Recognition Program

Welcome to the Division of Student Affairs Recognition Program!

The Student Affairs Recognition Program is a way to honor individuals who best exemplify the guiding principles of our Division. It's the unique combination of people and passion that helps power our University and we are pleased to recognize outstanding achievements by our Division employees. Nominees must demonstrate pride in work and display an enthusiastic/inspiring attitude toward their responsibilities and the people they serve. They show a commitment to students through service on committees, actions that support the department, Division and University values, and/or engaging in collaborative efforts across the University. Nominees should contribute toward job excellence with performance that is consistently outstanding and frequently outside the normal scope of prescribed duties and that demonstrates independent action and resourcefulness, encouraging new ideas and creativity and exhibiting leadership qualities.

The Division of Student Affairs is a complex organization providing a wide-range of staffing levels, multiple representative labor organization memberships, and various categories of staff terminology which includes, but is not limited to: support staff; professional staff; housekeeping; maintenance; exempt; non-exempt; and culinary staff. For this reason, the selection committee may elect to recognize more than one recipient in any category. Nominations can be for any Student Affairs staff member. Self nominations are permitted, however a signature of support from a direct supervisor is required.

Recognition Categories:


This recognition is presented to an individual  or group that demonstrates a commitment to utilizing assessment to inform practice, improve services, or enhance the student experience. The recognition strives to celebrate assessment in its broadest sense; recognizing all aspects and types of assessment, affirming that assessment is a learning process, and valuing the entire continuum of knowledge and experience that make up that process.

Husky School Spirit

We recognize the individual or group who best exemplifies the true "Husky" spirit of the University, Division, and Community. The individual or group's "spirit" is demonstrated through positive attitude, acts of University loyalty, teamwork, creativity, and cooperation. S/he is the "Heart of UConn" and lives the tenets of the UConn Creed, demonstrating integrity, respect and dignity of all individuals, and concern for the welfare of others. His or her life serves as a model that demonstrates what it means to take pride in the University of Connecticut.

Outstanding New Staff

This recognition is presented to a staff member with less than two years of service within the Division who has demonstrated exemplary performance promoting/addressing the Mission, Guiding Principals, and Critical Issues of the Division of Student Affairs. This individual is one who has exemplified quality work and has made a significant impact on campus life, exhibited work beyond expectations, and developed outstanding relationships with students. This staff member is one who has demonstrated outstanding leadership through a willingness to help others and developed strong working relationships through collaboration with other departments within the division.

Graduate Student

This recognition is presented to a graduate student who has gone above and beyond expectations or honors a special, unique or extraordinary effort s/he has made within an assistantship or position. He or she demonstrates strengths in areas such as instruction, advising and assisting students, research and creative activity, outreach and/or service to the University, community and/or profession. Nominees must be a graduate student in good standing with the University, employed by a department within the Division of Student Affairs or a student participating in the HESA program.


This recognition honors an individual or group of individuals whose innovative ideas, products, or services have created significant change for students, the Division of Student Affairs, or the University. We celebrate innovation in action, not only the creative idea, but also the impact that practical application of the idea has made on creativity in the use of resources, which includes people, budgets, and technology. Any individual or group of individuals who has demonstrated the ability to take initiative in developing a new or enhancing an existing product, program, or service to meet the changing needs of the students, Division, or University may be nominated.


This recognition is presented to an individual or group that demonstrates a commitment to services and/or programs that promote a spirit of pluralism and helps to build an environment of inclusivity. Diversity includes all aspects of human difference including: race; culture; ethnicity; religion; age; gender; gender identity; sexual orientation; socioeconomic status; and ability. Nominations for individuals or groups whose jobs do not routinely provide opportunities to address these issues, but who have made a significant effort to do so, are especially encouraged.


We recognizes the guiding principles of Collaboration, Communication and Community and is presented to an individual, group, department or committee in Student Affairs who best exemplifies the notion of being a "team player." These recipients work to create, support or strengthen an environment of collaboration, communication, community, encouragement and understanding across the Division. This person or group of individuals represent those who encourage the involvement of others and teamwork towards achieving common goals and objectives.

Students First

We recognize special, unique or extraordinary efforts on behalf of students that reflect the Division's motto, "Students First." These individuals or groups offer what we do best in the best possible way, while thoughtfully balancing educational needs and customer service. Nominees endeavored to make procedures, services, facilities, programs, and/or the general collegiate learning environment welcoming, efficient, and of exceptional quality in order to enhance student success. Others, especially students, may comment on the helpfulness, professionalism and assistance of these individuals or group and on their willingness to create a positive, active and inclusive learning community.

Employee of the Year

This esteemed recognition is the Division's highest honor and recognizes the employee that best exemplifies excellence in one or more of the Division of Student Affairs' Guiding Principles: Collaboration, Credibility and Confidence through Competence, Initiative, Integrity, Reliability, and Excellent Service. Nominees should be committed individuals from any area in the Division who have unselfishly gone above and beyond expectations to provide outstanding service to students, the Division of Student Affairs, and the University of Connecticut.

Weller Award

The Gerald N. Weller Award recognizes individuals in the UConn community beyond the Division of Student Affairs who serve students and support the efforts of the Division in the true spirit exemplified by Gerry Weller, Director of Dining Services at the University of Connecticut from 1981-2005.  Gerry was professional, caring, generous of spirit and embodied a sincere commitment to service and always putting students first.  He was always determined to find a way to say “Yes” to any request.

2019 Winners


UConn Recreation

Outstanding New Staff:

Kymberley Hendricks, Residential Life

Graduate Student:

Brianna Gavigan, Student Activities


Padma Srimatkandada, Student Affairs Information Technology

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CreateAT Team, Center for Students with Disabilities


Phillip Coontz, Residential Life

Husky School Spirit:

Irene Benza, Student Health and Wellness


Valerie Puffet-Michel and Michael Roberson, Student Affairs Information Technology

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Accommodations Team, Center for Students with Disabilities

Students First:

Ashlee Stone, Student Health and Wellness

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Shannon Schmeding, Residential Life

Employee of the Year:

Claudia Arias-Cirinna, Residential Life

Weller Award

Michael Kirk