PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will honor three of its staff members with a 2003 WSU President’s Employee Excellence Award during a reception and awards presentation at 11 a.m., April 30, in the Compton Union Building, Room 123.

The winners are Dwayne S. Dehlbom, program assistant in the Department of History; Michele C. Hitzroth, fiscal specialist in the Business Office at WSU Tri-Cities; and Ronald L. Nugen, engineering technician lead in the Institute of Biological Chemistry.

A WSU employee since just 2001, Dehlbom took ownership of his position and earned the respect and admiration of colleagues. “The go-to guy,” as he’s referred to, inherited a tumultuous advising system when he first arrived in the history department and has since turned it into a model of efficiency and good order, one nominator said. He brings attention to potential problems and a well-thought-out solution with it. Dehlbom also contributes to the community in which he lives as a coach of Little League baseball and serves on the board of directors for the American Legion.

Hitzroth has been a staff member at WSU Tri-Cities for more than 20 years. She currently coordinates travel and property inventory for the campus and, according to one nominator, is able to accomplish miracles in coordinating unique and/or last-minute travel requests that are beneficial to both the traveler and university. Hitzroth has also volunteered to coordinate the Combined Fund Drive and highway litter cleanup for a number of years. She is often asked to sit on campus-wide committees because of her “can do” attitude and constant desire for improvement. “She quietly and consistently provides service to the campus and community without any desire for recognition,” one nominator said.

Nugen has been a WSU employee since 1987 and has worked for the Institute of Biological Chemistry for the last eight years, starting as an engineering technician. His nominators describe him as a jack-of-all trades, but, “unlike the cliché, he is in fact the master of many of these,” one said. Nugen fixes essentially every piece of equipment housed in the institute – regardless of age or condition – from the simplest hot plate to the most complex computer-driven systems. “The IBC has about 150 employees, and all of them call Ron for help,” one nominator said. He also has designed and built specialized machines for measurement of photosynthesis and modified growth chambers for the institute’s special needs. “We are living in a time when it is hard to find someone who takes real pride in his work and who sees doing the job right as a personal reward. Ron is such a person,” one supporter said.

The employee awards program began in 1989. A committee reviews nomination material and checks references before it recommends the nominees to the president.