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staff member receives award
David Kessler (left) with Katherine Calucci, director of academic advising,
College of Liberal and Fine Arts (Photo by Mark McClendon)

Rising Star Award: David Kessler

By Shelley Kilpatrick
Student Writer, College of Liberal and Fine Arts

(April 15, 2007)--David Kessler, academic advisor I in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts Advising Center, will be honored with the Rising Star Award, one of five that will be presented at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 17 at the UTSA Staff Excellence and Service Awards ceremony in the University Center Retama Auditorium (2.02.02), 1604 Campus.

The five Staff Excellence Awards recognize excellent work performance in emerging leadership, dynamic leadership, teamwork, extraordinary initiative and overall excellence.

This year's additional award winners are:

  • Leadership Award: Jeanette (Jenny) Stokes, senior administrative associate, Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching
  • Team Spirit Award: Office of Travel Management staff members Lupita Reynaga, accounting technician; Perian (Perry) Griner, accounting technician; and Celine Weidner, account clerk III
  • Extra Mile Award: Patricia Dunn, educational specialist III, UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures
  • Order of the Roadrunner Award: John Soudah, director of academic computing, College of Business and Office of Information Technology

In one of five award spotlights featured on UTSA Today, the Rising Star Award recognizes a staff member with less than three years of continuous service with the university who has made significant contributions to his or her area or to the university community and has demonstrated improvement through cooperation, initiative and a take-charge attitude.

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David Kessler

Rising Star Award winner

When David Kessler started at UTSA, he advised psychology majors, and after only two years he learned the details of all the degree programs in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA). He now is the only academic adviser I who can assist students, no matter what their major.

Kessler consistently demonstrates his concern and compassion for students by not only helping them to succeed academically, but also by ensuring they know UTSA is the right choice for them with all the necessary resources to make their student life a positive, life-affirming experience.

He has given presentations, staffed booths and created publications to help represent the COLFA Advising Center to new and prospective students at events such as UTSA Roadrunner Days, UTSA Day and Spring Fling. Because Kessler is always willing to offer his time to help, the staff can count on him to perform these functions each and every year.

Kessler also has taken under his wing a previously invisible segment of UTSA, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students. Just one semester after he volunteered to serve as a student adviser for the Alpha Lambda Tau fraternity, the group improved its overall academic standing, removed itself from academic probation and is now among the GPA leaders within the UTSA Interfraternity Council. Kessler also helped establish the UTSA Ally Program, designed to create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment for the GLBT student population, and its membership has grown from 15 to nearly 80 members campus-wide.

According to one of his nominators for the award, "In the last few years, I can honestly say David has changed my life and career by exposing me to different facets of UTSA that I, an alumnus, never knew existed. I came from the generation that believed UTSA was just a commuter campus, and I remained in that mindset until he took me under his wing and demonstrated that there is more to the university experience than just going to class, getting good grades and then moving on."

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UTSA employees are invited to attend the event hosted by Sonia Martinez, vice president for university advancement; Rosalie Ambrosino, provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Jeffrey Kantor, associate vice president for research. The ceremony also will include remarks by President Ricardo Romo.

Downtown Campus and Institute of Texan Cultures staff members can attend the event utilizing VIA buses 93 or 94 at no charge by showing their UTSACard.

The ceremony will include retiree recognition, service pin awards for 5 to 30 years and refreshments. Twenty-five staff members will be honored on their retirements and 274 staff members will receive UT System service awards for the 2006 calendar year.

Read more about the Staff Excellence Awards and previous winners at the Human Resources Web site.

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