Crimson Spirit Award

Crimson Spirit logo

A special monthly commendation for Washington State University faculty and staff who have provided superior customer service.

Submit a Nomination

Anyone can nominate. See the eligibility guidelines.

Abigale Walser

Abigale Walser, custodian 3, is a custodial lead in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Her nominee notes that Dana Hall is currently without a day-shift custodian. In “true Abby fashion,” Ms. Walser has stepped in. Her nominator says “I work in an old building that has some deferred maintenance issues. Abby will always find a way to help with the aesthetics of this old building, from waxing floors during early morning hours to vacuuming and emptying personal office garbage receptacles on Saturdays. All of these duties being ABOVE and BEYOND her description of duties as a custodial supervisor.” Ms. Walser is honored for exceeding expectations and superior customer service.

November 2017

Tom Busch

Tom Busch is fiscal analyst 3 for the Physics and Astronomy Department. His nominators commended his “in-depth knowledge of policies and procedures” and praised him for noteworthy extra efforts, exceeding expectations, and providing outstanding contributions to the WSU community. A nominator explained that Mr. Busch is the “go-to for help and advice for grant proposal submission, grant reconciliation, and other departmental issues.” As another nominator concludes, Mr. Busch’s answers are “always thoughtful, precise and organized in a way that is easy to understand. He is always willing to help research any problem and provides back-up documentation for use in the future.”

October 2017

Denise Keeton

Denise Keeton, assistant director of business operations for the WSU Office of Commercialization, is praised for her Cougar Spirit, for anticipating needs and exceeding expectations, and providing superior customer service. Her knowledge of University policies is extensive and she shares her expertise generously. Her nominator notes that Denise is “a great mentor for many people in our office [and] she is always teaching employees in our department about the policies and procedures of WSU. She is a great resource to many fellow employees.” Denise’s superior efforts in support of WSU’s strategic goals embody the core values of the Crimson Spirit award.

May 2017

Laura Wintersteen-Arleth

Laura Wintersteen-Arleth, senior instructor in the WSU College of Nursing, was nominated by a student and presented with the award at an all-staff College of Nursing meeting. Laura was praised for the quantity of her responsibilities and the caliber of her work. Those responsibilities include being an advisor, teaching, serving as a clinical instructor, mentoring student clubs, and acting as liaison to the Kaplan program. The student noted in the nomination that “Laura is one of the major reasons I am still in school.” Laura’s professionalism, superior quality of service, and outstanding contributions to the WSU community embody the core values of the Crimson Spirit award.

April 2017

Deanna Hamilton

Deanna Hamilton, Administrative Assistant 3 in Academic Outreach and Innovation, WSU Global Campus, “embodies the positive, giving spirit of the true Coug” and is always professional, lifting burdens off of others and getting the work done. Her nominator notes “I have 30+ years of work experience and have never worked with someone as supportive and unflappable as Deanna. She really is amazing.” Deanna embodies the core values of the award by exceeding expectations, offering superior service, and providing contributions to the WSU community.

March 2017

Michael Chapman

Michael Chapman is an early childhood program specialist 3 at the WSU Children’s Center. Michael’s expertise and experience help children successfully meet and enjoy the many developmental and behavioral challenges of early childhood. He constantly generates new ideas to improve the Center’s facilities and enrich the children’s experience — especially the outdoor play spaces and gardens. Michael embodies the core values of the award with his outstanding contributions to the WSU community, superior quality service, noteworthy extra efforts, and creative problem-solving.

February 2017

Andrea (AJ) Southard

Andrea (AJ) Southard, Secretary Senior in the Division of Student Affairs, has been selected as the recipient of the November 2016 Crimson Spirit Award. As the first point of contact for the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students office, AJ takes the time to make sure that each person feels valued by confirming that she fully understands their questions and needs. Her patience, friendliness, and helpfulness on the phone and in person are the reasons she was selected to receive the Crimson Spirit Award.

