President's Commission on Student Centeredness

September Students First Award Winners Announced


September Students First Award winners announced

ByMegan Lewis

The Students First Award winners for the month of September were Kate Abu-Absi, director of arts, living and learning community, and Dr. Brian Randolph, professor of civil engineering and associate dean of the College of Engineering.

The Students First Award recognizes University employees who go beyond the call of duty to help UT students succeed.

Abu-Absi’s nominator was the mother of sophomore Patrick Miller. Mrs. Miller said, “One of the main reasons Patrick chose The University of Toledo was the positive experience he had visiting Ottawa East residence hall and the personal tour and interview with Kate Abu-Absi.”

This past summer when Patrick was in a theater production in Cleveland, he and his family were touched to see that Abu-Absi came to watch his performance. Her professionalism and enthusiasm make her an asset to UT, said Mrs. Miller.

Abu-Absi said most of her students are in their first year of college and away from home for the first time. “I give them a support system outside of their peers,” she said. “I serve as someone who is here to help them academically and emotionally so they succeed.

” Randolph’s nominator, Dr. Carol Bresnahan, provost and executive vice president at the College of New Jersey and former UT vice provost of academic affairs, said, “His patience, calmness and professionalism are models for academic administrators. He always gets back to me within minutes, proving that — whatever else he is doing — he puts the students first.”

Bresnahan added, “His program also serves as a model for what UT should be doing educationally for all students: offering good advising, a strong orientation, experiential learning and group work.”

“I didn’t see it coming at all — it was a truly gratifying experience,” Randolph said. “I really enjoy working with students and seeing them succeed. If I can make their lives a little easier, it makes me happy.”


The contest winners received a $75 gift certificate to the UT Bookstore and a $25 gift certificate to Starbuck's. They also will be eligible to win a $1,500 cash prize as the student-centered employee of the year.



Nominate a Peer

  • The President's Commission on Student Centeredness is now recognizing University employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to help students and ensure their success.
  • The contest winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to the UT Bookstore, a $25 gift certificate to Starbuck's and a specially designed pin.
  • They also will be eligible to win $1,500 as the student-centered employee of the year.
  • Nomination Form
Last Updated: 6/26/15