Here are the OPA recipients (information is excerpted from nomination materials):

Elaine Allen, program manager, J.B. Speed School of Engineering, dean’s office

  • Allen has worked at Speed School for more than 37 years. Her outstanding performance comes from the passion she has for her work, deep knowledge of UofL, an unwavering commitment to saying “Yes, we can find a solution to your problem,” transparent affection for students, exemplary initiative in helping co-workers with both professional and personal needs, a genuine interest in people and their welfare and an unmatched commitment to the well-being and reputation of Speed School.

Cathy Bays, Ideas to Action specialist for assessment, Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning

  • Bays has exhibited an exceptional commitment to serve the wide range of university colleagues who can benefit from her expertise with assessment, grading, evaluation and teaching practices. She is a consummate teacher, able to break challenging concepts into manageable bites of understanding and is an ace at assessing student learning. Bays has collaborated with faculty on numerous projects, including development of new assessment instruments for faculty and students that fill a gap in the scholarly area of critical thinking assessment. She also leads the i2a SUN Grant program and consults and trains for all aspects of the program.

Christian Gamm, assistant director of admissions, School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

  • Gamm has demonstrated exceptional performance both in the office and in her service to the UofL community. She has developed ways to make the graduate application process more efficient, collaborated with REACH and obtained training and certification to give free GRE workshops in the community, provided excellent customer service to prospective graduate students and served on universitywide committees and initiatives. She also is a national trainer, province officer, regional leadership facilitator and site evaluator for Sigma Kappa Sorority. Gamm has completed her doctoral degree as well as such professional development training as the Successful Supervisor Series through the Delphi Center.

Lee Keeling, program assistant, history

  • Keeling is the first person visitors, students and others encounter upon contacting the Department of History. She is on time, dependable, trustworthy and consistent. A self-starter with leadership skills, Keeling sets the tone of the office for graduate and undergraduate student workers. She runs a tight ship and ensures that the varied work of the department is done efficiently and effectively. When a glitch arises, Keeling jumps in, assesses the issue, crafts a solution and sees it through to resolution. She works at a high level—even an extraordinary level—every day.

Linda Malone, custodian, physical plant

  • Malone is responsible, respective and productive. She is dedicated to UofL and has a heart for the students and others she serves. She is known for her initiative and proactivity in doing the job well. Malone is a leader, motivator and encourager. Her passion for her work is contagious. She continually develops a sense of pride and satisfaction in the people with whom she works.

Laura McKinney, executive administrative associate, School of Dentistry dean’s office

  • McKinney advises the dean of the School of Dentistry and serves as intermediary on the dean’s behalf in the school’s day-to-day operations. She coordinates annual submissions of American Dental Education Association surveys, serves as liaison on university and dental school committees, plans and coordinates special events and edits the school’s newsletter. She is active in universitywide committees and initiatives, including Great Places to Work and the Staff Senate.

Diane Penrod, research manager, A&S Research Office; unit business manager, Psychological and Brain Sciences

  • Penrod is a valuable member of the research office and has made significant contributions to other units at UofL by advising, training and helping with processes. She also is a leader within the UBM community. She updates other A&S UBMs on pay, budgets, new terminology and other important topics and is a strong advocate for further education and training. Penrod’s time is divided 60 percent as UBM and 40 percent as research manager. She gives 100 percent when wearing either hat. She not only gets the job done with regard to all of her specific job expectations, but she also performs at the top of her profession in terms of knowledge, integrity and reliability.

Karen Rose, executive administrative associate, School of Nursing, dean’s office

  • Rose is the front line point person for all 45 full-time faculty, 25 staff and some 2,000 students at the School of Nursing. As part of her duties, she plans school events, monitors faculty health care requirements and compliance, updates School of Nursing Web pages, works on Share Point, serves as support staff to the Faculty Organization Committee and collects and enters data regarding each of the courses that include student and/or faculty engagement and service learning activities. She also assumes a variety of tasks that are not part of her defined responsibilities, such as filling in for the dean’s administrative assistant. She makes a tremendous contribution in keeping the School of Nursing going.

Mary Yvette Stith, administrative associate, School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

  • Stith provides the main coordination and support for GRE and other workshops, Graduate Student Orientation, PLAN (student professional development) events, recruitment events and others. She has become the go-to staff member in terms of event planning because she knows the details of what needs to be done and is highly organized. Stith maintains an exceptional working relationship with faculty, administrators and SIGS feeder recruitment school staff. She exhibits leadership qualities, is committed to her job and brings an enthusiasm that rubs off on colleagues, students and others. She also is an active community volunteer.

Rebecca Wenning, administrative associate, Brandeis School of Law

  • Wenning provides administrative support for the law school’s faculty, deans, staff and students. In that role, she supervises one employee and a research assistant in daily operations to provide exceptional customer service, produce accurate materials and effectively meet desired timelines. Wenning is the quintessential team player and always is willing to take on additional tasks that are not part of her job duties. She makes time to volunteer and is heavily involved in the UofL Cares campaign as well as Lawlapalooza, a “battle of the bands” fundraiser for the School of Law, and other events. Wenning always looks for ways to improve not only her skills but also the law school.

Ray (Orville) Wohlschlegel, bindery operator, Information Technology

  • Wohlschlegel is the primary courier for the university Print Shop. The materials he delivers to all three campuses and community locations have one thing in common: they often must be produced and delivered in one day or less. The pace can be frenetic, but Wohlschlegel responds to the pressure with a smile. He is a vital part of the organization — an ambassador for the department and the university — and represents both with professionalism and integrity. Besides his delivery duties, he regularly assists in the bindery department.


Three staff received honorable mention: Megan Adams, coordinator of campus visit programs for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; Simone Beach, assistant director of the School of Law’s Law Clinic; and Valerie Browning, program assistant for the Career Development Center in the Office of Student Affairs.