Pillars of Excellence Award

2019 Models of Excellence Program Honorees

Congratulations to this year's honorees! This year Penn's Models of Excellence Program honors 92 exceptional staff members who play key roles in Penn's successes every day.

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Models Awards. Since 1999, we have received 3,200 nominations, recognized 1,100 honorees and more than 7,500 faculty and staff members have cheered on their colleagues.

Please save the date for the 2019 Models Ceremony on April 23, 2019 in Irvine Auditorium, 4pm-5pm. Reception immediately following.

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.

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

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

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.

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 noteworthy 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 23, 2019 in Irvine Auditorium. All members of the campus community are invited; more information will be provided as the date approaches.


2018 Honorees

Kim Bowers
Kim Bowers

For serving as a major pillar in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL), the thread that holds the office together, and for her commitment to the success of OFSL, evident and apparent through her high standards of efficiency and resourcefulness, impeccable interpersonal skills, hard work and thoughtful approach.

Deidre Wood
Deidre Wood

For her dedication and reliability, efficient cleaning ideas, support and motivation of her coworkers and for her knowledge of current equipment and sustainable practices. Deidre's work ethic and positive attitude motivates those around her to work hard and meet deadlines.

2018 Honorable Mention

Team Materials Library and Shared Shelf
Materials Library & Shared Shelf Team

For their critical role in the success of three major changes to the Fisher Fine Arts Library, impacting the team directly: a physical renovation, a redefinition of roles and work, and the implementation of a new digital asset management system which upended all the core workflows. Their collaborative spirit, resourcefulness, positive attitude, efficiency, creativity, and professionalism were critical to the success of all these transitions.

Elizabeth W. Beck University Library
Constance Mood University Library
Christal Springer University Library

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