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Awards & Recognition

Honoring our employees for their dedication and service

Awarding our team members

The University of Rochester Office of Human Resources is committed to the professional development of all of our employees. Along with that, we also recognize the hard work and dedication everyone contributes to the University.

Celebrating Milestones: Staff Service Award Program

We recognize our regular part- and full-time staff members after every five years of service to the University. The newest addition to our program is a commemorative gift for part-time and full-time staff members who reach 5 years of regular service in recognition of their dedicated service to the University.

Beginning at 10 years of service, and every five years after that, regular part-time and regular full-time, staff members are honored at the Staff Recognition Reception. Those celebrating 25 or more years of service are also honored at the Recognition Dinner. These events are held in February/March and honor employees who reached a service anniversary in the previous calendar year. Invitations for these events are mailed to each honoree’s home address. As part of this celebration, all staff members observing a milestone anniversary are invited to choose a commemorative gift.

Staff Service Award Program Gift (beginning with 10 years of service)
  • Service award letters are sent to each individual’s home prior to their service anniversary.  Departments are sent a list of honorees from their Division/Department who are reaching a milestone anniversary within the next month.
  • Click here to make your gift selection.
  • Please make your selection as soon as possible.
  • Gifts will be delivered directly to your home, or another address you choose, usually within a month after you place your order.
  • If no gift is chosen within the month of your service anniversary, a default gift of the luggage as described on the website/in the brochure will be delivered to your home address as listed in HRMS.
  • Please contact Melissa Ritzenthaler at (585) 275-9151 or melissa.ritzenthaler@rochester.edu if you have any questions or if you need a paper brochure of service award gifts.

2020 Staff Service Award honorees

Although we aren’t able to gather together to celebrate our 2020 Staff Service Award honorees, packages are being sent to recipients in lieu of hosting the Recognition events. For those with 10, 15, or 20 years of service in calendar year 2020, a specially engraved University of Rochester travel mug with a printed program of all honorees’ names are being sent to their homes. For honorees with over 25 years of service (25, 30, 35, and so on), a package including a travel mug, the printed program, and an invitation to order a meal kit from Gobble are being sent to their home in lieu of attending the reception and dinner.

A special message to honorees from President Sarah Mangelsdorf can be viewed here. See the Service Award Recipients for January 1 – December 31, 2020

President’s Staff Awards

In addition to the annual years-of-service awards, we offer four employee-nominated award programs.

  • The Witmer Award for Distinguished Service: Provides recognition to a select number of employees for careers characterized by outstanding and sustained contributions to the University.
  • The Meliora Award: Honors a staff member or teams of staff whose work and performance exemplifies our motto, Meliora: Ever Better.
  • Staff Community Service Award: Honors a non-management staff member whose volunteer service to the University or a non-profit within the Greater Rochester community is outside of their usual assignment/department.
  • Lamar Riley Murphy Leadership Award: Provides recognition to an individual who is an exemplary role model and who demonstrates innovative, proactive leadership.

Learn more about these awards and the nomination process.

Awards ceremony

President’s Staff Award Winners

A virtual recognition event was held on January 22, 2021 to celebrate the 2020 President’s Staff Awards. Watch a video recording of the event now.

You can also reference this news article to see a list of the 2020 President’s Staff Award winners.

See the 2020 winners

President’s Staff Award nomination process

We invite you to consider your employees and colleagues for nomination. The nomination period opens on February 10, with a deadline of March 25, 2021.

Get eligibility, nomination details, and more information for each of these awards below.


Witmer Award for Distinguished Service

Provides recognition to a select number of staff members for careers characterized by outstanding and sustained contributions to the University.

See all previous award recipients.

Nominees should demonstrate excellence in the following areas:

  • Enhancing the quality of work life in ways that make a significant difference for colleagues or constituents.
  • Providing outstanding and ongoing excellence in services to faculty, staff, students and other constituents.
  • Developing creative solutions to problems that result in significantly more effective and efficient department or University operations.
  • Demonstrating unusual dedication to the University’s mission and values.
  • Contributing to the University’s positive image in the community.

Nominees must be full- or part-time active staff from any division with a minimum of five years of continuous service at the University. Faculty and students are not eligible for this award. Previous recipients of the Witmer Award are ineligible for nomination.

Contact Melissa Ritzenthaler at (585) 275-9151 or email melissa.ritzenthaler@rochester.edu for questions regarding eligibility.

The recipients will be given a permanent, one-time increase in base salary of $1,500 and the University will waive the cost of their employee parking permits for one year. In addition, their names will be inscribed on recognition boards placed in prominent locations at the Medical Center and in Wallis Hall. They will also be featured in University publications and invited to attend a reception in their honor.

