Employees receive kudos at annual awards ceremony
Posted: 05/06/2010
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The University of Texas-Pan American honored its hard working and dedicated employees during the 22nd Annual Staff Employee Awards Ceremony Thursday, May 6.

Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president, participated in his first staff celebration, which recognized employees for their length of service and exemplary contributions to UTPA during the 2009 calendar year.

Pictured with UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen are the staff of the Child Development Center, who were named the winners of the Team Excellence Award at the 22nd Annual Staff Employee Awards Ceremony.

Nelsen said it was an honor for him to attend this year's event as he prepares to complete his first semester as UTPA's leader and described it as being "one heck of a ride."

"I gave many people charges that they had to do everything in the first 100 days. They got it done and you all got it done. Now is the time to really stop and pause and think about what you have accomplished," Nelsen said.

"Great things are happening here and they are going to continue to happen here because of you and because of what you do," he added.

Earning one of the highest honors of the day was Esperanza Delgado of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), who was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an employee who has set themselves apart through acts of courage, selflessness or dedication so outstanding as to clearly set that individual apart from their contemporaries. Delgado was honored for coordinating more than 217 training activities for SBDC that assisted more than 2,600 individuals in the small business community in South Texas.

The Teamwork Excellence Award was presented to the entire staff of the Child Development Center (CDC) for operating a first-class institution that provides a structured learning environment for children between the ages of 3 months to 4 years of age. This year the CDC was recognized as a nationally accredited center for their early childcare and educational programs by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs. It was one of two childcare centers recognized in the Rio Grande Valley.

For creating two new services - Virtual Computer Labs and Learning Studio - for students and faculty, Jonathan Pena and Richard Rodriguez, both of Computer Support Services in the Division of Information Technology, were honored with the Outstanding Suggestion Award. The award is given to an individual or a group of employees who contribute ideas or suggestions, which result in significant economies of efficiency of operations.

Pictured left to right are James Langabeer, vice president for Business Affairs; Esperanza Delgado, Distinguished Service Award winner; Maria Juarez-Serna, assistant executive director of Business Development; and Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president.

The Meritorious Service Awards recognized employees whose performance and dedication were beyond that normally expected. The recipients this year were Catherine Vale, Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness; Gloria Gilpatrick, College of Science and Engineering; Erica Hansen, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; George Herrera, Department of Chemistry; Jessica Martinez, Center for Online Learning, Teaching and Technology; Sharon Valdez, Department of Communication; Tomas Aguado, Human Resources; Kristina Chavez, Human Resources; Claudia P. Dole, Payroll Office; Brenda Garcia, Office of Comptroller; Alicia Espinoza, Learning Assistance Center/Advisement Center; Cristina Guerra, Office of Dean of Students; Sofia Pina, College Access Support Programs; Vanessa Valdez, Admission and New Student Services; Esther Dominguez, Project Management Office; Jonathan Pena, Computer Support Services; and Elisa Flores, Marketing and Creative Services.

Staff Senate Awards recognizing employees who were nominated by their peers for exemplary work were presented to George Herrera, Division of Academic Affairs, and Veronica Marquez, Division of University Advancement.

Recognized for length of service were 83 employees for five years, 46 employees for 10 years, and 27 employees for 15 years of service. Also honored were 22 employees who have been with the University for 20 years, four employees for 25 years, four employees for 30 years, and three employees for 35 years of service.

Ernesto Mata of Building Maintenance and Leota V. Hull of the Computer Center were honored for 40 years of service and dedication to UTPA.

For more information about the UTPA staff awards and for a listing of employees recognized visit