Pillars of Excellence Award

2024 Call for Nominations

The call for nominations is open now through October 27.

Does one of your coworkers show special initiative or demonstrate outstanding support? Have you noticed that a staff member excels at fostering workplace inclusion and collaboration? It's time to recognize them through Models of Excellence, Penn's campus-wide staff awards program.

The nomination starts with you.

Introduced in 2014, the Pillars of Excellence Award recognizes the strong foundation and important support our weekly-paid staff members provide to promote Penn’s success. These staff members are pillars of the institution.

Our pillars are responsible for overseeing activities that keep our environment safe and operational for Penn’s faculty, staff, and students. They provide administrative support to organizations and individuals in executing day-to-day activities. They also provide important infrastructure services, such as: maintaining facilities and outdoor spaces; overseeing our mail, our parking areas, and our safety; and providing housekeeping and dining services. These staff members support key internal and external constituencies every day. They create the foundation that helps keep the University operating successfully and smoothly, meeting the goals of the University’s mission and contributing to Penn’s prestige.

Standards of Excellence

These behaviors reflect the University’s standards for a Pillar of Excellence and are used by the Selection Committee to identify individuals who qualify for this award:

  • Demonstrate continuous excellence in their role or make a valuable one-time contribution to the mission of their department or the University
  • Provide exemplary customer service
  • Exhibit exceptional resourcefulness, innovation, or creativity to overcome challenges
  • Improve processes to save time or money
  • Contribute to a positive and collaborative work environment

2023 Pillars of Excellence

Samantha Fromm, School of Veterinary Medicine

Samantha Fromm, Supervisor and Technician in the Veterinary Clinical Laboratory, is the lead technician extraordinaire who can troubleshoot and handle all doctor, student, and technician questions with alacrity. She cheers up a room with her playful quips and bright personality. Her work ethic and joy are infectious. Her colleagues seek to emulate her dedication to ensuring quality results, excellence in patient care, problem-solving abilities, tenacity, scrupulous work ethic, and outstanding character.

Rebecca Tamayo, Student Services

Rebecca Tamayo, Administrative Coordinator for the Graduate and Professional School Advising Team at Career Services, sets the standard for excellence in a student-facing role through her responsiveness, resourcefulness, unflagging kindness, and professionalism. With exceptional efficiency and attention to detail, she manages letters of recommendation for medical and dental school applicants, provides prompt, friendly, and clear communication, and proactively makes improvements to address issues.

Honorable Mention

Lauren Swain, Student Services

Lauren Swain, Operations Support Coordinator at the Weingarten Center, plays a central role in the delivery of academic support and disability services. She supported a rebranding process, the adoption of an online scheduling and data management platform, a move to a new campus location, the onboarding of new staff members, and DEI discussions that resulted in team standards. Lauren was also the point person facilitating the successful transition of the Weingarten Center Annual Disability Symposium to a virtual platform.

Shennell Tyndell, Residential and Hospitality Services

Shennell Tyndell, Customer Service Assistant Residential Operations, possesses an enthusiasm and focus that allow her to create constructive solutions. She streamlined move-in processes and communication between conference managers and trades staff, guaranteeing summer maintenance in her fully occupied residential community without delay. Her empathy and dedication to producing positive outcomes through selflessness are inspirational.

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