UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May
Presidents 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 years Presidents 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, Austins 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
Known for her competence, humour and unflappable nature,
she has served as UBCs 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 UBCs 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 UBCs United Way campaign
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
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,
Ramsays wide knowledge of campus procedures and personnel
has allowed him to contribute to initiatives that range from
safety policies to efficiency improvements.