Staff Contributions Recognized with Awards for Excellence

Staff Contributions Recognized with Awards for Excellence

By University Communications
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Chemistry Department Safety Team
Chemistry Department Safety Team

Several University of Arizona employees will be honored next month for regularly going above and beyond to achieve excellence in their jobs.

The employees are being presented with University Staff Awards for Excellence, which are presented annually by the Staff Advisory Council, the Appointed Professionals Advisory Council and the President's Cabinet. The awards will be presented by President Robert N. Shelton in a special ceremony on April 11.

The honorees are:

Brett Bendickson, senior support systems analyst in the University Information Technologies Service office –Bendickson was nominated for his work in the development and maintenance of the technology and tools used to advise students, such as Advisor Link, Student Link and WebReg. In nominating him, Bendickson's colleagues called him their "techno-savior" and "the luminary of technology."

Christopher Blevins, senior media technician in Student Union Operations – Blevins was nominated for his positive, personable and professional attitude. "Chris Blevins is a pleasure to work with and represents excellent customer service for The University of Arizona," according to his nominators.

Arezu Corella, academic advising coordinator in psychology – During her career at the UA, Corella has created programs to assist graduate and undergraduate psychology students. In nominating her, Corella's colleagues called her "innovative, creative, student-focused and an advocate for staff development and promotion."

Lynn Farmer, administrative assistant in military aerospace studies – Farmer is the only full-time nonmilitary employee in aerospace studies. After budget cuts and a medical emergency in the department, Farmer took on extra responsibilities. She "never once complained," colleagues said, "but used her wealth of experience, upbeat attitude and remarkable team-building skills to keep the department operating at full capacity."

Kim Griffin, electronic technician in Facilities Management – Often called "Kim the Sound Guy," Griffin was nominated for his behind-the-scenes work setting up communication technology across the University. Griffin's colleagues called him a "great ambassador to link every population of the University community with quality communications and service."

Paula Johnson, associate veterinary specialist in the University animal care department – Johnson was nominated for her effective teaching of UA faculty, staff and students and her dedication to public outreach. "Dr. Johnson's generosity of time and enthusiasm for education and science is an inspiration to both her university colleagues and hundreds of Arizona school students," one of Johnson's nominators said.

Carol Lehman, administrative secretary at UA South – As the first person to greet students and visitors to the Faculty Building at UA South, Lehman always makes a positive first impression, according to her colleagues, who added that UA South is fortunate to have someone with Lehman's "vision, loyalty and her great, good heart."

Jack Mutchler, sheet metal worker in facilities management – Since joining the sheet metal shop in 1981, Mutchler has single-handedly assumed the responsibilities associated with providing safe work spaces for students and researchers, according to his colleagues. Mutchler has developed and implemented an annual campuswide process for the certification, decontamination and repair of over 1,700 chemical fume hoods and 450 biological safety cabinets used in classroom studies and research.

Travis Teetor, library operations supervisor – Teetor was nominated for his "great vision, proactive attention to detail and analytical ability to apply all the knowledge he's gained to the task at hand." Once in an entry-level position with the UA Libraries, Teetor now manages all aspects of circulation, billing, and information and referral services at the Main and Science-Engineering libraries.

During next month's ceremony, Shelton will present Theodore Tong, dean of the College of Pharmacy, with the Billy Joe Varney Award for Excellence for his dedicated service to the University, its employees and the community. The award, named for a former associate vice president for planning and budgeting, recognizes employees with at least 15 years of service to the UA and to the Tucson community. Tong was nominated for the work he has done at the UA that has brought national recognition to the University, including his work as director of the Poison Control Center and his role in creating an infrastructure for handling pharmaceuticals in case of a local or national disaster.

Shelton also will present the University Team Award for Excellence. This year's honoree is the Chemistry Department Safety Team, which is being recognized for its outstanding contributions to its department and the University as a whole.

The awards ceremony will be held from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center. For more information, visit

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