2021-22 Outstanding Staff Recognized | Information Center


The annual Presidential Staff Excellence Awards recognize the contributions and efforts made by SDSU staff, trustees, and ancillary staff.

From serving students facing financial challenges in the COVID era, to supporting off-the-beaten paths for the missions and goals of campus departments, San Diego State University staff and administrators have gone above and beyond. beyond their work in 2021-22.

Six individuals and a team of five received Presidential Staff Excellence Awards as part of an annual honor for their outstanding contributions and efforts in support of the university, community and colleagues. In addition, the second annual Staff Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to James FrazeeDeputy Chief Information Officer and Senior Associate Vice President, Information Technology Division.

Staff members were nominated by their colleagues in seven categories: Auxiliary Support, Community Service, Innovation and Creativity, Manager of the Year, Employee Mentoring, University Service and Teamwork. The Lifetime Achievement Award is for employees with at least 15 years of service at SDSU. The winners receive a statuette and an honorarium as well as recognition upon convocation.

Recipients were honored Aug. 11 at an evening reception with the SDSU President Adele de la Torre at University House.

“The staff we honor are a particularly extraordinary group who have gone the extra mile to achieve our goals last year and this year,” said de la Torre. “During these difficult times, we were fortunate to be able to count on these talented members of our staff. They’re dedicated, they help keep our commitments to awareness and opportunity for all, and they never stop getting the job done.

Achievement for life

James Frazee

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Frazee was given the daunting task of leading SDSU’s transition from in-person to virtual teaching in a very short time.

Frazee quickly developed a strategy and a clear path forward in what he later described as “comprehensive combat posts” to help preserve SDSU’s mission to educate and complete the 2020 spring semester. with some of the most devastating impacts to come.

Under Frazee’s leadership, ITS created several resources from the ground up to help professors, many of whom had no experience teaching online, get to grips with the virtual environment and convert their courses into a realm. unknown.

They introduced a series of training offers and support services that proved essential as the pandemic spread to a second academic year.

The recipients of this year’s Presidential Staff Excellence Award are:

Auxiliary support

Angelique Banaag

Banaag, HR manager for Aztec Shops, moved quickly at the start of the pandemic to streamline HR processes from paper to electronic. In addition, she alone managed two major projects during this period, including a payroll system migration, requiring additional hours of work and additional responsibilities. Following a promotion to a completely different function within the department, Banaag also resumed his former responsibilities.

Public Service

Todd Refuss

Rehfuss, an accountant in the Comptroller’s Office, is a member of the Rolando Community Council, a grassroots organization for a neighborhood bordering the College area that provides grants to local charities and supports the local school and community park. He is also a member of the Marine Corps League’s San Diego Bulldog Detachment, which supports local veterans and the community through programs such as Toys For Tots, and provides support for the Young Marines program.

Innovation and creativity

Kimberly Kennelly

Kennelly, Administrative Coordinator of the Department of Philosophy, was unanimously appointed by her colleagues who said her groundbreaking contributions and accomplishments will serve the department and the College of Arts and Humanities (CAL) for years to come. She is a mentor to new coordinators and her one-on-one training has been described as truly essential, helping to retain new staff. Kennelly also assists in the administration of CAL’s Institute of Ethics and Public Affairs.

Manager of the year

The Monica Everett Haynes

As Associate Vice President and Director of Communications for Strategic Communications, Everett-Haynes radiates calm and professionalism as she leads the StratComm team in providing effective and impactful communications for SDSU, both internally and worldwide. Her staff praise her for her attention to their personal needs and safety, and for encouraging and prioritizing a healthy work-life balance. She recognizes and appreciates each member of the team for the work they do.

University service

Courtney Harmon

A graphic designer in enrollment services, Harmon serves as president of the Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG), an alliance of faculty, staff, and students committed to an open and inclusive campus community that advances equality for people. LGBTQIA+. She has been instrumental in furthering Pride ERG’s mission, hosting monthly business meetings, coordinating events and implementing a mentorship program. She has helped expand the ERG roster to over 100 members since spring 2018.

Staff-to-staff mentoring

Gabrielle Ruiz

Ruiz is the coordinator at the Huaxyacac ​​residence, supervising over 1,000 students. Navigating a heavy workload, Ruiz always makes time to check in and visit every residence coordinator on campus to make sure they’re all taken care of. She is also an advisor for the First-Generation Student Success organization, providing strong connections to first-generation students, and partners with several campus organizations to better support students and connect her colleagues to campus resources.

team effort

Dustin Adkins, Keiara Allen, Georgette Astorga, Evie Baez and Chelsea Payne

The Economic Crisis Response Team helps SDSU students connect with resources, both on and off campus, to help them meet immediate food, housing, or financial needs. Using a collaborative approach, the team has been the cornerstone of student support throughout the pandemic and continues to be a responsive, student-centered program that supports students on their academic journey by providing care essential to their well-being.

Image Above: From left to right in the photo above: La Monica Everett-Haynes, Kimberly Kennelly, James Frazee, Todd Rehfuss, Adela de la Torre, Gabriella Ruiz, Angelica Banaag, Courtney Harmon, Chelsea Payne, Georgette Astorga and Evie Baez. Absent from photo: Dustin Adkins and Keiara Allen. (SDSU)

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