Nominations may be submitted or supported by current University of Rochester faculty and staff, students, teams, or groups with the exception of members of the Witmer and Meliora Awards Selection Committee.

Award recipients will be selected by the Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee and announced in the spring.

For each nominee, please submit a nomination package by no later than March 25, 2021 containing the following items. Please be sure that ALL information is complete.

  • A nomination form.
  • A nominating statement of no more than three pages (12 point font or larger) must accompany the nomination form explaining how the nominee satisfies the award criteria. Please be specific, providing concrete examples.
  • Exactly three letters of support (each no more than one page in length and 12 point font or larger) from those who have been directly affected by this nominee’s work performance and dedication. One of the supporting letters must be from the individual’s direct supervisor unless the supervisor is submitting the nomination. Letters need to be specific and detailed to ensure full understanding of the nominee’s accomplishments.
  • Relevant supporting documentation may be included but is not required.
Completed nomination packets should be submitted to:

Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee
c/o Associate Vice President for Human Resources / CHRO
E-mail: witmer_award_nomina@ur.rochester.edu
Intramural Mail: Box 278949

Meliora Award

The University of Rochester Meliora Award recognizes a select number of staff members whose work performance and dedication during the preceding few years exemplify the University’s motto, Meliora – ever better. We hold ourselves accountable to these values in the design of our programs, the development and delivery of our services, the evaluation of performance, and the ways in which we interact as a community. These shared values are: Meliora, Equity, Leadership, Integrity, Openness, Respect, and Accountability*. Awards may celebrate individual achievements or those of a team.

*For Medical Center employees, the ICARE values fully align with and also demonstrate Meliora in Action.

View all previous award recipients.

Nominees should have demonstrated their commitment to the Meliora Values during the preceding few years through:

  • Excellence in overall job performance that includes at least one major improvement to an individual department, program, unit, or the University as a whole (for example, service enhancement, significant process improvement, cost reduction or avoidance, etc.).
  • Initiative, innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity.
  • Service to constituents that consistently exceeds expectations.
  • Contributions to an environment characterized by collaboration, cooperation, tolerance and mutual respect.

Nominees must be full- or part-time active staff from any division of the University. Nominations may be submitted for individual staff members or teams of staff members. A team member may not nominate his or her own team. Faculty and students are not eligible for this award.

Contact Melissa Ritzenthaler at (585) 275-9151 or email melissa.ritzenthaler@rochester.edu for questions regarding eligibility.

Individual Meliora Award recipients will receive a $1,000 cash prize and the University will waive the cost of their employee parking permits for one year. Team Meliora Award recipients will receive $3,000 to be used to support their teams work. In addition, their names will be inscribed on recognition boards placed in prominent locations at the Medical Center and in Wallis Hall. They will also be featured in University publications and invited to attend a reception in their honor.

Nominations may be submitted or supported by current University of Rochester faculty, staff, students, teams, or groups with the exception of members of the Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee.

Award recipients will be selected by the Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee and announced in the spring.

For each individual or team nomination, please submit a nomination package by no later than March 25, 2021 containing the following items. Please be sure that ALL information is complete.

  • A nomination form.
  • A nominating statement of no more than three pages (12 point font or larger) explaining how the individual or team nominee satisfies the award criteria. Please be specific, providing concrete examples.
  • Exactly three letters of support (each no more than one page in length and 12 point font or larger) from those who have been directly affected by this individual or team nominee’s innovation or service. For individual nominations, one letter of support must be from the nominee’s direct supervisor unless the supervisor is the nominator.
  • Relevant supporting documentation may be included but is not required.
Completed nomination packets should be submitted to:

Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee
c/o Associate Vice President for Human Resources / CHRO
E-mail: meliora_award_nomina@ur.rochester.edu
Intramural Mail: Box 278949

Staff Community Service Award

The Staff Community Service Award was established by President Joel Seligman in December 2007 to honor a University non-management staff member “whose career best exemplifies service to the University of Rochester or the Greater Rochester community” and that occurred in a capacity outside of their usual assignment.

The first award was presented posthumously to Latasha E. Shaw, a 15-year University employee and an active member of the Service Employees International Union, whose life and service inspired its creation.

See all previous award recipients.

The Staff Community Service Award (SCSA) is awarded annually to a non-management staff person in recognition of their outstanding volunteer contributions to the University of Rochester community (in a capacity other than their usual assignment/department) or another non-profit organization in the greater Rochester community.

Nominations are accepted to recognize the achievement of a singular outstanding event or the continuous outstanding and dedicated service the individual has provided over a long period of time.

