Staff members honored for service to university and beyond

Campuses, system represented among Staff Council award winners
  • Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
    Honorees Karthik Chigururu, left, Ida Dilwood and Robyn Copeland (not pictured: Carol Calkins).
  • Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
    Carol Calkins, CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus, with Neil Krauss.
  • Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
    Robyn Copeland, CU-Boulder, with Kelly Fox.
  • Ida Dilwood, UCCS, with Pam Shockley-Zalabak.
  • Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
    Karthik Chigururu, system administration, with Leonard Dinegar.

Four staff members were honored for exemplary service to their campuses and the community during the University of Colorado Staff Council’s annual conference April 8 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

The 2016 Service Excellence Award winners, from the campuses and system administration, were recognized during a luncheon attended by nominators, honorees’ family and friends and campus administration representatives. Each honoree receives a $1,000 cash award.

Those honored were:

  • Carol Calkins, CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Robyn Copeland, CU-Boulder
  • Ida Dilwood, UCCS
  • Karthik Chigururu, system administration

CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus

Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
Calkins and Krauss

“When we think of service excellence, we think of a number of critical attributes: someone who resolves problems, is responsive, is respectful, is respected, demonstrates honesty and trustworthiness, works efficiently and uses resources wisely, produces high-quality products and delivers hope for much-less expected results,” said Neil Krauss, Director of Outreach and Initiatives, Chancellor’s Office, CU Anschutz, before introducing Carol Calkins.

Calkins, who has worked in facilities management for more than 20 years, and is director of Facilities Support Services, heads a variety of facilities operations and support services, including custodial, building quality assurance proctors, grounds and landscape services, roads and parking lot maintenance, and fire and life safety – just to name a few.

“The reason I am nominating Carol for this award is because of the efforts she makes behind the scenes that few people are even aware of,” wrote nominator Kerrie Bathje, facilities manager. “Without a doubt, she deserves this award.”

Beyond her official duties, Calkins has made major contributions to the university. She has been a member of the CU Denver Title IX Review Committee since its inception, and in a voluntary role, reviews investigation reports of complaints of sexual harassment. When she heard that new mothers needed a safe and secure area to pump breast milk, she worked with members of the campus community to increase the number of lactation rooms available to nine from two.

In addition, Calkins serves as co-chair of the Commencement Committee. “She always tells newly involved staff that ‘Commencement is like putting on nine weddings in a 24-hour period,’” wrote Bathje in the nomination form. Calkins has created a smooth procedure for the event that includes a detailed, hour-by-hour schedule of duties and a photographic record of the site and inventory of needed items for the event.

She also has served on a variety of committees and has been instrumental in developing and updating various policies and procedures for Facilities Management.

Outside the university, Calkins has been “an invaluable asset to the CampExperience community,” said Betsy Wiersma, founder of the volunteer organization that focuses on education, inspiration and connection to support women’s empowerment. Calkins’ work extends beyond the state. In 2015, she helped gather 400 pounds of donated books, school supplies, shoes and clothing and led a volunteer trip to Project Mercy, an Ethiopian orphanage and school.

“It is an honor for me to know and to have the opportunity to work with such a remarkable and special person like Carol,” Bathje wrote. “She truly embodies all of the values of a person of service and a champion of those in need.”

Calkins also is a published poet and read a poem she authored about volunteering. She also shared what service to others means to her: sharing with gratitude without any expectations, being mindful and aware of what is around you so that you can see and anticipate the needs of others, moving forward and taking action, understanding that optimism is key success, and having fun and keeping a smile on your face.


Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
Copeland and Kelly Fox

During finals week at the Wise Law Library, stressed-out students can take a break with a friendly canine as part of the “Paws to Refresh” Therapy Dog Program. Robyn Copeland has coordinated the meeting of man and mutt for the past three years.

The circulation manager at the law library, Copeland oversees a team of 21 assistants who help run the circulation desk and other day-to-day operations. Her numerous duties include marketing, training and providing research assistance to patrons of the library.

She is a member of the Boulder Campus Staff Council and has served on the Outreach and Events committee, assisting with special events including breakfasts and barbecues. She is a member of the CU Advocates program, helping raise awareness about issues affecting higher education.

Outside of work, she has served as an usher for the Chautauqua summer music program, volunteers with multiple food drives in the Boulder-Denver area, and also volunteers at a local public library to help with the literacy needs of adults. For the past year, Copeland has spent five hours every Saturday caring for a 97-year-old man by performing many life duties – preparing meals, housekeeping and providing companionship.  

“For the past several years, I’ve been desiring to do something more meaningful in my life and I’ve succeeded,” Copeland told the gathering. “Serving on CU’s Staff Council has allowed me to grow and contribute to the law school and the entire campus more than I’ve ever imagined. I’m hoping to find some new causes in the community to donate my time to. One of my favorite life quotes is from Mahatma Ghandi: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ And that describes me perfectly.”

System administration

Staff members honored for service to university and beyond
Chigururu and Leonard Dinegar

If you can access your favorite databases without trouble, it’s likely that you have Karthik Chigururu to thank. Chigururu joined University Information Systems in 2011 and is one of three database administrators (DBA) and is responsible for everything from applying technical patches to keeping the system running smoothly to configuring a disaster recovery setup. He also has played a role in the Elevate project.

He is willing to extend his work day in order to complete assigned projects, according to his nominator, Yuki Busch, a system database administrator. Busch said Chigururu also is committed to his fellow team members. “His work ethic greatly contributed to the fact that a three-person (currently down to two) DBA team can manage complex database systems and doubled workload despite the fact that we used to work as a five- or six-member team.”

He has volunteered for the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Groups committee to select the abstract for the group’s annual conference and rated submitted papers for the usefulness to the DBA community. He also has won several awards for his excellent customer service approach and an award as professional of the year.

“I don’t have words to express my feelings,” Chigururu said. “I am very glad to be a part of CU. I am fortunate to have a wonderful team and leadership that keeps me motivated.”


Dilwood and Shockley-Zalabak

Ida Dilwood is passionate about helping people. As director of Disability Services at UCCS, she works with students to provide alternative accommodations when necessary, and collaborates with faculty to ensure needed adjustments are made. She coordinates services for visual- or hearing-impaired students and also oversees the Testing Center used by all students needing testing accommodations.

“The demand on this center has increased approximately 100 percent each year for the past few years and she has managed to find a way to meet that growing need,” said Stephanie Hanenberg, who nominated Dilwood.

As chair of the UCCS Blood Drive Committee, Dilwood coordinates several blood drives each year. When issues cropped up that could have canceled the event, Dilwood researched other options in order for the drives to move forward. Dilwood also has organized a staff team to participate in the American Heart Association walk for the past six years. Some of her passion comes from the fact that her son required open-heart surgery and a subsequent blood transfusion as an infant.

Dilwood has served on the UCCS PESA board and UCSC and assists in planning the UCCS annual staff luncheon and other events. She also has served on numerous university committees.

As part of her commitment to those with disabilities, she is involved in a Colorado consortium of disability service directors, and the professional organization, AHEAD. She formed an ADA Task Force on campus to audit services provided and determine whether those services could be delivered more efficiently.

“Ida has made incredible contributions. It’s that caring spirit, that sense of commitment to making not only the university a better place, but the world around her a better place,” said UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak.

A devoted mother of two, Dilwood is active in school activities and events. She and her husband, Joe, have coached their son’s basketball team.

“I know that UCCS has a lot of great people and I am humbled by this award,” Dilwood said. “I’ve been blessed with supervisors who support my passion and have given me the opportunity to be a contributing member of the university and community.”

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