UTPA staff honored at annual awards ceremony
Posted: 05/24/2004
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The University of Texas-Pan American staff employees were honored during the 16th annual Staff Employee Awards May 21.

Employees were recognized for length of service and meritorious contributions. Also honored were employees who retired during 2003.

"The main function of a university is the teaching and learning function. We are the one's that facilitate this teaching and learning," UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez said.

UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevarez, far right, greets staff employees to the 16th Staff Employee Awards Ceremony May 21. Also pictured from left to right is Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs; Dr. John Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services; and James R. Langabeer, vice president for Businees Affairs.
"This is not just a job, but a service. We recognize that your labor is important, significant and very special."

Sixty-one employees were recognized for five years of service to the University; 29 employees for 10 years of service; and 15 employees for 15 years of service.

Also recognized were 13 employees who have been with the University for 20 years; seven for 25 years; four for 30 years; and one for 35 years. Each received a certificate, pin and a UTPA memento.

The UTPA Staff Senate also presented awards to nine employees who were nominated by their peers and whose performance was exemplary.

John H. Patton, UTPA assistant director for Physical Plant, received the Outstanding Suggestion Award.

"John's idea of building a thermal energy service system and changing energy providers has saved the University $1.1 million for the last 12 months," said James R. Langabeer, vice president for Business Affairs.

Linda Helgeson, third from the left, UTPA Human Resources, received the President's Excellence Award. Also pictured is James R. Langabeer, vice president of Business Affairs; UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevarez; Frank Wagner Jr., director of Human Resources.

The Meritorious Service Award was given to individuals whose performance and/or dedication is beyond that normally expected. This year the recipients were: Maria I. Infante, Computer Center; Rita G. Reyna, Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services; Edna Zambrano, Student Businees Services; Carol H. Kory, Library; Maria I. Tijerina; Office of the Vice President/provost for Academic Affairs; Maria G. Gilpatrick, College of Science and Engineering; Leticia Y. Benavides; Bookstore; Wilson Ballard, Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs; Elia E. Lopez, Office of Comptroller; and Lydia Aleman, Office of the Vice President for External Affairs.

The Distinguished Service Award was given to two employees this year, John F. Heiden, Rehabilitation Services; and Joe J. Loya, University Police Department. They were both honored for their acts of courage, selflessness and dedication so outstanding as to clearly set them apart from others.

UTPA Vice President James R. Langabeer, right, presents Dr. Miguel A. Nevarez, UTPA president, with a very special retirement gift during the staff awards ceremony.
The President's Excellence Award, which is given to an employee who through individual sustained positive efforts brings local, regional or national recognition to the University, was given to Linda M. Helgeson, UTPA Human Resources. While fighting a deadly illness, Helgeson remained hard at work assisting all UTPA employees who were seeking information from the Human Resources office.

During the ceremony, Nevárez was also honored for his 23 years as president. He received a framed UTPA Bronc Jersey and a retirement gift including a wheel barrel and tools to use at his ranch in Mexico and a hug from Bucky the Bronc.

For a complete listing of all UTPA staff employees who were recognized, log on to