Crimson Spirit Award

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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.

Jason Handy

Jason Handy is a Fiscal Technician 2 in the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB). Since starting with SMB in fall 2017, he has adapted to changing University policies and excelled in various support functions, including managing the school’s purchasing, travel, scheduling, and administrative activities. He is conscientious and thorough, finding balance as he meets the needs of faculty and staff while adhering to SMB, College of Veterinary Medicine, and University policies. Mr. Handy excels in every aspect of his job, meeting timelines with room to spare, solving problems, and implementing efficiencies. Mr. Handy’s commitment to the University; his professional and courteous assistance; the friendly and knowledgeable responses he offers to all; and his willingness to help others, make him a most deserving recipient of this award.

November 2018

Susan Lundquist

Susan Lundquist, Director of Administrative Services for the WSU Libraries, has worked at the WSU Libraries for more than 40 years. Ms. Lundquist manages financial and facility operations for the Libraries. She is knowledgeable and careful and provides fast, accurate, excellent service to the administration, staff, faculty, and patrons of the Libraries. Ms. Lundquist has gone above and beyond over the last few years in developing and improving systems and processes for financial and facilities operations. The dean and associate deans count on her to provide input and ideas that offer long-term solutions to the Libraries’ administrative challenges. As the Director of Administrative Services, Ms. Lundquist is vital to the daily operations of the Libraries. WSU is fortunate that she has chosen to devote her entire career to the WSU Libraries!

October 2018

Sheryl DeShields

Sheryl DeShields, secretary senior in the Department of Psychology, received the September 2018 Crimson Spirit Award. One nominator called Ms. DeShields “the heart and soul of our talented and close-knit department.” Another nominator simply notes “Outstanding in every way. I have had experience with at least twenty different secretaries in two different colleges, and Sheryl is the best that I have seen.” Ms. DeShields’ colleagues honor her for her noteworthy extra efforts and commitment. She promotes the work and accomplishments of the Psychology Department, provides creative problem-solving, and is unfailingly helpful!

September 2018

Heather Smith

Heather Smith is a graphic designer senior in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Ms. Smith is the sole graphic designer for CVM. In her two years on staff, she has created branding guidelines and tool kits to help others best present the college. She exceeds expectations by generating numerous social media elements and providing website design input, digital sign management, guidelines and handbooks, full campaign tool kits, infographics, posters, and more. Ms. Smith never tells clients “no” and always meets deadlines. Her to-do list would overwhelm many, yet she remains positive, upbeat, and creative. Ms. Smith’s nominator notes that “Her ability to use her experience to better the overall experience of WSU and the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine is second to none.”

August 2018

Fran Meserve

Fran Meserve is principal assistant in the School of Music. Ms. Meserve’s nominator says “She does not hesitate to follow up with colleagues and students to ensure tasks are fully executed. Anyone who visits the music office receives the highest quality of care and service from a truly high-quality individual. Fran is particularly adept at making sure all the ‘behind-the-scenes’ operations of our unit run smoothly…. The students, the people to whom we dedicate our efforts, also benefit tremendously from Fran’s skill set, keen intellect, and warm, genuine personality.” Ms. Meserve is recognized for her creative problem-solving skills and commitment to anticipating and meeting needs.

July 2018

Christopher Cree

Christopher Cree, research development and grant administrator at WSU Tri-Cities, is the June 2018 Crimson Spirit honoree. Dr. Cree’s nominator says “During the four years that Christopher has worked on the Tri-Cities campus, he has consistently gone above and beyond to help faculty and staff develop competitive grant proposals.” Dr. Cree knows exactly how to navigate the “often confusing rules, regulations, and processes that apply to grants and sponsored projects…. He consistently exemplifies a level of selflessness and a dedication to the concept of cooperation and teamwork that is unmatched.” Dr. Cree is recognized for his expertise and dedication, and for always going above and beyond the call of duty. His nominator concludes “Our campus relies on him heavily.”

June 2018

Alecia Hoene

Alecia Hoene, academic coordinator/advisor 2 for the School of the Environment, CAHNRS, is recognized for supporting the integration of four B.S. degree programs, eight majors, and two distinct advising systems into a single advising program. Alecia’s dedication, patience, and supportive demeanor have been a key foundation of the SOE undergraduate program. “She has been there for all of us, while never forgetting that sometimes her world must stop to support a single student in crisis.” Another nominator notes “In the past year, Alecia was the main point of contact for all SOE’s faculty and students regarding all issues related to undergraduate education and has played a vital role in assisting our graduate students.”

May 2018

Kari Sampson

Kari Sampson, college recruiter for CAHNRS academic programs, is advisor to the CAHNRS Ambassadors and was instrumental in creating the Ignite program, which identifies outstanding academic recruits. Kari also directs the Spark program, which brings high schools, WSU Research and Extension Centers, and stakeholders together to inform potential students about opportunities in the agricultural sciences. Kari serves as point person for articulation agreements with community colleges. Many of the programs Kari develops are “the first of their kind and are often copied by other colleges at the University. She is tremendously innovative and always looking for new ways to communicate with students.”

April 2018

Elly Sweet

Elly Sweet is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences, WSU Tri-Cities. She serves as the faculty advisor for all certified majors in biology, general studies in biological sciences, and pre-health at WSU Tri-Cities. This means that, in addition to her 3/3 teaching load, she advises some 80+ students every semester. It’s clear she cares deeply about those she mentors. Her nominator ranks her “very near the top—and easily within the top 5—of the multiple dozens of faculty I’ve worked with as a teaching colleague and administrator over the years.” Elly Sweet is honored for exceptional mentoring and outstanding contributions to the WSU community.

March 2018

Roseanne August

Roseanne August, Academic Coordinator 1 in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, received ringing praise from four nominators. When she started at WSU, she was briefly the only advisor for more than 1,000 undergraduates. “With no one to give her historical contexts,” Roseanne “took over the advising load,” oriented the two advisors hired after her, and “rebuilt trust and confidence in the advising experience.” As a nominator comments, “students are having such a great experience with her as an advisor, they are telling their friends, which is contributing to the steady growth of our programs.” Roseanne August is honored for exceeding expectations, superior quality service, and demonstrating genuine interest in each student she advises.

February 2018

Anjie Bertramson

Anjie Bertramson just joined the Office of Experiential Services, College of Pharmacy, as a Student Services Coordinator/Advisor 3. Her nomination recognizes her stellar work in International Programs. Her nominator praises her initiative with the First Generation Abroad program. With retention advisors in programs including First Scholars and Passport to College, Anjie built a program that qualifies Pell-Grant-eligible students for the Gilman International Scholarship. In addition to ensuring the program met the scholarship requirements, Anjie and her colleagues created trainings to help students understand application requirements and reviewer priorities. These efforts helped many WSU students receive this award, resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of scholarships and a year with one of the highest Gilman recipient numbers in WSU history. Anjie Bertramson is recognized for outstanding contributions to the WSU community.

January 2018

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 an 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 the University’s 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.
  • Nominations will be considered once but may be resubmitted.
  • 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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