This Year’s Lone Pine Excellence Awards Recognize Staff

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A virtual ceremony honored both 2020 winners and 2019 winners.

Graphic of zoom meeting with employees
Illustration by LaDarius Dennison

Watch the virtual Lone Pine Excellence Award Ceremony video. This video also recognizes last year’s 2019 award recipients.

Each year, Dartmouth asks staff members from across campus to nominate peers who stand out as exemplars of dedication to the College community. The Lone Pine Excellence Awards, launched in 2018, recognize excellence in six categories: collaboration, innovation, leadership, passion, and commitment; unsung hero; and, new for 2020, diversity and inclusion.

The program also serves as home to the Sheila Culbert Distinguished Employee Award, which was established in 2008 by former President James Wright and his wife, Susan Wright, to honor a Dartmouth staff member who has made a difference to Dartmouth and to colleagues; demonstrates a commitment to the highest work ethic and work performance; is selfless and unwavering in dedication to the institution, and is relentless in the pursuit of excellence.

 “When we established these awards in 2018 to recognize the extraordinary work of Dartmouth staff, we couldn’t have imagined how heroically you’d rise to the challenge of these past two years. One, of course, featured a yearlong celebration of our 250th anniversary that involved so many on campus. And the other brought with it a global pandemic, the magnitude of which none of us have experienced in our lifetimes,” said President Philip J. Hanlon ’77, addressing the 2020 award winners and also the 2019 award winners, who, like the 2020 winners, were not able to have an in-person event last spring.

This year’s Culbert award winner is Terry Impey, an operations manager in the Real Estate Office, where he oversees crew members and works to renovate properties and identify areas that could be updated or repaired.

In overseeing crew members, renovating properties and other areas of his work, Impey is known for “proactively taking the initiative to care for Dartmouth’s assets,” says Residential Property Manager Jennifer Benbow. 

“Terry is the kindest and most patient person I know,” she says. “There aren’t many people that demonstrate what I would think Dartmouth stands for more than Terry, as he is hard working, diligent, attentive to detail, welcoming, smart, loyal, and inventive. Terry takes the time to carefully select vendors that are trustworthy, cost effective, and who do a good job at the task at hand. He reviews bids cautiously and considers past engagements and makes sure to pick responsible and efficient products and resources. Terry uses his time well and is never found slacking off. He is an incredibly hard worker and does everything without being asked.”


The Lone Pine awardees:

The Collaboration Award

Erica Lobel, program manager, the DALI Lab

“Erica is not only an example of working with others; she wrote the DALI definition/vision for collaboration,” says Tim Tregubov, lab supervisor. “She pushes the DALI staff, partners, and students to go outside of their comfort zones—from ropes courses to structured conversations—and work together in more dynamic ways. She helps us understand the value of diverse opinions. She promotes an environment and culture of respect and stepping up to do the hard work when it is needed. And she does this day in and day out with a contagiously cheerful attitude.”

The Diversity and Inclusion Award

Brandea Turner, assistant director of strategic initiatives, the Hopkins Center for the Arts

“Brandea is the pinnacle of integrity, a truly great listener, and is committed to efforts of diversity and inclusion that have actual benefits to our organization, rather than merely the appearance of them,” says Johanna Evans, film programming and operations manager. “Black Lives Matters activists across the country have urged us all to seize this moment of awakening to make changes and be a better anti-racist organization. Brandea is also an amazing advocate for students—particularly when it comes to providing professional development and decision-making opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds who may not have access to social networks available to legacy students or fraternity or sorority members.”

The Innovation Award

Computing Services Team, Thayer School of Engineering

The winning Thayer team includes Mark Franklin, director of Computing Services; Jared Benedict, associate director of Innovation & Educational Technology; Ben Servoz, senior systems engineer; Richard Crowley, systems administrator; Matt Dailey, senior systems engineer; Zack Bennis, user support manager; Daniel Safford, user support analyst; Jane Reynolds, user support analyst; and David Townsend, user support analyst.

“The team has been recognized for years for always going above and beyond, but this year, the stakes were significantly higher,” says Alexis Abramson, dean of Thayer School. “Within the two weeks prior to spring term, this team worked non-stop to help us all figure out how best to pivot to remote learning. The Thayer Computing Services team became a valuable resource for all of Dartmouth, and they selflessly and tirelessly helped others navigate the complexities of potential technology solutions. Even more over the past three terms, they have met with each faculty member individually—most of them multiple times—to consult on options for teaching remotely and to help them arrive at the best solution in consideration of the needs of the course and the preferences of the faculty member.”

The Leadership Award

John Tansey, executive director, the Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education

“John provides leadership and demonstrates high standards of excellence on many fronts,” says Carlos Cortez Minchillo, an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. “Colleges and universities across the country have seen a boom in study abroad options for students and a professionalization of all aspects of such programs. John is largely responsible for shepherding our programs through those transitions, keeping Dartmouth in the forefront of the field of study abroad administration. He effectively and efficiently manages the day-to-day operation of a vast network of campus and on-site collaborators, from handling student applications to arranging banking and student housing for all our program sites. He gives serious consideration to every expressed question or worry—however seemingly trivial—coming from students, faculty, and parents.”

The Passion and Commitment Award

Ann Lavanway, research support specialist, Department of Biological Sciences

“Ann has been an outstanding employee in the Department of Biological Sciences for close to 30 years,” says Thomas Jack, department chair and professor of biological sciences. “But in this pandemic year, she has gone above and beyond what can reasonably be expected. For example, in the early days of the pandemic, Ann made sure everyone had access to their labs so a skeleton crew could keep the experimental organisms alive. ”Also, she kept a close eye on the building in March, April, and May when few people were around. When it came time to reopen the labs, she was instrumental in bringing forward ideas for how it could be done in a way that was safe but allowed the researchers to do their work. Many of her ideas ended up being adopted by the Covid Task Force.“

The Unsung Hero Award

Deirdre O’Donnell, director, Career Services and Advising, the Tuck School of Business

”Deirdre deserves the Unsung Hero award because she goes above and beyond for students to help them with their career search,“ says Nicole Mody, assistant director, data and analytics and career services. ”I run a dashboard of advising appointments that our coaches have with students, and Deirdre regularly has the most student meetings. She messaged me recently that she had beaten her own record and had 25 student meetings in one day, which is a tremendous amount of work. I also review all the jobs that students report receiving, and Deirdre gets specifically named as being a key reason a student was able to get a certain job. For example, one student wrote ‘Deirdre O’Donnell is the primary reason I was able to receive and ultimately convert this opportunity.’"

Each individual award recipient will receive a $500 award and the Thayer Computing Services Team members will each receive a $100 award. All recipients will also receive an engraved Simon Pearce bowl.

Charlotte Albright