Laura Emch named winner of BGSU’s Ferrari Award

BOWLING GREEN, O.—When a need arises and the call for help is issued, a leader answers “I will.” Laura Emch has been stepping up to fill campus needs throughout her 33 years at Bowling Green State University. The BGSU Administrative Staff Council (ASC) recognized her dedication at its annual fall reception by presenting her the Michael R. Ferrari Award—the highest honor for administrative staff.

With the award came a $1,000 check, an engraved plaque and a reserved parking place for a year.

Criteria for the Ferrari Award include innovation and initiative, performance, and relationship with the University community. Emch, a Woodville resident and associate director of Student Financial Aid for systems at BGSU, has more than exemplified all those attributes, her nominators wrote. In addition, she has used them for the benefit of students and her fellow administrative staff members.

On many occasions, Emch has stepped in to fill a position. According to Mary Beth Zachary, head of access services in Jerome Library and former ASC chair, “When her staff needed a leader for an interim period, even though it meant doing her old job plus the new job, Laura answered in the affirmative. When her community needed her skills as a PTO treasurer, Laura answered yes. When the chair of a national conference to which Laura has made exceptional contributions had to step down at an inopportune time, Laura stepped up and ‘took on a major role in conference planning,’ according to the then-president. When our organization needed leadership due to an unexpected resignation, she found the time and energy. She once again said, ‘Yes, I will.’”

Describing Emch as “one of the most positive and enthusiastic professionals that I have ever worked with,” Admissions Director Gary Swegan said “she has been a steadying influence and mentor to many financial aid professionals. ... Her leadership has provided stability across a number of Student Financial Aid administrations, and has allowed BGSU to do some very exciting things.”

Always aware of the student perspective, she has helped students moving into the residence halls and tried to ensure that all students’ financial aid needs are addressed, even during times of scholarship modifications, wrote financial aid Director Gregory Guzmán.

Never one to shy away from difficult tasks, Emch took the initiative to plan for the conversion of the old financial aid system to the new PeopleSoft system, even as the former SFA director was leaving. At the same time, a review of freshman scholarships was under way, and, again, Emch “was a key contributor in completing this project,” wrote Dr. Alberto González, former vice provost for academic services.

Having worked with her over the years on a number of difficult and demanding financial aid projects, Jerry Ameling, a systems analyst in the BG@100 office, said he has observed Emch’s “ability to work hard and creatively, her willingness to go above and beyond to get the job done, and her positive interaction with staff across campus,” always with the goal of eliminating barriers to student service.

Since the days when she was in the student loan collections office, “Laura has created new ideas, improved the work environment and contributed to bettering efficiency and effectiveness,” wrote Kimberly Fleshman, program coordinator in the Student Technology Center. Emch’s innovations include creating the collections “call center,” which won BGSU a national award, and a collection system that garnered state recognition.

Her service to ASC (she has been chair, chair-elect and co-chair as well as a member of numerous committees) is a reflection of her commitment to the growth and development of the University and her own professionalism, Fleshman said.

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(Posted October 15, 2008 )