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Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
March 6, 2006
DeKalb — Four members of the Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) at Northern Illinois University have been chosen to receive the university's Presidential Awards for Excellence.
The recipients are Sandi Carlisle, associate director for residential facilities; Glen A. Gildemeister, director of the Regional History Center and university archivist; Bradley Hoey, producer and director in Media Services; and Derrick Smith, academic counselor in the Center for Black Studies.
They will be honored at a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in the Clara Sperling Sky Room in the Holmes Student Center. The awards ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. Each will receive a plaque and $1,500 in appreciation for their outstanding contributions to NIU.
SPS President Shey Lowman will receive the SPS Council Service Award.
Refreshments will be served, and the reception is open to all.
Employees of NIU's Physical Plant who work or supervise in the residence halls know Sandi Carlisle personally.
So do many students who live in the halls, which she has made safer.
Carlisle, associate director for residential facilities in Housing and Dining for four years, makes weekly trips to the plant. She meets with the director to discuss and plan critical maintenance issues and projects, followed by individual meetings with each of the trade foremen to talk job progress and staff concerns.
When one of the halls recently saw a $500,000 lobby and floor lounge upgrade, complete with brand new furniture in all 40 floor lounges in the complex, Carlisle collaborated extensively with the hall governments and staff to select furniture and fabric that would best suit the students' needs.
When approval came to open a new, 8,000-square-foot tutoring center in an old residence hall weight room, with only 12 months for the renovations, including clearing away equipment stacked floor to ceiling, Carlisle worked closely with ACCESS to make it happen.
“Sandi approaches the work environment from a win-win perspective,” added Michael Stang, director of residential operations. “She truly sees the benefit in developing staff skills and recognizing their contributions to the success of the team, the department and the university.”
Glen Gildemeister's history with NIU spans 34 years, but his intricate knowledge of the university's story reaches back more than a century.
The university archivist and director of the regional history center since 1977, who arrived on campus seven years earlier to earn his master's degree, is the author of “A Castle on the Hill.”
Published in 2005, the book is a three-year labor of love for Gildemeister, who wrote the pictorial history of NIU to raise money for University Libraries. Since he became treasurer of the Friends of NIU Libraries, its endowment has doubled to $150,000.
He also has augmented the archive's collections by 800 percent: NIU now keeps 600 collections occupying 7,000 feet of shelves. An adjunct professor of history since 1982, Gildemeister guided hundreds of visitors through Altgeld Hall after its renovation.
“He has done so much so quietly, unobtrusively and humbly, even as he at times explodes with contagious enthusiasm for the various ‘causes,' only a few of which were part of his job description,” said William Johnson, distinguished teaching professor in the Department of English. “Professor Gildemeister has been and continues to be involved in making this not only an historically significant institution but one that serves – actively and continually – the campus, local and regional communities.”
Brad Hoey's supervisors often urge the producer and director in Media Services to slow down.
From August until March – football through basketball – Hoey is known to work 15-hour days seven days a week. When relief is provided, or responsibilities delegated, he fills the breathing room by expanding the scope and quality of his other projects.
A familiar face to Huskies fans since 1990, he annually produces as many as 25 television shows on the teams. He packages video of Huskies highlights for awards ceremonies, fundraising events, recruiting trips and commercials broadcast during nationally televised games. He tapes press conferences, creates promotional spots for ticket sales and trains and manages crews of student workers who film practices and road games.
During football games aired on Comcast Sports Net, he serves as a sidelines reporter. During NIU contests inside the Convocation Center, he becomes the public address announcer.
When the sports calendar slows, Hoey turns his camera toward public relations elsewhere on campus and maintains his attention to mentoring students.
“He truly lives for NIU,” said Gordon Means, director of Media Services. “Having labored so successfully for so long has greatly helped to provide a ready audience and supportive professional media backing for the recent athletic successes that NIU is now proudly enjoying.”
Students who meet Derrick Smith, an academic counselor for the Center for Black Studies for the last decade, will learn the meaning of “success.”
Smith helped to create the “Success and Succeed Program,” affectionately called the “S plan,” that pairs upper-level African-American students with younger students in the same majors. Around 200 students have participated over the last six years, many going on to hold campus leadership positions before graduation.
His willingness to accompany students to meetings with professors has, in some cases, resulted in their retention. His annual summer basketball mentoring program helps financially disadvantaged DeKalb families. His involvement with African-American students in the DeKalb Public Schools works to create a healthy and empowering experience.
He counsels students who are struggling with drugs and alcohol and, if it's what they know from home, will visit their families to explain its impact on academic success.
Smith's encouragement and guidance has rescued many students either lost or on the verge of defeat. In 2005, the NIU doctoral candidate won the African Student Association's Most Supportive Faculty Member award.
“His work with the students has made them feel like someone cares for them,” said LaVerne Gyant, director of the Center for Black Studies. “He has been their advocate, counselor, father and big brother.”
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