From the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Students in the University and the President of Student Government
June 16, 2005
I have never in my life met a person who has so much compassion for others as Tyjuan demonstrates on a daily basis. Tyjuan has touched my life in so many ways. He has shown me the value of a friendly smile and warm greeting.
The above comment was one of many tributes to Tyjuan Edwards, the Identification and Privileges Assistant at Regenstein Library and the 2005 winner of the Marlene F. Richman Award for Excellence and Dedication in Service to Students. Marlene Richman served students with extraordinary commitment and caring during her career at the University that spanned four decades and included serving as Resident Master of Burton-Judson and 36 years as a CAPS career counselor.
As Steve Klass, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, announced on the occasion of Marlene’s retirement in October 2002,
The Marlene F. Richman Award recognizes University of Chicago staff members who demonstrate the highest levels of dedication, care and compassion in the service of students. The winner of this award will exemplify the qualities demonstrated by Marlene F. Richman during her decades of untiring effort to guide students in the articulation and achievement of their dreams, to be a true friend and leader to colleagues, and to promote students' happiness and well-being.
Over 60 students submitted letters of nomination for 17 full-time staff members eligible to receive the award – faculty members and senior management were specifically excluded so that the award would recognize University staff members who work directly with students outside the classroom. The selection committee included undergraduate and graduate students, members of the University Dean of Students senior staff, and a divisional Dean of Students.
Undergraduate and graduate students from all departments and disciplines submitted nominations for Tyjuan, praising his tireless energy. A graduate student wrote of Tyjuan’s warmth and attentiveness: “One is never made to feel uncomfortable or bothersome when asking Tyjuan for assistance. On several occasions I have seen him offering directions to campus visitors and new students out on the sidewalk during his break, and even personally escorting them to their destinations. It’s quite telling that Tyjuan has an extraordinary amount of friends here on campus; in fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say he’s something of a campus celebrity, greeted with hugs or waves or car honks or playful nicknames everywhere one sees him. Certainly only someone who is truly exceptional in his kindness and generosity toward others can attain this level of regard among so many different groups and individuals.”
Edwards’ accomplishments span far beyond the exceptional support he provides for the library. One of the nominations, co-signed by 9 members of the University’s female soccer team shared the following: “Tyjuan spends countless hours at various athletic events – which means quite a bit when spectator turnout sometimes extends only to parents who live nearby. In the case of the women's soccer team, he has traveled to Wheaton twice, both to watch NCAA Tournament regional games and cheer us on in cold and rainy weather. This past season, after we had experience several hard injuries resulting in the loss of several key players and morale, he came and gave us a pre-game pep talk which was just amazing. Tyjuan genuinely cares about us, about the students, and has gone out of his way time and time again in the four years that I have known him to improve the quality of student life here on and off the job.”
The nominees for the third annual awarding of this honor included the following full-time staff members: Vera Beard, International Studies Center; Gene Calloway, Audio-Visual Technologies; Diana Doty, Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities; Kathy Fox, Classical Languages and Literatures; Nancy Gilpin, College Advisor; Diana Gray, Geographical Studies, International Relations, MAPSS; Norval Glover, Residential Commons; Diane Hall, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Physiology; Robert Harstad, Law School; Frances Jones, Residential Commons; Bonnie Kanter, College Advisor; Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Law Library; Mitzi Nakatsuka, Statistics; Rusty Rook, Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Evelyn Steward, School of Social Service Administration; Heidi Thompson, Theater and Performance Studies; Mary Wisniewski, Physical Education & Athletics.
Each nominee received a certificate and letter highlighting some of the comments included in students’ nominations. Tyjuan Edwards was honored at the annual picnic for the Student Services division, hosted by Steve Klass, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University. He received an award certificate, Marlene's chocolate cake, and his name is inscribed on the Marlene F. Richman Award Plaque displayed in the stairwell of the Reynolds Club.