Student Affairs

Student Affairs announces Staff Excellence Award winners for 2021


Staff from the Division of Student Affairs celebrated 2021 inside Hendrix Student Center during its annual Winter Social on Thursday. Following a catered breakfast, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Chris Miller led a short program that included recognition of staff excellence awards.

“We had many deserving nominees for our Staff Excellence Awards this year,” Miller said. “In fact, our entire team is to be applauded for their efforts in helping the University successfully transition to normal campus operations again this Fall. Congratulations to all of these deserving recipients for the work they do supporting our students.”

Four individuals were recognized in accordance with the division’s core themes: health, safety and wellness; student learning; inclusive excellence; and staff experience.

Kathy Cauthen received the individual award for health, safety and wellness. She serves as assistant director of the Office of Advocacy and Success and is vital to student support services through the CARE Network, Dean on Call program and as a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team.

Matt Swank was honored in the area of student learning. As the art director within Student Affairs Publications, he took on additional responsibility over the past year as a supervisor of student interns — helping facilitate meetings, conducting trainings and performance reviews.

Trish Robinson earned the division’s individual award for inclusive excellence. The assistant director for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life serves as an advisor to historically underrepresented fraternities and sororities belonging to the Multicultural Greek Council and National Panhellenic Council. She also co-chairs the division’s inclusive excellence committee.

Betty Hayes took home the individual award for staff experience. She serves as an administrative assistant with the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement and manages resources, logistics and customer service — while also fielding calls and answering emails from concerned students and families on a regular basis.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) was named Team of the Year. CAPS successfully navigated a return to campus operations in the Fall semester, balancing an increase in the demand for mental healthcare while continuing to offer the option of remote service delivery. CAPS is critical to the health, safety and wellness of Clemson’s student population.

Jason Lazar earned the second annual Student Affairs Partnership Award. He serves as the director of Littlejohn Coliseum for Clemson Athletics. His venue has been an integral part of Student Affairs programming in 2021, including graduation, New Student Orientation and Panhellenic recruitment. Additionally, Lazar’s flexible approach to venue logistics has been a big part of weekly COVID-19 testing among students and employees.

Miller presented a special award during one portion of the program. He lauded the efforts of Robert Donato, who serves as chief strategy officer for the University. Donato was presented with the 2021 Student Affairs Inspiration Award.

“We could not do what we do without the support of campus partners like Robert Donato,” Miller said. “He has been instrumental in our testing protocols and heavily involved in our collaboration between MUSC and Student Health Services. He is a tremendous champion of our work and most deserving of this honor.”