Skip to main content

Employee Awards

The Division of Administration (DofA) exists to provide the support that makes Vanderbilt’s goals and mission possible.  Our efforts are only possible through the dedicated and exceptional service of our divisional staff.  Appreciation is an essential part of how we create community, and we would like to take every opportunity to highlight those staff that make our division's success, and the university's success, possible.


Divisional Service Champions

Divisional leaders established an annual divisional awards program to celebrate staff members for excellence in service, dedication to community values, and exceptional performance. Each year, divisional leadership works with their respective areas to nominate and honor deserving staff members at an annual Service Champion event hosted by the Vice Chancellor. In addition, in 2018 the Vice Chancellor established a Divisional Group Award. The Group Award honors groups that reflect a high level of service and dedication, and a clear example of cross-divisional or cross-institutional collaboration.  
Take a look at highlights from past awards programs:

2017 Service Champions Highlights

2018 Service Champions Highlights

2019 Service Champions Highlights

2020 Service Champions Highlights 

2022 Service Champions Highlights


University Staff Awards

Vanderbilt University recognizes staff’s outstanding work and contributions to the university and beyond through its staff awards program.  These awards are designed to spotlight the talents, dedication and professionalism that staff bring to their work at the university, and to celebrate the rich diversity of contributions that are foundational to Vanderbilt’s excellence as a center for research and empowering education.  

To read more about the university staff awards and view past winners, please visit the Employee Appreciation - Staff Awards page.


Commodore Award

The annual Commodore Award is Vanderbilt’s highest staff honor, recognizing staff members who have made significant contributions to the university’s pursuit of excellence in education, research and community service. Staff are recognized for:

  • Overall performance and accomplishments that regularly and consistently far exceed performance expectations, reflecting a high level of service, dedication, conscientiousness, compassion and applied skill.
  • Handling a high impact or critical situation which had important consequences for a department, Vanderbilt University or the community.
  • Developing or improving processes that resulted in significant productivity and/or cost-savings improvements.

Take a look at Division of Administration staff who have received this prestigious award:

2014 Commodore Award - Clair Gant, Vanderbilt Child and Family Centers

2017 Commodore Award - Danny McKissack, Facilities

2018 Commodore Award - Antoinette Hicks, Dining


Vanderbilt University Distinguished Leadership Award

The  Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion launched a Vanderbilt University Distinguished Leadership Award to recognize staff leadership in equity, diversity and inclusion. This award is presented to a full-time regular staff member who has demonstrated exemplary contributions to Vanderbilt University’s mission, as well as exhibited outstanding commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. This annual award recognizes significant achievements in developing a culturally diverse, compassionate university community reflective of inclusive excellence.

Take a look at Division of Administration staff who have received this prestigious award:

2017 Distinguished Leadership Award - Gloria Smith, Facilities

2018 Distinguished Leadership Awards - Individual Award: Michelle Halman, Dining; Group Award: Human Resources Diversity and Inclusion Committee


Former Awards: Heart and Soul Staff Awards

Former Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos created the Heart and Soul Staff Awards program to honor staff members for outstanding work.  These awards were presented by the Chancellor during visits with staff in their workspaces, and recognized efforts that demonstrate the spirit and mission that distinguishes the Vanderbilt community.

Take a look at Division of Administration staff who have received this prestigious award:

Zeppos presents VUPS’ Marty Wright with inaugural Heart and Soul Staff Appreciation Award

Chancellor presents Facilities’ Knight and Bratton with Heart and Soul Staff Appreciation Awards

Campus Dining’s Ebanks recognized with Chancellor’s Heart and Soul Award

Chancellor presents Heart and Soul awards to Bates, Hill and Maruszewski

Acorn School teachers, chemistry department administrator honored with Chancellor’s Heart and Soul awards