Honoring staff contributions: Announcing the President’s Award for Distinguished Service and Robin Kramer Volunteer Award winners

Case Western Reserve University staff members make immeasurable contributions to the campus community year round, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, their impact has only heightened. Over the past year, staff members have worked to keep campus safe, putting in untold hours to keep the university’s learning and research missions moving forward.

That made this year’s Staff Service Awards Ceremony even more meaningful. Held Thursday, June 17, the ceremony honored those who have 10, 25, 35, 45 and 50 years of service at Case Western Reserve. It also celebrated those selected for the President’s Award for Distinguished Service and Robin Kramer Volunteer Award, two honors bestowed upon outstanding staff members each year.

This year’s President’s Award for Distinguished Service went to:

  • Jason Bradshaw, director, design and manufacturing at Sears think[box];
  • Maggie Kaminski, administrative director, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities; and
  • Paul Owens, police lieutenant.

Elisabeth (Liz) Roccoforte, director, LGBT Center, is this year’s Robin Kramer Volunteer Award winner.

Learn more about the designations on the Staff Advisory Council website.

President’s Award

Created in memory of the late university employee Roseanne Shaerban, the President’s Award for Distinguished Service recognizes staff members whose contributions significantly benefit the CWRU community.

Jason Bradshaw

Jason Bradshaw

Director, design and manufacturing at Sears think[box]

Jason Bradshaw is known to embrace challenges and think outside of the box for solutions, making his position at the Larry and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box] a perfect match for his skills and ingenuity.

When Case Western Reserve switched from in-person to remote learning in 2020 due to COVID-19, Bradshaw devised an alternative to the whiteboard, which made text and images appear reversed on camera. His final result—used by several CWRU faculty members—was a clear acrylic light board that instructors could write on while facing the camera, correcting the mirror imaging issue. 

Since March 2020, he’s been involved in 11 COVID-response-related projects and volunteered his time beyond the 40-hour work week to help design and fabricate projects in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

Much of Bradshaw’s role includes helping students look for creative solutions—asking the right questions and empowering students to solve problems on their own.

Bradshaw also cultivates a positive work culture. Last year, he encouraged Sears think[box] leadership to develop programming that incorporates unity, equity and support.

“Witnessing how passionate and hardworking Jason is motivates me to bring the same level of care and commitment to work each day,” his nominator wrote.

Maggie Kaminski

Maggie Kaminski

Administrative director, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences

With a “roll-up the sleeves” kind of attitude, Maggie Kaminski, administrative director of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, has spent more than 25 years committed to Case Western Reserve University in roles both in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine.

For the last 14 years, she’s helped keep the center running—but, her nominator noted, Kaminski’s role entails much more than that. “She has helped craft [the Baker-Nord Center] into a central node for all humanities disciplines on campus,” they wrote.

Kaminski’s work in the center benefits the Case Western Reserve community as a whole, from students of all levels to faculty and staff. Through her involvement in the Baker-Nord Scholars program, Humanities@Work and Cleveland Humanities Festival, in addition to her support of faculty members’ research, travel and publications, Kaminski helps fuel the humanities at CWRU.

Kaminski’s nominator repeatedly referred to Kaminski’s hard work, dedication and commitment to the center and CWRU as “indispensable.”

“She has a way of helping everyone who works with her succeed more fully than any would succeed working alone,” the nominator wrote.

Paul Owens

Paul Owens

Police lieutenant

Over the course of his 17-year career at Case Western Reserve, Police Lt. Paul Owens’ role has shifted and expanded, but his mission remains unchanged: keep the university community safe.

This has proven especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as Owens worked tirelessly with faculty, staff and university leadership to create procedures to protect the campus community.

Though Owens’ work “may go unnoticed by many” due to its often behind-the-scenes nature, a nominator wrote, “his actions always have a positive impact on those who come in contact with him.”

Central to Owens’ work is preparation—whether overseeing public safety for all major university events, from move-in to commencement, or teaching the campus community how to respond if faced with danger. Owens and another officer brought the ALICE active-aggressor response program to campus eight years ago; today, they conduct all trainings, including during student orientations. In addition, Owens teaches Rape Aggression Defense classes on campus.

Importantly, Owens helps prepare his team members—providing training, guidance and mentoring on a continual basis.

“Paul is a natural leader and shows this by his actions,” a nominator wrote. “He is always the one to step up and help out whoever is in need—no matter who is asking or what they are asking for.”

Robin Kramer Volunteer Award

Robin Kramer was a university employee who was dedicated to volunteerism. In her honor, the university created the Robin Kramer Volunteer Award to recognize a staff member who is an active volunteer in the CWRU community.

Elisabeth (Liz) Roccoforte

Elisabeth (Liz) Roccoforte

Director, LGBT Center

Elisabeth (Liz) Roccoforte is known for going the extra mile to lend a helping hand. As director of CWRU’s LGBT Center, she is committed to serving students, faculty, staff and alumni, and to making the CWRU community a more inclusive place.

“Liz goes above and beyond to help others by offering to meet with them whenever they need to,” her nominator wrote. “She has an open-door policy that I deeply admire, and donates a great deal of her own time to help support others outside of the work day.”

Roccoforte recently served as an advisor for the LGBTQ+ Committee of the For A Better CWRU student-led task force, helping students brainstorm action items and provide supporting data to include in their proposal. Off campus, she is also actively involved in the Cleveland community, volunteering her time to help educate others about implicit bias and LGBTQ identities on her own time.

Roccoforte’s nominator also highlighted her willingness to collaborate and bring people together: “She uses her connections to students, staff, faculty and community members to help connect others to resources and support. In my opinion, this is a particularly outstanding characteristic that few people have.”