November 2016

Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson, Administrative Manager in the School of Design and Construction (SDC), has been selected as he recipient of the October 2016 Crimson Spirit Award. Carrie has tackled every challenge with enthusiasm and accuracy. Her knowledge and abilities, along with her can-do attitude, provide a high level of trust to her coworkers. It is for her enthusiasm, accuracy, and ability to adapt to any situation that she was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

October 2016

Ning Hsu

Ning Hsu, Fiscal Tech 2 with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was nominated for her exemplary service and dedication to resolving issues and completing tasks. Ning’s patience, hard work, and knowledge of university policies make her a reliable team member for faculty, staff, and students. Consistently going out of her way to accommodate others and going above and beyond what is expected of her are just a few of the reasons that Ning was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

September 2016

Lauren Wells

Lauren Wells, Fiscal Specialist 2 for the School of Mechanical and Material Engineering, has been selected as the February 2016 Crimson Spirit Award recipient. Coworkers have described Lauren as someone who “learns quickly and is relied on heavily for her expertise” as well as someone who is always energetic and cheerful. It is for her excellent organization skills, positive attitude, and expertise that she was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

February 2016

Wendi Finkbeiner

Wendi Finkbeiner, Procurement and Supply Specialist 2 for WSU Tri-Cities, has been selected as the January 2016 Crimson Spirit Award recipient. Wendi was nominated for her outstanding problem solving skills and willingness to tackle problems head-on. It is for her positive can-do attitude and leadership abilities that she was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

January 2016

Kent Miller

Kent Miller, Study Director for the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center, was nominated for his consistently hardworking attitude and creative approach to problem solving. Coworkers describe Kent as always willing to lend a helping hand, and someone they are continuously able to count on. It is for his exceptional work ethic, willingness to help others, and overall integrity that he was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

August 2015

Jacqueline Southwick

Jacqueline Southwick, Fiscal Specialist for the School of Mechanical and Material Engineering, was nominated for her can-do attitude and constant enthusiasm for helping others. Coworkers describe Jacqueline as an exceptionally positive person who is highly knowledgeable in her field. It is for her excellence and superior quality of service that she was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

February 2015

Matthew Long

Matthew Long, Info Tech Specialist (Enterprise Systems), was nominated for his outstanding level of service and reliability. “Within ESG, Matthew is known for following through on assignments and ensuring that his work is done completely.” Matthew is described as having a strong working relationship with other departments, as well as being extremely likable and effective. It is for his outstanding quality of service that he was selected for the Crimson Spirit Award.

January 2015

The Crimson Spirit Award is a monthly recognition award for individual employees who provided exceptional service and exceeded expectations while representing WSU to internal or external constituencies. Awardees receive a unique crystal plaque, recognition by peers, achievement published in campus-wide media, and university-wide acknowledgement at the annual Employee Recognition Reception.

Awardees exemplify university values and promote strategic goals through:

  • Expressing genuine interest
  • Anticipating needs and taking appropriate action
  • Following up to ensure issue is resolved
  • Exceeding expectations
  • Providing superior quality service
  • Creatively solving problems
  • Presenting noteworthy extra effort
  • Providing outstanding contributions to the WSU community
  • Other superior efforts in support of university strategic goals


  • Nominees must be current and benefits eligible Washington State University staff, faculty, or administrative professional employees from any University work location.
  • Nominees may receive the award once every three years.
  • University affiliates are not eligible for this award.


  • Submit a nomination with the nomination form.
  • Anyone can nominate: WSU faculty, staff, students, or community members.
  • Nominations will remain anonymous.
  • Winners are selected by the Crimson Spirit Award Committee.

Previous Crimson Spirit Award Recipients

2007 Recipients
2008 Recipients
2009 Recipients
2010 Recipients
2011 Recipients
2012 Recipients
2013 Recipients
2014 Recipients
2015 Recipients

Crimson Spirit | Customer Service Initiative

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