By Veronica Perry
In the midst of many challenges, USC Price staff and faculty came together to celebrate the achievements of their fellow colleagues. Each milestone-holder and award-winner exemplifies the spirit and dedication of the Price community at-large. First, the ceremony honored staff and faculty who have reached milestones at USC from 5 to 30 years of service.
Ryan Hedden – Video Producer in Video Services
Jillian Wallis – Project Administrator in the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics
Samantha Malisos – Project Administrator for Faculty and Academic Affairs
Anna Parks – Student Services Advisor for the DPPD Program
Dion Jackson – Program Director for the Center for Economic Development
Anne Johnson – Special Events Program Coordinator at the Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise
Daniel George – MIS Manager in Information Technology
Paul Danczyk – Director, Executive Education in Sacramento at the USC State Capital Center
Christine Wilson – Director of Student Services
Kattie Johnson – Assistant Dean, Faculty and Academic Affairs
Scott Mahoy – Web Developer in the Spatial Analysis Lab (SLAB)
Joyce Mann – Director of the International Education Program, IPPAM
Seta Kenady – Associate Director of Employer Relations in Career Services
Next, former dean Jack H. Knott presented awards for outstanding performances. Two decades ago, Carl and Sterling Franklin, provided a gift through the Morris Smith Foundation to create the USC Price Outstanding Annual Performance Awards. Nominated by fellow colleagues, award-winners are honored for their excellence, achievement and contributions to the school.
“All of today’s nominees have shown extraordinary commitment, leadership and professionalism in their work,” said Knott.
The Robert Biller Outstanding Faculty Award:
Dora Kingsley Vertenten, DPA – Teaching Faculty and public policy practitioner
Vertenten is a practitioner of public policy and teaching professor of public administration and political management at USC Price. Equipped with an abundance of institutional knowledge, she consistently inspired her colleagues through her ability to face and overcome challenges with strategy and grace. A former student of Robert Biller, Vertenten noted the significance of this award to her life and recalled one of his many lessons that has stayed with her over the years.
“This Is a full circle moment for me. I was a young graduate student in Bob Biller’s classroom taking program evaluation from him. [He] taught me something that remained with me throughout my life, which was if you have an analysis or recommendation that you know someone else may oppose, take it to the person you know will hate it the most because they will tell you everything that’s wrong with it. The things that they’re right about, you can fix before you make it public. The part where you think you’re wrong, you can prepare your defense and go further.”
Sterling Franklin Outstanding Staff Award:
Deirdre Flanagan, Communications Coordinator
Flanagan is known to wear many hats, including her skill for photography. For the past eight years, Flanagan has photographed daily activities at USC Price – from seminars and guest lectures to student organizations and sponsored activities, Flanagan is there to capture the moment. She is also responsible for the administrative functions of the Price communications team. “She is always there to guide and support, while keeping things fun, focused and most importantly, moving forward,” Julie Labich, Senior Director of the Office of External Affairs said. “Deirdre’s steadying presence, deep knowledge and her supportive nature has truly made her our MVP.” Along with other nominations from departments across USC Price, “the entire communication team was excited to nominate Deirdre for this award,” said Johnathan Schwartz. “I have never felt more appreciated, valued and included as a team member,” Flanagan shared. She continued on saying, “Working closely with [my team] has sharpened my desire to make things better as a team, as a school and as part of the USC family.”
Margaret Harrington Outstanding Staff Award:
Yurri Hyun, Appointment and Promotion Coordinator in Faculty Affairs
“I know Margaret personally and Yurri embodies everything that Margaret is,” said Kattie Johnson, Assistant Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs. She noted characteristics such as “hard- working, loyal, reliable, dependable, honest and [having] the utmost integrity.” Hyun’s colleagues hold her in high regard, and in her speech, she made clear that the feeling is mutual. “I have the privilege of working for a great school which has some of the best staff, the best faculty and the best students. I am extremely honored to be here with you all and grateful for this award,” Hyun said.
Knott concluded the ceremony by saying, “It’s always been clear to me that we have a strong, capable team of faculty and staff. Your work in response to this pandemic, in particular, has been absolutely exceptional. Most significantly you’ve been here for each other and for our students. I want to thank you for that. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside you.”
Congratulations to this year’s awardees who are, without a doubt, very deserving of this honor and recognition!