Blandina Cardenas and Wanda Guntz
Blandina Cardenas notifies Wanda Guntz of her award.

Rising Star Award: Wanda Guntz

(May 27, 2004)--Wanda Guntz, administrative assistant in the UTSA Department of Health and Kinesiology, will be honored Friday, May 28 with the Rising Star Award, one of five that will be presented at the UTSA Staff Excellence Awards ceremony.

UTSA Tri-Campus staff members are invited to attend the event hosted by President Ricardo Romo at 2:30 p.m., Friday, May 28, in the University Center Retama Auditorium (2.02.02) at the 1604 Campus.

The Rising Star Award recognizes employees who have made significant contributions to his or her area or the university community and are considered emerging leaders.

The ceremony will include other staff recognition, 5-35 year service pin recipients and refreshments. Thirty-six staff members will be honored on their retirements and nearly 187 staff members will receive service awards. Service awards are for the 2003 calendar year.

The five Staff Excellence Awards recognize excellent work performance in emerging leadership, dynamic leadership, teamwork, extraordinary initiative and overall excellence. A monetary award of $1,000 accompanies each Staff Excellence Award, with the award money divided among recipients in the case of a group award. Staff Excellence finalists were chosen by an 11 staff-member committee, which reviewed 93 nominations.

The five Staff Excellence Awards are: Rising Star Award, Leadership Award, Team Spirit Award, Extra Mile Award and Order of the Roadrunner Award.

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Wanda Guntz
Rising Star Award winner

Wanda Guntz was hired as the first administrative assistant when the Department of Health and Kinesiology was established in fall 2001. She was the only support-staff member for two years and managed a considerable workload in support of more than 40 faculty members.

She is responsible for bookkeeping of research grant accounts, coordinating faculty research committees, greeting visitors to the department and arranging faculty travel.

"Her diligent work has made the break-in period of our newborn department smooth and successful," said Associate Professor John Zhang. "Before I came to UTSA, I was a faculty member at another university and I have never seen a staff member like Wanda working so hard, so efficient and fulfilling such a heavy workload without any complaints."

According to Zhang, there are more than 400 undergraduate students and approximately 30 graduate students in the department, and all of them know Guntz.

"Whenever the students come to our department office, Wanda always gives them a big smile and helps them out the best she can," added Zhang.
"Wanda became our nucleus," said Lecturer Virginia Trummer. "Her organizational skills have distinguished the department within the College of Education and Human Development as one that has their act together. Juggling schedules, budgets, catalog changes and everyday operations smoothly is the norm."

"The entire health and kinesiology department has climbed a steep learning curve in terms of academic administration," said Blandina Cardenas, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, "but Wanda Guntz has made the climb seem effortless with her consistently positive outlook and a commitment to service that is unparalleled by anyone in my experience."

--Tim Brownlee