PULLMAN, Wash. — The 2000 Washington State University Employee Excellence Awards winners have been named.

Selected by WSU President Samuel Smith upon recommendation of a president’s committee are Thelma Willett of Pullman, fiscal specialist I, civil and environmental engineering; Richard A. Rupp of Colton, agricultural research technologist III, crop and soil sciences; Larry Gilbert of Spokane, media engineer B, Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education/WSU College of Nursing; and Dana Lohrey of Lewiston, academic coordinator, college of pharmacy.

This is the 11th year of the program, which honors employees’ work, including creative and innovative problem-solving, efficiency and productivity, and their contributions to an improved work environment.

“I am impressed by the dedication and commitment of each of these four individuals,” said Smith. “Their efforts are reflected by the work of WSU employees in every county of our state.”

A public awards reception will be held from 11 a.m.-noon on March 28 in the Lewis Alumni Centre. It comes 110 years later to the day in 1890 when WSU was founded. At the reception, each winner will be presented with an individual plaque award and a $1,000 award, provided by the WSU Foundation. Later, Smith will hold a private luncheon in the Compton Union Building for the award winners, their supervisors and others.

Willett has been with WSU since 1986. She works with 25 faculty members and $2 million in annual expenditures for sponsored research programs. According to nominators, “her customer comes first.” They add that she will “move heaven and earth to get the job done quickly, accurately and cheerfully, without burdening others.” Willett is complimented for her innovation, initiative, productivity and dedication. Her past honors include being chosen a Palouse Empire Chapter of Professional Secretaries International “Secretary of the Year.”

Rupp, at WSU since 1980 as a student and employed since 1991, is praised by nominators for “flawless” work quality and high productivity. He managed the global information systems and “patiently helps everyone with their computing problems.” He has led and “innovated in the adoption, acquisition, promotion and development of technology to do research and communicate with the public,” they say. Furthermore, Rupp is praised for his “keen mind,” and for being motivated and compassionate. He is a former Staff Senate president and is a past winner of a college of agriculture and home economics staff excellence award.

Gilbert, at WSU since 1980, is credited by nominators for “exceptional knowledge, ability, high work ethics and willingness to accept challenge.” They say he is the “one person whom faculty, staff and students repeatedly say is worth his weight in gold.” Using a “quiet, competent manner,” Gilbert is resourceful and creative in engineering, multimedia, electronics, data networking and computing for ICNE/WSU College of Nursing in Spokane and its Yakima program. He has been honored by the ICNE with a staff award in recognition of his service work, including as a volunteer in the Spokane community.

Lohrey, who started at WSU in 1978, is called a “superstar as a person and as an employee” by nominators. He is called the pharmacy students’ primary link to the college and their strongest advocate. “Dana is there for their application process, the interview process and throughout their college career,” they say. Each year at graduation, Lohrey receives a standing ovation by students, faculty and staff to honor his work. Pharmacy students have established a scholarship endowment in his name.

Names of all President’s Employee Excellence Award winners are displayed on a plaque in a showcase on the third floor of WSU’s French Administration Building in Pullman. Classified staff and administrative/professional employees at WSU locations across the state were nominated. Ken Spitzer, the college of sciences’ assistant dean, chairs the president’s committee.