Awards and 
Appreciation Events

The Pillars of Excellence Award

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 on 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.

Call for 2016 Models of Excellence Nominations!


The Models of Excellence award program celebrates the extraordinary achievements of full- and part-time staff across the University’s schools and centers. Now is your chance to recognize these efforts. Nominations are being accepted now through October 29.

New this year, you have an easier, greener way to nominate the exceptional staff members you know by using this online application.

Click here to learn more about the process.

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:

  • Provides superior sustained service
  • Supports a special project or situation in a notable way
  • Delivers exemplary service to customers:
    • Displays exceptional responsiveness to key constituents/customers
    • Uses superior efficiency in responding to customers’ needs
    • Exhibits exemplary professional behavior when responding to customers’ needs/requests
  • Exhibits exceptional resourcefulness, innovation, or creativity to help customers with their problems/issues
  • Improves processes to save time or money through over-and-above service to key constituencies
  • Contributes to a positive, collaborative work environment

The Nomination Process

Nominations for the Pillars of Excellence Award are due in the fall for contributions made during the previous fiscal year (July 1- June 30).

We’re looking for non-exempt, weekly-paid staff members who meet the above standards of excellence by doing their jobs so well on a daily basis that their impact is felt keenly by those working with them or in the environment they oversee. They model outstanding services and support to their constituents every day, during special situations, and/or under unique circumstances. 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.

The Models of Excellence Nomination Guide provides all of the information you need to complete this process.

Follow these steps:

  1. Review the Nomination Guide.
  2. Complete the two components of the nomination application:
    1. Part 1:
      1. gather general nominee information
      2. write narrative
      3. submit online before October 29
    2. Part 2:
      1. request and collect requisite forms for each award type
      2. Send to before October 29
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 from the Provost, Executive Vice President, and Vice President of Human Resources areas, previous Models of Excellence award winners, and other faculty and staff members from across campus.

Once staff members are chosen for Pillars of Excellence recognition 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

Pillars of Excellence award winners receive $500.00 and a symbolic award. Extremely noteworthycontributions receive Honorable Mentions and are awarded $250.00 and a symbolic award.

The next award ceremony and reception for honorees will take place in spring 2016 in Irvine Auditorium. All members of the campus community are invited; more information will be provided as the date approaches.

Previous Honorees

2015 Pillars of Excellence Award Winner

Majeski-300px  Michelle Majeski, Business Services: for her leadership and exemplary customer service; her optimism, kindness and respect of others as the Rodin College House resident manager.  

2015 Pillars of Excellence Honorable Mentions


Penn Children's Center Teachers Team: for their professional skills, integrity, compassion and nurturing as our Penn Children's Center's Lead Teachers.

Mary Dowds, Business Services
Najah Munson, Business Services

Rosato-300px  Michael Rosato, Facilities & Real Estate Services: for playing a significant part in the day-to-day operations in the Franklin Building where safety and service is the top priority in his role as custodian.

Learn about former Models of Excellence honorees and view photo galleries of previous Models of Excellence Award ceremonies and receptions. Click here for more details.

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