2004 Staff Award for Excellence
Dixie Larson - Secretary for Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
Mary Sommers - Director of Financial Aid
Staff Award for Excellence was created in 1999 to honor outstanding contributions made by professional and support staff. It is based on consistent outstanding service to students, to the university and to education in general. The 2004 winners were honored during the UNK Faculty/Staff Convocation.
Two UNK staff members--Dixie Larson, a secretary for Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, and Mary Sommers, director of Financial Aid--received Staff Awards for Excellence. In making the award to Larson, Staff Senate President Linda Clark said: "She has provided exemplary support to her immediate supervisors and general support to the entire campus community. On two occasions since 1999, she was called on to maintain her office while the supervisor's position was vacant.
"She has been active in researching, developing and implementing new on-line procedures that have resulted in an improved employee recruitment process. She also created a search audit." Larson, who is Staff Senate secretary, has also received the Board of Regents KUDOS Award and the UNK Employee of the Month award.
In presenting the award to Sommers, Clark noted: "Under her leadership, the (Financial Aid) office has transformed its internal functions and structure, and improved both administrative efficiency and student service. She has also guided other units and programs through major financial aid challenges.
'She is described as someone with uncommon professional expertise, a can-do spirit and a clear focus on her mission. She repeatedly turns the extraordinary into ordinary routine."
In 2003, Sommers received the Bob Minturn Award from the Nebraska Financial Aid Professionals for her exemplary service to the profession, and this summer, she received the international Alpha Phi Ursa Major Award, which is presented to alumni who have achieved success in their profession.
Congratulations to both Dixie and Mary.