By Jackie Todd, University Relations
It was Kate Radford’s first time in front of Clemson’s board of trustees. Instead of being nervous, Radford, who is Student Affairs’ associate director for student involvement and leadership, was excited as she walked into the room. She wasn’t there to report to the board. The board was there to honor her.
Radford was among faculty and staff who were recognized by the board with its Award for Excellence. The award acknowledges faculty and staff whose vision, accomplishments and efforts have brought honor to Clemson. Recognition was given to 15 staff members and 15 faculty members, who were named at a dinner held in conjunction with the winter meeting of the Board of Trustees.
“The Trustees are grateful to you for the work you do each day to operate this great institution,” said Board of Trustees chair Smyth McKissick. “We congratulate you on being honored for your outstanding contributions to fulfilling the vision and mission of Clemson University.”
Among her many roles, Radford serves as adviser to the student-run Paw Pantry, a role that she’s held since 2015. Located on Clemson’s main campus, the Paw Pantry is a food pantry and resource center available to Clemson students free of charge, no questions asked.
Radford also organized the Women’s Leadership Conference, which creates a sense of support and community and reinforces knowledge, skills and values to engage in leadership roles. This is the ninth year that she’s managed the event.
Accompanied by her husband, Kory, Radford felt that the event was an opportunity for the board to directly connect with faculty and staff.
“I think it is incredible that the Board of Trustees recognizes the work of faculty and staff,” said Radford. “On more than one occasion at the ceremony, a board member came up to personally congratulate me and it was so affirming to know that the board sees, understands and appreciates the work of faculty and staff. I think the ceremony itself provides a really unique opportunity for the board to keep a pulse on what is happening on campus. It also provides a really special opportunity for a group of faculty and staff to make a more personal connection with the board.”
Unlike Radford, Hugo Sanabria had met the Board of Trustees. Sanabria is an assistant professor in the department of physics and astronomy – and a rising rock star in the field of molecular biophysics. At this stage of his career, Sanabria has picked up high-level honors such as a National Science Foundation CAREER award, a National Institutes of Health training grant and a Humboldt Research Fellowship. Trustees honored Sanabria for his superior research, teaching and service impact.
The event allowed Sanabria to interact with faculty and staff across departments.
“It is a great honor to be nominated and even more to be selected for this award,” he said. “The recognition not only is important to the faculty and staff as a way to recognize their contribution, but also to the health of a growing university like Clemson. It means that they are engaged with what happens at the classrooms and that they know the research direction of those that are pushing the frontiers in discovery. In addition, it portrays a unified vision for the university and allows for that interaction to occur that otherwise would be difficult to happen.”
While Sanabria was thankful for the recognition, he was quick to recognize the driving force behind him – his wife, Inna Yanez-Orozco.
“I was allowed to share the event with my wife, who accompanied me,” he said. “Her support and dedication and hard work is also being recognized, given that without her many of the accomplishments that were cited would not have been possible.”
The nomination period for the awards began in early October through early November. Faculty nominees should be full-time employees who have been honored by academic or professional societies at the national or international level. Staff nominees must also be full time and have received a national or international level award or through extraordinary contributions.
Learn more about the awards, award categories and award winners here.