UConn Spirit Awards Recognize Deserving Employees

President Tom Katsouleas and Jonathan the Husky pose with 2020 UConn Spirit awards recipients at the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room
President Tom Katsouleas and Jonathan the Husky pose with 2020 UConn Spirit awards recipients at the Wilbur Cross North Reading Room on Feb. 27, 2020. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Honorees in the sixth annual UConn Spirit Awards, which celebrate exceptional employees at the University, received their awards at a ceremony in the North Reading Room of the Wilbur Cross Library on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.

The ceremony recognizes the efforts of employees, especially staff, in building community and promoting civility. The Spirit Awards program was originally the result of a survey conducted by the Something’s Happening Committee, which found a significant correlation between supportive interactions among colleagues and productivity on the job.

“There’s no red carpet or paparazzi here today, but in all honesty. this ceremony recognizes work that is far more important and impactful than what gets attention at glitzy award shows,” said UConn President Tom Katsouleas, who was presiding over his first Spirit Awards.

“This is an opportunity to single out some of our outstanding staff members, and also to learn a little bit more about what goes on every day at UConn. The finalists this year provide critical services in everything from mental health to undergraduate student government to working with military veterans in our student population.”

Katsouleas took time to recognize all those that were nominated for the awards and those that took the time to submit a nomination.

“This is also an opportunity to remember that, despite the broad diversity of our roles and assignments, ultimately we have the same, single goal in mind: securing UConn’s place among the best public universities in the country,” he said.

There were five awards presented this year, including one given for the first time – the Inclusive Excellence Awards.

This year’s winners are:

Rising Star Award

Winner: Claudia Pina, Mental Health Resource Center-UConn Waterbury

Finalist: Michele Magliulo, Residential Life-UConn Stamford

Finalist: Jonathan Ramos, Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs

Unsung Hero Award

Winner: Brian Boecherer, Executive Director, Office of Early College Experience

Finalist: Dawn Benjamin, Administrative Specialist, Undergraduate Student Government

Finalist: Angela Brightly, Associate Campus Director, UConn Waterbury

University Citizen Award

Winner: Haleh Ghaemolsabahi, Director, Campus Technology Services

Finalist: Kimberly Colon, Assistant Director, Office of Community Standards

Finalist: Jen Person, Director, Payroll

Team Award

Winner: Regional Campus Mental Health Resource Center

Finalist: Central Warehouse

Finalist: Safety Techniques and Awareness Resource Team

Inclusive Excellence Award

Winner: Hilarie Jones, Student Health and Wellness

Finalist: Monique Cooper, Center for Career Development

Finalist: Professor Linda Halgunseth, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences