Donna Williams receives Gloria White service award

Employees enjoy food, games, good company at Staff Day

Since Donna Williams arrived at WUSTL in 1972, there have been many changes at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Williams, business manager for Engineering Student Services, has worked under five deans and seen new departments and institutes founded, merged and renamed.

“I can honestly say I’ve been here longer than some of the buildings in engineering — and I don’t mean Whitaker or Brauer,” Williams said, laughing.

Williams was recognized with the Gloria W. White Distinguished Service Award in a May 24 ceremony in Edison Theatre. The award, which is presented annually and comes with a $1,000 prize, provides recognition to a nonacademic staff member for exceptional effort and contributions that have resulted in the betterment of the university.

Through her 38 years at the School of Engineering, Williams has been a steady, reliable force at the school. In her current position, Williams serves as financial manager for Engineering Student Services, monitoring and ensuring office resources are used efficiently and productively.

Williams also works with myriad engineering student groups at WUSTL — such as Engineers Without Borders, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the SAE, and the IEEE — to help students apply for and manage funding.

“She has the ability to work well with people — all kinds of people, faculty, student and staff — of diverse backgrounds and temperaments. She goes out of her way to help people and has the ability to come up with answers to all kind of inquiries,” a colleague wrote of Williams.

Staff members enjoy a lunch and leisurely afternoon on campus on Staff Day.

“If you look at the major changes in the organizational entities within the School of Engineering that she has been involved in, it staggers the imagination. And through it all, she has been the steadying hand — the glue that held things together.”

Williams, who began her career as a secretary at the School of Engineering, also serves as adviser to the WUSTL student chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers, providing mentoring and leadership to the group and lending her time and talents to activities such as the Career Fair, the Pre-College Initiative, Confluence Academy Tutoring and TORCH Center Outreach.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with and assisting some amazing students, faculty and staff here,” Williams told the crowd gathered for the ceremony.

For a video of Williams’ acceptance speech at the ceremony, visit

At the awards presentation, employees were recognized for 10, 15, 20, 26, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service. For a list of employees honored for years of service, visit

After the ceremony, employees enjoyed a barbecue lunch in Bowles Plaza and participated in a variety of afternoon activities, including bingo and a walking tour of campus. Many won prizes at Staff Day through drawings later that afternoon.

Kevin Lowder

Sherman Shaw of Accounting Services perfects his golf game during Staff Day.

Sports competition trophies also were awarded. The Public Affairs team won the softball tournament. Rob Andersson and Dan Santa Cruz won the washers competition.

A team from the Brown School took the volleyball tournament trophy. Winners of the golf tournament were Mark Weinrich and Joanne Zap (co-ed), Joe Angeles and Larry Kindbom (men’s), and Dannette Hutton and Sarah Miller (women’s).

Dale Abernathie, Jeanetta Nixon and Kim Olivastro each won tickets to an upcoming St. Louis Cardinals game, and Carmen Merriweather, Chris Mitchell and Dan Scholes won autographed baseball memorabilia.

Paula Canoy won a $25 Applebee’s gift certificate; John Koerkenmeier won a $25 gift certificate to Chili’s, Macaroni Grill or Maggiano’s; Kay Komotos won a $25 gift certificate to the Boathouse Forest Park; and Elaine Murray received a $25 gift certificate and a case of root beer from Fitz’s American Grill & Bottling Works. Jill Carnaghi, PhD, and Mary Zabriskie each won a $25 gift certificate to Ibby’s in the Danforth University Center.

Maureen Kleekamp won two tickets to three 2010-11 OVATIONS Series performances, and Joann Rich, Ginger Willenborg and Dave Yackey each won two tickets for The Black Rep. Scott Lorsbach won a Bluetooth headset.

Monica McKenna and Tom Lauman won hotel and restaurant packages for the Drury Inn & Suites Near Forest Park and the Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch, respectively. Lucas Heberlie won one night and breakfast for two at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel St. Louis.

Carol McKenna won a Saturday night’s stay at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, Katie Sawyer a night’s stay at the Crowne Plaza St. Louis-Clayton, and Neal Schaeffer a night’s stay at the Moonrise Hotel in the Loop. Sandra Devereaux won a weekend package at the Marriott St. Louis West. Rosetta Saputo won a Sunday brunch for two at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.

But Staff Day was about more than just winning prizes and playing games. Many WUSTL employees thought to give back during their day of relaxation and fun, donating 145 pounds of food to the St. Louis Area Food Bank May 24. The 145 pounds of food will provide 116 meals for St. Louis-area needy.