LTU faculty and staff honored for excellence

Release Date: October 5, 2015


Excellence Awards at LTU

Winners of this year’s excellence awards at LTU are (L-R) Clifton Johnson, Lior Shamir, Patrice Bennett, Robin Leclerc, Joongsub Kim, Matthew Cole, Anne Kohnke, and Aubriex Cason. To their right are the contributors of the awards, President Emeritus Richard Marburger, Frank Marcum, and Henry Horldt, along with LTU President Virinder Moudgil.


Eight members of LTU’s faculty and staff were honored for excellence at the Oct. 1 Lawrence Excellence Awards ceremony in the gallery of the University Technology and Learning Center.

This year’s winners of the Mary E. and Richard E. Marburger Distinguished Achievement Award are:

• Faculty: Matthew Cole – College of Management.
• Staff: Clifton Johnson – Department of eLearning Services.
• Administrator: Aubriex Cason – Office of Admissions.

Cole was praised for his tireless dedication to his students and his extremely supportive teaching style. Students who submitted ballots for this award lauded his innate ability to connect with them both inside and outside the classroom.

He received his bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, his master’s degree in clinical behavioral psychology at Eastern Michigan University, and his PhD in cognitive and social psychology at Wayne State University. He came to LTU 12 years ago as an adjunct in the College of Arts and Sciences and is now on the faculty of the College of Management.

Cason was promoted to assistant director of the Office of Admissions in February. She is considered the ultimate team player by her coworkers and also receives high marks for being an endless source of information for students and their parents. Her engaging personality and commitment to all those with whom she comes in contact represents the best of LTU.

She joined LTU’s Office of Admissions in 2005 after graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She has an MBA from LTU.

Cason spent three years recruiting in Macomb County and managing programs at the Macomb University Center before relocating to Chicago to become the regional admissions counselor. After working for the Ohio State University in Chicago for two years, she returned to Michigan and LTU’s Office of Admissions in 2013.

Johnson of the Department of eLearning Services was nominated for his exceptional competence in designing, planning, and implementing the installation of new computer cabling in over 100 classrooms. He is also noted for his cheerful disposition and dedication to Lawrence Tech.
He started working at LTU in 2001 as the technology support coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, he joined eLearning where his responsibilities expanded to classrooms university-wide.

Johnson has an associate degree in applied science for electrical power systems from the Community College of the Air Force and a bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Maryland. He is a decorated Air Force veteran with 21 years of service.

This year’s Marburger Champion for Institutional Excellence and Preeminence is Professor Joonsub Kim of the College of Architecture and Design. He received this award for his work in securing and organizing the Structures for Inclusion (SFI) 2015 international conference held in Detroit in April. In addition, the Public Interest Design (PID) Institute had an event on LTU’s campus. The two events attracted more than 330 people, including many from other countries.

He came to LTU in 2000 and for many years has been the director of LTU’s Detroit Studio.

A native of South Korea, Kim received his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Hongik University in Seoul, two master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a dual master’s degree in city planning and architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his PhD in architecture from the University of Michigan.

The recipient of the 2015 Teaching and Learning Using Technology Award is Associate Professor Lior Shamir of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. He was recognized for creating a software tool his students use to research and analyze large databases.

“Excitement is what occurs when students enter the learning environment created by Dr. Shamir,” one person wrote in nominating Shamir. “He engages his students in the leading areas of research in a broad range of disciplines by having students use internationally recognized big data technology and tools, which he himself has developed. … Students at LTU [have been] published in leading peer review journals in astronomy, biomedical engineering, and environmental science.”

A native of Israel, Shamir received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics from Tel Aviv University, his master’s from Open University and his Ph.D. in computational science and engineering from Michigan Tech. He began teaching at LTU in 2010.

Assistant Professor Anne Kohnke of the College of Management is this year’s recipient of the Henry B. and Barbara J. Horldt Excellence in Teaching Award.

One of her nominators wrote, “I appreciated that she ran an information- and content-dense course that was not filled with irrelevant trivia to fill time. … She truly went above and beyond to be available to help and was a pleasure to work with. Moreover, Dr. Kohnke is a mentor, particularly to women … in a traditionally male-dominated field.”

Kohnke received an MBA from Lawrence Tech and a PhD in organization development and change management from Benedictine University in Illinois. She has taught at LTU since 2002.

Every year there are two recipients of the Mary Ann Marcum Customer Service award. This year’s winners are:

• Patrice Bennett – Campus Safety/Mail Services.
• Robin LeClerc – Office of University Advancement.

Bennett started at LTU in 2004 as a facilities worker with the Aramark Group. In 2013, she joined Campus Safety as part of the three-person team to handle the mailroom activities.

She delivers mail and packages campus-wide, always with a smile no matter the weather or the workload. As an example, when someone called looking for post office boxes and there were none in the mailroom, she went to the post office herself and delivered them in about an hour.

Bennett is a native of Jamaica and recently became a U.S. citizen.

In her role as director of University Special Events and Services, Leclerc supports or works with almost every office and department on campus. She often needs to be on campus very early in the morning or very late in the evening to support various events and activities.

Leclerc oversees the Tech Invitational, LTU’s annual golf outing that has raised more than $850,000 in support of scholarships and student projects. She also provides support for the Affleck House, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that is owned by the University. She has developed a tour program and trained the docents who conduct those tours.

One of the people who nominated Leclerc stated that she “looks after a myriad of details most of us would miss and always seeks to improve. She works with people all over campus, and does so in a good-natured spirit of cooperation.”




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