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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May 8, 2003

President’s Service Award Winners

By Hilary Thomson

Five members of the university community are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to UBC and campus life as recipients of this year’s President’s Service Award for Excellence.

Each recipient will receive a gold medal and $5,000 in a presentation during Spring Congregation ceremonies.

Deborah Austin, director of Human Resources and Administration, Land and Building Services, joined UBC in 1998.

Known as an effective communicator who gets people onside and moving forward, she is credited with significant cultural change within the department. Her accomplishments include an effective return to work program, a new attendance program, an equity plan and staff recognition programs.

Her leadership is characterized by compassion, fairness and respect, and colleagues say the ‘ripple effect’ of her behaviour has led to the success of the entire Land and Building Services group. In addition, she chaired the very successful UBC 2002 United Way campaign. Acting as a mentor, guide and role model, Austin’s colleagues say she is dedicated to improving the university as a workplace and a community.

As associate director of the Ceremonies Office, Eilis Courtney oversees functions that range from royal visits to pancake breakfasts.

Known for her competence, humour and unflappable nature, she has served as UBC’s resident expert on ceremony and protocol for more than 10 years. Her skills are particularly appreciated at Congregation, where she ensures the event is memorable for each of the thousands of graduates and their families. With her depth of campus knowledge and loyalty to the university, she has been described by colleagues as one of UBC’s finest ambassadors.

In addition to her official campus duties, Courtney also volunteers to serve Christmas dinner to UBC international students and has been involved in UBC’s United Way campaign since 1991.

Mary Murphy joined UBC in 1981 and has been senior student advisor, Faculty of Applied Science, since 1992.

Her colleagues have called her a champion of students who is knowledgeable about all facets of the undergraduate program from recruitment to graduation. She is known for having the answer to every question and has been called ‘the epitome of multitasking’. She has participated in recruitment events, ensured programs meet accreditation criteria and advised students on admissions, academic planning and program changes.

In November 1992, she received a Just Desserts Award from the Alma Mater Society in recognition of her service and her ability to create a welcoming atmosphere of confidence and trust.

Eileen Oertwig has served for 12 years as administrative secretary to the dean of the Faculty of Arts.

Recognized as a pivotal point of contact between the dean and the many constituents in the faculty, she has been described as an indispensable asset. Through her organized, professional and reliable support, Oertwig has served as assistant, advisor and confidant to five deans. She is especially known for her considerable institutional memory and is said to be a living compendium of deadlines.

In 1996, students gave her a Just Desserts award in recognition of her assistance and positive influence.

James Ramsay celebrates 30 years with UBC this year. He joined the university in 1973 as a plumber and now serves as a manager in Project Services, Land and Building Services.

Co-workers say that he represents the working spirit of UBC -- someone who takes pride in the many projects he has been involved in. He is able to motivate workers to meet his high standards of productivity and quality and is well known for giving personal time when an employee or colleague needs help.

Credited with being a key player in developing his department, Ramsay’s wide knowledge of campus procedures and personnel has allowed him to contribute to initiatives that range from safety policies to efficiency improvements.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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