Luippold, Tsaknopoulos honored with Chancellor’s Awards

By Mark L. Shelton

UMass Medical School Communications

November 22, 2013

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Bill Tsaknopoulos, director of auxiliary services (at top), receives the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Service from Chancellor Michael F. Collins, while Jack Luippold, director of public safety, was honored with the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Advancing the UMMS Mission by Chancellor Collins.

UMass Medical School Chief of Police Jack Luippold and Director of Auxiliary Services Bill Tsaknopoulos were honored by Chancellor Michael F. Collins as the inaugural recipients of two new Chancellor’s Awards at the Nov. 20 Employee Service Awards Celebration.

Luippold received the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing the UMMS Mission. Tsaknopoulos received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Service.

“There were a number of deserving candidates for each of the awards, and, taken together, these nominees represent the full richness of our campus community,” Chancellor Collins said. “As these new awards take root as an annual tradition on campus, I hope that even more names will be nominated so that we can celebrate those among us who deserve special recognition for their outstanding contributions on behalf of our institution.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing the UMMS Mission and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Service emanated from a 2011 Employee Engagement Survey, which provided valuable feedback from employees who said they sought additional avenues for recognition from campus leadership. An employee committee recommended new recognition programs and awards and the creation of two new Chancellor’s Awards was an integral component of the new employee recognition programs.

The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing the UMMS Mission recognizes an individual staff member or team whose actions make a substantial impact in advancing the mission of the medical school through public service, research, teaching and health care delivery, in one or more of the following ways:

Commitment to the vision and mission of UMMS;

Dedication to always supporting what is in the best interest of UMMS;

Initiative to accomplish goals using new and improved methods;

Vision to see opportunities for change and develop innovative solutions; and

Passion to achieving UMMS goals and mission.

Collins said Luippold has all of those attributes.

“As director of public safety, you intuitively understand the critical importance of ensuring a welcoming and safe environment for all members of our campus community—those who learn, teach, conduct research, work, provide clinical services, seek care or simply visit here,” he said. “Moreover, you keenly recognize your special role in promoting such a secure environment, enabling our mission areas to flourish and our community members to contribute freely to the vitality and dynamism of the campus. Your commitment to our mission and to the safety of everyone on our campus is unmatched.”

Among other attributes, Collins described Luippold as a respected, trustworthy and collaborative leader who has implemented a number of safety-related initiatives and ensured that the campus is fulfilling all of the requirements of the federal Clery Act and helped to develop a uniform alarm “code” system between the school and hospital.

Luippold has been at UMMS for seven years.

The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Community Service honors an individual UMMS staff member or team that provides service to the community in the following ways:

Demonstrates a spirit of commitment to those in need of assistance (veterans, disabled, etc.);

Passionate engagement resulting in a meaningful impact to our community; and

Strengthens relationships within the community.

Tsaknopoulos, who was also honored at the event for 10 years of service, fits the category to a “T,” Collins said.

“Bill is a true champion of individuals with disabilities, terrific ambassador for our medical school and cherished colleague to so many on our campus,” said Collins. “Throughout your tenure here, you have devoted your personal time to supporting the Genesis Club, which has a mission to assist individuals in recovery from mental illness in attaining education, employment, housing, wellness and friendships. What may have started as an informal visit with the Executive Director of the Genesis Club quickly developed into a lasting partnership that has transformed both you and the Club, and enriched our institution.”

Tsaknopoulos’ involvement with the Genesis Club over the past 16 years has its roots in the example set by his late father who, as an employee of the VA hospital, instilled a strong sense of compassion for those who with mental illness and disability.

“Using your position at the medical school,” noted Collins, “you have successfully grown the number of job opportunities available to Genesis Club members—since 1999, over 300 Genesis Club members have worked at the medical school through Genesis employment supports. Currently, there are 17 Club members employed at our school and, according to the Club’s program director, our institution remains the one medical school in the country that employs individuals with mental illness through a Clubhouse employment program.”

Tsaknopoulos serves on the Genesis Club’s Board of Directors and also on the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition. He worked at UMMS for seven years earlier in his career, returning in 2003 as director of auxiliary services.