Established in 2018, this award recognizes a member of the support staff who embodies exceptional leadership by building community, nurturing a culture of care and support, exhibiting strong stewardship of institutional resources (time, talent, financial, etc.), and developing a shared vision of institutional excellence that allows everyone to feel they have a purpose in the organization. Their strength as a leader can be demonstrated through participation on committees, as part of project teams, or through peer training and mentorship. The outstanding leader should be someone who consistently seeks to improve operations while focusing on the experience of students, staff, faculty, and College friends. Demonstrating emotional intelligence, integrity, resilience, and flexibility, the award winner actively works to provide an environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion by fostering a sense of belonging for all members of the CAL and MSU communities. Nominees do not need to be in a supervisory position.

The award recipient will receive a $750 award and be recognized with a citation and an award plaque.


The nominee must be a CAL support staff member . 

Eligibility is limited to every five years. 

Nominations and letters of support are encouraged from students, staff, and faculty from across campus who have direct knowledge and experience interacting with the nominee.


  • Actively listens and directs people to resources.
  • Embodies a passion for ongoing high-quality performance improvement.
  • Demonstrates a compassion for the betterment of others.
  • Understands and manages work assignments from a holistic point of view and helps others recognize how their contributions are part of a larger whole.
  • Seeks to continuously improve CAL operations, as well as student and faculty experiences.
  • Handles difficult situations and assignments with a high level of emotional intelligence and integrity.
  • Personifies resilience, flexibility, and dependability.
  • Builds and maintains a sense of community with colleagues within and across units by bringing people together for a common purpose.
  • Promotes equity by welcoming and valuing a diversity of opinions in discussions, demonstrating acceptance of others, speaking up against marginalization and disrespect, and considering accessibility, diversity.
  • Provides others with a vision of institutional excellence that allows everyone to feel they have a purpose in the organization.


Complete the NOMINATION FORM. Along with the nomination form, please upload the nomination letter and up to 3 letters of support – 2 pages or less. Group letters are welcomed. For assistance or questions regarding the form or process, please contact Melissa Staub. 


The nominee must meet the eligibility requirements. Each nomination will be rated by a committee of five using a rubric based on the award criteria. Nomination and supporting letters will have names, titles, and departments redacted to avoid unintended bias or preferential scoring. Distinctive achievement in each category of the award will constitute the strongest case for selection. The committee will be cognizant, however, of particularly outstanding achievement in any one area. The finalist will be submitted to the Dean of the College of Arts & Letters for final approval. 



2018 – Melissa Staub

2019 – Joshua Morey

2020 – Ken Desloover

2021 – Sara Allison