By Jeff Murphy, May 17, 2023
Sarah Craig, left, director and authorized organizational representative (AOR) for the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity, received the J.P. Mees Award for Outstanding Professional Staff, and An Quigley, who serves as senior designer and brand manager for the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications, was honored with the Outsanding Staff Award during the recent Staff Appreciation Breakfast at the University of Central Missouri.
WARRENSBURG, MO – Two individuals who have made a positive impact on the University of Central Missouri through their exemplary service and commitment were recognized on May 11 with the highest honors bestowed upon full-time exempt and non-exempt staff members. Sarah Craig, recipient of the 2023 J.P. Mees Award for Outstanding Professional Staff, and An Quigley, recipient of the Outstanding Staff Award, were honored during the annual Staff Appreciation Breakfast conducted by members of the UCM Staff Council.
Also recognized during the breakfast were recipients of Staff Council Educational Awards, Annie Golob, office professional IV for the Success Advising Center, and Alicia Todara, campus card and student service manager. These scholarship awards are made possible through donations, and are an example of the Staff Council’s commitment to lifelong learning. Golob and Todara are both pursuing academic opportunities at the university while working full time. Todara is seeking Business Continuity and Emergency Management certificates and Golob is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing.
Individuals selected for the Mees and Outstanding Staff award are chosen on the basis of nominations from campus members, which are then reviewed by the award selection committee. Each honoree received a plaque and a monetary award for their achievement.
The J.P. Mees Award is named in honor of John Paul “J.P.” Mees, a longtime and well-respected staff member at UCM, who passed away unexpectedly in 1999. He began working at the university in 1988 as Executive Assistant to the President and Professor of Education. In 1994, Mees was appointed Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, and in 1998 took on the roles of Vice President of Planning and Policy and Executive Assistant to the President. Following his passing, in 2000, Mees’ wife, Joan, chose to honor his legacy by establishing an award in his name. Joan Mees passed away in January 2019, and today her legacy of generosity is also recognized through this award. It is given annually to a staff member who is classified as exempt and who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to UCM, the community, professional activities, and service to students.
By tradition, the previous year’s recipient of the J.P. Mees Award makes the award presentation to the new honoree. Charissa Davis, assistant director of student financial assistance, recognized Craig. She cited excerpts from the nomination that was made by a faculty member who has worked with Craig extensively since 2019 to prepare and submit research proposals for grant funding to federal agencies. This is part of her role as Director and Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity at UCM.
“I deeply appreciate the amount of time and effort she has devoted to the office and to assist faculty members at UCM to succeed in external grants.Preparing and submitting a grant proposal is not an easy task, requiring not only the related expertise but also countless time,” the nominator wrote. “To meet the deadline and agency specific requirements, it is not uncommon that Sarah works after her regular office hours and even weekends to help me and other researchers on proposal technical review, budget development, final proposal assembly and submission.”
“Another thing makes Sarah outstanding is the quality of work she produces. Different from many other academic and business activities at university, the countless time devoted in research activities does not necessarily guarantee a positive outcome (just think of how low the grant success rate is), and this is particularly challenging for teaching institutions with fewer research resources and supports available,” her nominator wrote. “Therefore, Sarah utilizes her expertise to ensure every funding UCM receives to meet and exceed the requirements of funding agencies, so that UCM can gradually build up and strengthen its reputation and positive relationship with grant agencies. Examples of these quality works include many progress and final reports.”
Craig's nominator added, “With the outstanding support and quality work provided by Sarah, UCM continues to be awarded with millions of dollars in federal and state grants. Her achievements and expertise deserve being recognized by the community.”
Ed Wirthwein, president of the Staff Council, presented the Outstanding Staff Award to Quigley. This award is given annually to a non-exempt employee who has worked full time at the university for at least one year, and has demonstrated superior service to students, staff, faculty and community. They must have also modeled professionalism and a commitment to go above and beyond their normal duties and promote teamwork and collaboration.
Quigley joined the university in August 2014 serving as Senior Designer in Integrated Marketing and Communications. She became Senior Designer and Brand Manager in April 2023.
Citing excerpts of a nomination submitted by one of Quigley’s colleagues, Wirthwein stated that she is the embodiment of the university’s motto, "Education for Service." According to her nominator, she “continually prioritizes and serves the university's students, partners and visitors with an incredible level of kindness, understanding, flexibility and thoughtful stewardship of university resources. When working with student workers, she is deeply concerned with giving them real-world and valuable job experience while also ensuring that their school work and educational development comes first.”
The nomination noted that Quigley has taken IMC’s student workers to UCM art galleries and artist talks to encourage their professional development. Additionally, while serving as a designer for the university, she approaches each job with the mindset of providing campus partners the best value and service in the most cost-effective and timely manner possible. This is in order to maximize university funds and the time needed for IMC staff to create the best return for the client’s investment.
Quigley’s nominator also said she strives to make sure project designs are accessible and representative of the institution’s diverse student population, and that graphics are as readable as possible, including meeting the needs of vision-impaired individuals. She makes an effort to ensure that all projects are easily read, understood and more fiscally responsible.
“Apart from this, she is a joy to work with,” her nominator noted. They added that Quigley strives to meet IMC’s campus partners' needs while taking steps to graciously protect the institution’s brand/image. Her approach to working with individuals in this realm is focused on educating them to ensure every client understands how the style guide and marketing strategies connect with recruitment goals.
From providing snacks for students to showing her concern for their health and well-being, Quigley cares about other students and employees. She demonstrates her thoughtfulness toward others in many different ways, and will “bend over backwards to help and listen to co-workers when they are overwhelmed or going through a rough time,” her nominator wrote.
To learn more about the Staff Council and these awards, please visit its website.
Ed Wirthwein, left, president of the UCM Staff Council presented the Staff Council Educational Award to Alicia Todara, campus card and student service manager, and to Annie Golob, right, office professional IV for the Success Advising Center.