All active full- and part-time University of Rochester staff, other than supervisory and management personnel, with a minimum of one year of service may be nominated. Nominations may recognize:

  • Long-serving high achievement for a local not-for-profit community organization, neighborhood group or association, or the University community.
  • A record of significant and sustained community service such as volunteering with charitable, nonprofit organizations, or within the University community.
  • A nominee who has demonstrated any of the following:
    • “Leading the charge” in order to initiate a community project or University initiative outside of their usual assignment.
    • Serving as an inspiration to others through his or her persistent excellence either at the University (in a capacity other than their usual assignment) or in the general community.
    • Providing assistance to a local nonprofit community or University project that had a positive impact on individuals.

Contact Melissa Ritzenthaler at (585) 275-9151 or email melissa.ritzenthaler@rochester.edu for questions regarding eligibility.

A cash award of $2,500 will be shared by the recipient ($1,500) and the not-for-profit organization ($1,000) that the recipient has volunteered with to provide the service. In addition, the University will waive the cost of their employee parking permit for one year.

The recipient’s name will be inscribed on recognition boards placed in prominent locations at the Medical Center and in Wallis Hall. The awardee will also be featured in University publications and invited to attend a reception in his or her honor.

Nominations may be submitted or supported by current University of Rochester faculty, staff, students, teams, or groups with the exception of members of the Staff Community Service Award Selection Committee.

The SCSA Selection Committee will select one honoree annually based on the criteria noted.

For each nominee, please submit all of the information in the nomination packet below by no later than March 25, 2021:

  • A separate nomination form.
  • A nominating statement of no more than three pages explaining how the nominee satisfies the award criteria. Please be specific, providing concrete examples.
  • A letter of support (no more than one page) from a representative of the organization that has been directly affected by this nominee’s service.
  • Relevant supporting documentation may be included but is not required.
Completed nomination packets must be submitted to:

Staff Community Service Award Selection Committee
c/o Associate Vice President for Human Resources / CHRO
E-mail: scsa@ur.rochester.edu
Intramural Mail: Box 278949

Lamar Riley Murphy Leadership Award

Provides recognition to an individual who is an exemplary role model, demonstrating innovative, proactive leadership impacting their immediate department, division, or the University community as a whole.

Nominees should demonstrate excellence and creativity in innovation in approach, and scale of impact across our University in addition to the following criteria:

  • Acts as an excellent role model to staff, peers, and students; models the MELIORA values.
  • Inspires others to work collaboratively and creatively to achieve positive results.
  • Demonstrates initiative and innovation in approach.
  • Promotes a work environment that is respectful and supportive; demonstrating a commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Courageous commitment to servant leadership; staying actively involved in the coaching, mentoring and development of others.
  • Demonstrates an ability to effectively communicate issues, ideas and solutions to key stakeholders.
  • Leads an effective team that achieves positive results.
  • Fosters a sense of commitment and pride in the University.

Nominees must be full-or part-time active staff from any division who demonstrate leadership qualities. Faculty and students are not eligible for this award.

Contact Melissa Ritzenthaler at (585) 275-9151 or email melissa.ritzenthaler@rochester.edu for questions regarding eligibility.

Recipients will receive a $1,000 cash prize and the University will waive the cost of their employee parking permits for one year. In addition, their names will be inscribed on recognition boards placed in prominent locations at the Medical Center and in Wallis Hall. They will also be featured in University publications and invited to attend a reception in their honor.

Nominations may be submitted or supported by current University of Rochester faculty and staff, students, teams, or groups with the exception of members of the Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee.

Award recipients will be selected by the Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee and announced in the spring.

For each nominee, please submit a nomination package by no later than March 25, 2021 containing the following items. Please be sure that ALL information is complete.

  • A nomination form.
  • A nominating statement of no more than three pages (12 point font or larger) must accompany the nomination form explaining how the nominee satisfies the award criteria. Please be specific, providing concrete examples.
  • Exactly three letters of support (each no more than one page in length and 12 point font or larger) from those who have been directly affected by this nominee’s work performance and dedication. One of the supporting letters must be from the individual’s direct supervisor unless the supervisor is submitting the nomination.
  • Nominations must include feedback from direct reports and/or peers. Where applicable, department survey information will be considered (employee, patient, customer).
  • Letters need to be specific and detailed to ensure full understanding of the nominee’s accomplishments.
  • Relevant supporting documentation may be included but is not required.

Completed nomination packets should be submitted to:

Witmer, Meliora, and Murphy Awards Selection Committee
c/o Associate Vice President for Human Resources/CHRO
E-mail: LRM_Leadership_Award@ur.rochester.edu
Intramural Mail: Box 278949

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