She might tell you otherwise, but recognition for Dana Hughes was long overdue.
Hughes, administrative assistant in the Graduate School, recently received the 2018 Patricia S. Siebrasse Administrative Professionals Award for Excellence. The award goes to someone who demonstrates continued commitment and operational efficiency within their organization and provides meaningful contributions to NIU.
“I was honored to receive the award, and I was just humbled to even be standing up there with the other nominees, along with Pat Siebrasse,” Hughes said.
Hughes has worked at NIU for more than 25 years in various administrative professional classifications. She first came to NIU in January 1992 as a secretary in the Foreign Languages and Literatures department. She joined the Graduate School team about seven years ago.
Why hasn’t she been honored sooner?
In the words of one of her colleagues who recommended her for the award: “Well, it’s because every one of us who has broached the topic of an award nomination with her has been met with friendly threats, and that says something deeply important about Dana’s commitment to her job.”
“She comes to work every day thinking about how she can do her job well and improve the operational effectiveness of her office, but she doesn’t do any of it for external recognition,” the letter goes on to say. “She does it all simply for the sake of the job itself and she deserves recognition for it, whether she’s comfortable receiving it or not.”
The nominator wrote about never being disappointed upon hiring Hughes.
“Dana plays the role of an office partner–a collaborator, co-conspirator and colleague. Her role is a high-stress role. There are about 4,500 graduate students, nearly 9,000 applicants a year and almost 700 graduate faculty who teach those students. Dana’s role is by far the most responsible and stressful of any. She is relied upon to serve as the assistant to the dean.”
Another letter writer said Hughes has served with distinction NIU’s largest college, which encompasses 18 departments, five centers and one division. It, by far, has the largest faculty and the highest student enrollment of any college on campus.
The letter writer wrote, “If you’re looking for ‘meaningful contributions to NIU,’ there you have them. No contributions could be more meaningful than those.”