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Awards and Recognitions Archive

Faculty Senate Awards for Outstanding Staff Members 08-09

SMU gives out a lot of awards. Some require extravaganzas to work through them all. Some involve the serious business of giving away a lot of money. The awards given out by the Senate are modest, but they are the result of truly heart-felt appreciation. There were about 40 nominations this year, the subjects of which almost all deserve to be honored—and we hope eventually the Senate will over time be able to acknowledge each of them. Those receiving awards this year have earned the deep respect of the faculty who work with them and depend on them. That is to say, the awards are a measure not just of jobs well done, but also of the personal contributions the individuals have made to the web of interconnections that make up SMU. In most cases, the winners were so unassuming about the work they did that they were genuinely surprised to find themselves nominated, much less winning.

Roberta Cox is the Director of Public Affairs at the Perkins School of Theology. The many letters we received describe her accomplishments in such various tasks that I am not sure she even has a job description. In addition to her more public jobs, she seems to be the genie in the background that makes sure things happen smoothly. One writer says: “what is not evident in her resume is the extent to which she helps to create our community—her work carefully and positively reflects the best aspects of who we are back to ourselves. And the reflection helps us to understand and appreciate and value each others’ work and varied perspectives.”

Jeanne Milazzo has worked for many years at SMU. Currently, she is the Information Systems secretary in the Cox School of Business. She is one of those unfortunate people who, because she is excellent not only at her own job but is also competent to do almost everyone else’s, is frequently on campus long after most others have left. The number of people who comment on Jeanne’s pleasantness in the face of the requests made of her suggests they know how unreasonable those requests are. I was pleased to read the following: “Jeanne thinks like an intellectual—she is not in this business to do mechanical work. She asks us what we want the end product to be and find the best way to get there.” I wish I could say as much about all my colleagues.

Terri Lewers is the Production Assistant and Assistant to the Managing Editor of The Southwest Review, one of the most respected literary journals in the country. This means that Terri toils in the shadows at SMU, working on the 3rd floor of Fondren Library West. Nevertheless she stands at the sunny center of an elite literary world. During the ten years she has worked at the Review, she has occasionally constituted the entire staff, organizing not only the production of the journal itself, but managing communications among the far-flung authors, subscribers, advertisers, donors, and editors. One writer comments that she deals with this range of people “with total poise, confidence, and a quiet authority that” that is suited to being “the president of a multinational corporation.” And a well-paid one. She make us all look good.

Billie Stovall has worked for the SMU Library since 1983 and has been the Interlibrary Loan Librarian since 1990. There can be very few members of the faculty at SMU who have not directly benefited from Billie’s expertise. She may be the most well-known member of the staff at SMU. The almost universal comment about her work is that scholarship at SMU would be impossible without her. One writes: “She is able to find materials that do not seem to exist—and this, though they are written in a dozen obscure languages” (although one writer did acknowledge that Billie was once unable to find an obscure Japanese journal). Another writes: “If we are to become a top-tier research university, it will be because of people like Billie.” And people like Billie demonstrate the deep connection between faculty and staff in fulfilling the mission of the university.