diverse group of people ranging from customers, to talent, to his video team, and molding them to produce a superior video product as an end point."

Cheryl W. Ryan profile picture

Cheryl W. Ryan

Assistant Professor
Director of International Programs
Fisher College of Business


The Fisher College of Business thinks more globally now than it did in 1995, thanks to the arrival of Cheryl Ryan. "Most in the college now view international activities as an important part of the college's overall educational mission," wrote a nominator. "Cheryl's work has been an important reason that this shift has occurred." An often cited accomplishment is Ryan's role in helping the college obtain and keep CIBER grants from the U.S. Department of Education, helping to position Fisher College as one of the top business schools. She is an active proponent for studying abroad and helps to administer many of the details needed for students to take advantage of courses abroad and for international students to study at Ohio State. Under her watch, MBA students have increasingly decided to go abroad, with the college now working with 18 international partners. Ryan also manages a series of guest speakers and conferences that focus attention on international business, offers staff support to courses with international components; and interacts regularly with state and local officials and members of the business community.

Sandra J. Wood profile picture

Sandra J. Wood

Office Administrative Assistant
Political Science


The Department of Political Science relies on Sandra Wood, and has done so since she began her career in the department 30 years ago. "In an age of specialists, she is the consummate generalist, having performed every job in the department except that of graduate program secretary," wrote a nominator. "Every time she is away from the office, on vacation or rare sick leave, we realize how irreplaceable she has become." As manager of the department's front office, Wood serves 1,200 undergrads, 100 grad students, 35 faculty and seven other staff. As administrative assistant to the chair, she efficiently handles a myriad of tasks -- everything from overseeing travel for all departmental faculty, processing hundreds of applications for faculty candidates and organizing multiple award competitions. Her sunny personality is infectious and nominators praised her ability to make them all feel good, no matter how stressed they may be feeling. "Sandy is a warm people-person, and she is at her best helping people," wrote a nominator.

Willie J. Young profile picture

Willie J. Young

Director of Off Campus Student Services
Student Affairs


Willie Young is the kind of individual who inspires high praise. "He is honest, dedicated, generous, open-minded, charismatic and an extremely intelligent gentleman. It has been an honor to work with such a person," wrote a nominator. As director of off campus student services, Young stands out for his incredible devotion to his job and to the students impacted by the services his office offers. "He can be found most Friday and Saturday nights driving the streets of the University District, keeping a watchful eye out for parties and unsafe conditions," wrote a nominator. He has developed productive partnerships, earning the personal respect of student, administrative and community leaders and of property owners in the University District. Under Young's leadership, the office has expanded to not only off-campus housing service, but commuter student services and community relations. "Willie goes well beyond the required duties of his job to help students and university personnel who are in need of a helping hand," wrote a nominator.

Nominations                    Previous Winners