Theresa Chatman's Distinguished
Service Award Nomination


DATE: August 20, 1996

TO: Russell Barnes, Assistant Human Resources Director

FROM: Dr. Kathy El-Messidi, Associate Director, External Relations, CRPC

I would like to recommend Theresa Chatman, Manager of Outreach Programs, CRPC, for a Distinguished Service Award from Human Resources. Her performance above and beyond a very demanding job description and her relentless efforts to benefit the Rice community during her recently completed seven years of service have been commendable.

Theresa makes Rice University and the CRPC a comfortable place to be for visitors, speakers, world-class researchers, educational outreach participants, student assistants, and her co-workers. She is able to deal with the diverse populations that come to our doorstep and welcome them with gracious hospitality, tending to their specific needs with a personal attention that accounts for the most minute details. Theresa knows how to make things happen and doesn't stop until the job is done right and done well.

Theresa is a charming and welcoming person whose email name "tlc" reflects the "tender loving care" she provides for those around her. She manages numerous ongoing projects with an amazingly thorough sense of order. One minute she is assuring a visitor from Germany that he will get a computer account. The next minute she is helping a group of 20 minority Spend a Summer with a Scientist participants organize a pizza party. Moments later she must guarantee the equipment requests of several top researchers who are preparing to speak before an auditorium of hundreds of CRPC annual meeting attendees. Theresa has flown from coast to coast, often single-handedly providing turnkey meeting setups for Ken Kennedy and the research groups he leads. She has assisted Richard Tapia in managing the logistics for nearly every educational outreach program he has conducted.

Theresa has served as a Rice "ambassador" of sorts on campus. Allow me to share some of the messages of appreciation for Theresa's contributions that I have received.

Ken Kennedy, Director of the Center for Research on Parallel Computation commented: "Theresa has been and continues to be an ever-present help in implementing the down-to-earth details of the CRPC's outreach programs, visitor's program, speaker's program, and workshops and meetings. In doing so, she graciously reaches out to the Rice campus and the community at large, benefiting both the center and the university in the process."

Richard Tapia, Director of Human Resources and Education, CRPC, reflected,"Theresa Chatman has played a major role in the success of the Center for Research on Parallel Computation minority and educational outreach programs. These programs require a huge amount of organization and coordination, and this she does with incredible competence and professionalism. I could not implement these programs without Theresa's help. She does everything including playing house-mother to some of the younger students. I have complete confidence that when Theresa is on the job everything will go smoothly. Moreover, she does all this with a smile and cheerful words. Few, if any that I have known, can play such an effective supportive role. The teachers, the students, the visitors all sing her praises and all love her. I could not do my job without her."

Jennifer (Jen) Overton of the Hughes Outreach Project, Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, reported in a thank-you note to Theresa: "It's so nice to find people like you on campus who are cooperative and really want to help other people out, even if they aren't in the same department . . . I've always felt that all of us are a team and we should try to work together whenever possible for the good of the University, so I really appreciate people like you who go out of their way to make things easier instead of putting up roadblocks to getting the job done."

And a visiting math professor from University of Iowa took the time to praise her, writing, "Last time we had indeed a very good apartment with a splendid view of Houston. It was an apartment on the last floor facing downtown. The same as last time, I will be coming with three other members of the family. Even if it will not be exactly the same apartment I am sure it will be a very nice one, since you have always made very good arrangements for us."

Theresa has also played in exemplary and effective role in providing training for student assistants and other support personnel, only demanding of them what she herself has previously done so well.

Sonya Hill, a recent Rice graduate who has been a student assistant for Theresa for two years, had this to say about her boss: "Theresa exhibits both the patience and assertiveness that are necessary to be a successful leader in the workplace. She willingly goes the extra mile to make sure that fast-approaching deadlines are met. Her skills as a manager are laudable and will serve as an example for me when I enter the work force. You would think she must carry a big stick and a mean bark to make the meetings she plans, the visits she coordinates, and the workshops she puts together turn out so nicely. Instead, it is a warm sincere smile, soft voice, and charming personality that performs miracles for this lady. My experiences working with Theresa Chatman at the CRPC will be invaluable to me as I leave behind the responsibilities of student life and take on the demands of the working world."

Hired as a Senior Clerk at the CRPC in August of 1989, Theresa has earned a series of progressive career promotions, attaining her present position as Manager of Outreach Programs for the CRPC in August of 1994.

I think Theresa, whose leadership skills and cheerful personality find her putting her best foot forward on behalf of Rice and the CRPC, well deserves the recognition the Rice Distinguished Service Award conveys.

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Posted April 24, 1997 by Debbie Campbell (