PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will honor three of its staff members with a 2004 WSU President’s Employee Excellence Award during a March 26 banquet, “Celebrating Excellence: An Evening Honoring Our Faculty and Staff,” at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.

The winners are Maxine Andrews, assistant to the dean, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences; Robert Hubner, photographer for WSU Photo Services; and Robert Force, WSU Extension, Learning Center coordinator, Jefferson County.

The three winners will receive the Employee Excellence Award at a new university event, “Celebrating Excellence: An Evening Honoring Our Faculty and Staff.” Created to honor the outstanding achievements of faculty and staff across campus, the event begins with a 6 p.m. banquet. Newly tenured and promoted faculty, award recipients and one guest each will be hosted by the university. Reserved banquet tickets for the rest of the campus community and the public will go on sale in early March.

Andrews joined CAHNRS (formerly the College of Agriculture and Home Economics) in 1962 when it was the College of Agriculture. Since then, she has served in three different positions, including secretary for the Department of Forestry and Range Management (currently Department of Natural Resource Sciences), and senior secretary for Cooperative Extension. She became assistant to the dean in 1981, and has served four deans and four interim deans. Andrews is lauded for her management skills and attention to detail. Often referred to as the “glue” that holds the college and the dean’s office together, she assists research, extension and teaching programs across the state in 39 counties, at Spokane, Vancouver and Tri-Cities, at eight research and extension centers and a number of other locations where the college has programs. Andrews also regularly interacts with students, commodity groups, industry representatives and congressional offices as well as the 530 faculty and 621 staff members in the college. It was her suggestion that initiated a lunchtime brown bag series with women throughout CAHNRS and the Administrative Support Group (now joined with Financial Support Group) to solve mutual problems and improve communication between the departments and the dean’s office. “She is the epitome of excellence in doing the job and doing it with the utmost professionalism, grace and pride,” said R. James Cook, dean of CAHNRS.

Hubner, a WSU photographer for 19 years, has been central to the creation of a positive image of WSU as a world-class university. His photography has recorded the day-to-day history of WSU, its people, research, instruction and outreach, as well the spirit of campus life and athletic events. His high-quality photographs have made WSU competitive with other regional and national institutions through his images on recruiting materials and those found on the pages of Washington State Magazine, the university’s alumni publication. Hubner’s photographs have enhanced stories in the magazine, which reach some 130,000 WSU graduates, donors, faculty and staff. His work on “The Pull of Rowing,” a feature on the women’s crew team published in the summer 2002 issue, earned him a CASE District VIII Silver Award. His creative approaches to photography produced technically difficult, gel-colored images used in the university’s undergraduate recruitment, with a majority of the quality photographs taken for the WSU Web site (www.wsu.edu). His innovative approaches have seen him hoisted 20 feet in the air to capture photographs of the Lewis Alumni Centre before its 1989 dedication and laid him flat on his back to shoot the library atrium. “He never settles for ‘okay, it will have to do’ photographs, as could be expected, even justified, for a photographer as much in demand as he is,” one nominator said.

Force, a WSU employee for seven years, is widely praised for his creative style and is said to be the dean of coordinators. He is the person who mentors new coordinators, the person sought out for advice on a variety of issues and is the “heart and soul of the group.” He has built his reputation on his prompt and courteous service to students, county government officials, legislators and university colleagues. Since he has been coordinator, a higher percentage of county residents has gone on to higher education, especially in the WSU Distance Degree Program. Countless students are said to credit Force as the person who turned their lives around. One student credits him with literally saving her life by providing access to the education she needed to become self-sufficient after years in an abusive relationship. He continues to solve the dilemma of tight community resource budgets for activities in a creative, appropriate and industrious manner, and each year comes in under budget. Force is renowned for his unique methods of sharing personal experiences with those around him and has a knack for making special occasions memorable and meaningful. At a Hollywood graduation party for eighth grade students, he posed as WSU’s own Edward R. Murrow, interviewing kids as they arrived at the banquet and treating them like stars. “Robert is the ‘real thing,’ a staff person who is always professional, very caring about the people with whom he works and serves, and he always ‘goes the extra mile,” said one nominator. “He is the embodiment of a community development champion.”

Reservations for the March 26 “Celebrating Excellence: An Evening Honoring Our Faculty and Staff” banquet are required and may be made through the WSU Conference and Professional Programs Web site at http://www.capps.wsu.edu/showcase. For those without Web access, Conferences and Professional Programs can be reached by telephone at (509) 335-3530 or (800) 942-4978.

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