Models of Excellence Award

2020 Models of Excellence Program Honorees

Congratulations to this year's honorees! This year Penn's Models of Excellence Program honors 110 exceptional staff members who play key roles in Penn's successes every day. Please save the date for the 2020 Models Ceremony on April 28, 2020 in Irvine Auditorium, 4pm-5pm. Reception immediately following.

The Models of Excellence program recognizes notable staff member accomplishments at Penn that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service.


Standards of Excellence

These Standards of Excellence are used by the nominators and the Selection Committee to identify individual staff members or teams as Models of Excellence for their notable contributions to the mission of the University that go above and beyond performance and job expectations.

Supportive practices, procedures, and policies

  • Brings about significant positive change for the University’s mission.
  • Eliminates significant obstacles to achieving the University’s mission.
  • Resolves, in unique and/or novel ways, problems that impede progress.

Innovative and proactive leadership

  • Uses highly effective and/or novel practices to inspire and lead others to contribute constructively to the University’s mission.
  • Proactively identifies and resolves challenges that interfere with team/unit/school/center activities to further the University’s mission.
  • Encourages a coordinated effort by a complex group and facilitates the group’s ability to meet complicated goals.

Extraordinary service to key constituencies

  • Supports internal and/or external constituencies in ways that exceed expectations and result in unexpected and very positive outcomes that support the University’s mission.

Substantial cost-effectiveness

  • Identifies improvements to University practices, policies, and/or program designs that result in substantial cost savings or financial gain to the University while enhancing the organization’s ability to support the University’s mission.

Exemplary relationship building within and/or outside of the immediate organization

  • Develops and uses strong, constructive, and productive relationships that enable otherwise impossible goals to be met in support of the University’s mission


The Nomination Process

The call for nominations is open September through October each year.

We seek nominations of significant achievements—above and beyond job and performance expectations—to model excellence for the campus. Please consider nominating a deserving staff member or team; we welcome nominations from any level of the organization, including self-nominations.

The nomination process is detailed, and all its components must be completed before the nomination can be accepted.   Each year, the Quick Start Guide to Completing a Nomination provides all of the information you need to complete this process which includes the following steps:

1. Reviewing the eligibility criteria.
2. Complete the Nomination Form which includes two reference letters and supervisor verification of eligibility.
3. Submitting the completed nomination through the online form before the published deadline.

Questions? Call 215-898-1012 or contact us by email.


Selection and Notification

An annually rotating Models of Excellence Selection Committee reviews all nominations and selects the award winners. The committee is representative of the diversity of our institution, composed of Penn leaders (including the Provost, Executive Vice President, and Vice President of Human Resources), previous Models of Excellence award winners, and other faculty and staff members from across campus.

Once staff members are chosen for Models of Excellence recognition or accorded an Honorable Mention are notified in January, and the information is publicized broadly to the Penn community. Honorees are acknowledged at the spring Models of Excellence Award Ceremony.


Awards, Ceremony, and Reception

Models of Excellence winners receive $500.00 and a symbolic award. Extremely noteworthy staff member contributions receive Honorable Mentions and are awarded $250.00 and a symbolic award.

The next award ceremony and reception for honorees will take place on April 28, 2020. All members of the Penn community are invited. More information will be provided as the date approaches.

2019 Models of Excellence


Admissions Branding Revitalization Team

For conducting a complete overhaul of the Penn Admissions brand to better serve our student, parent, and counselor audiences. The re-branding effort was reflected across all admissions materials, communications channels, and the website. 

Team Member School or Center
Michael Guyer Provost's Center
Scott Kuchinski Provost's Center
Jenny Lackey Provost's Center
Justin Mazur Provost's Center
Louis Metzger Provost's Center


Christine Clay
Coordinator of the Neuroscience Graduate Group
Perelman School of Medicine

For innovations and efficiencies that have had meaningful impact on the Neuroscience Graduate Group's admissions and recruiting efforts. Some of her responsibilities include student advising, course registrations, curriculum development, data analysis and office management. 


Penn Marketplace Enhancements Team

For using organizational efficiency, collaboration, and proactive leadership to implement a web-based supplier management solution that has transformed the procure-to-pay process for Penn's end users and suppliers.

Team Member School or Center
Sandra Ardis Business Services
Kalyani Balasubramanian Information Systems and Computing
Sarah Boyer Division of Finance
Chris Bristow School of Engineering and Applied Science
Brain Caputo Business Services
LaTanya Carter Business Services
Barbara DiLossi Division of Finance
Janet Dwyer Office of the President
Faina Goldman Information Systems and Computing
Carol B. Henderson Student Services
Vira Homick Business Services
David Ishmael Division of Finance
Jeanine Kleba Information Systems and Computing
Bill Lockard Wharton School
Mark Mills Business Services
Ravi Musuku Information Systems and Computing
Jason J. Nestor Perelman School of Medicine
Grier Nori Business Services
Renee Nowaczyk Division of Finance
Kristy Owen Division of Finance
Michael Popko Division of Finance
Elyse Saladoff School of Arts and Sciences
Debbie Schmidt Business Services
Ian Semmler Law School
Michael Tollok Business Services
Paul Weidner Division of Finance

Honorable Mentions


Houston Market Renovation Team

For providing a more convenient, welcoming, and enjoyable dining experience for faculty, staff, students, and others who visit Houston Hall, the nation's first student union.

Team Member School or Center
Douglas Berger Business Services
Mariette Buchman Facilities and Real Estate Services
Heather Coyne Facilities and Real Estate Services
Michael Dausch Facilities and Real Estate Services
Ke Feng Facilities and Real Estate Services
William Gingrow Business Services
Laurie A. Hall VPUL Facilities and Events Management
Thomas Hauber VPUL Facilities and Events Management
Monique Jerman Facilities and Real Estate Services
Mark Kocent Facilities and Real Estate Services
Pamela Lampitt Business Services
Thomas MacDonald Business Services


Varvara Kountouzi
Head, Digital Media and Virtual Services
Biomedical Library, University Library

For creating a free 3D printing service that encourages innovation in teaching, learning, research, and clinical care for the entire Penn community.


The New Wharton Undergraduate Experience Team

For implementing an extensive series of initiatives that have transformed Wharton's undergraduate experience while reinforcing Penn's vision of Inclusion, Innovation, and Impact.


Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics Project Team

For planning, designing, constructing, and operating a first-of-its kind building to provide a new home for Penn's world-class Economics and Political Science Departments; and for creating the largest construction of shared central pool classrooms.


Stewardship Communications Team

For creating consistent, customized, and informed leadership communications that allow the University to maintain superior donor relations, and meet its fundraising and engagement goals.

Questions? Call 215-898-7729 or contact us by email.