The Outstanding Classified Employee awards are chosen by nominations received by the Awards Committee from all faculty, staff, and students at VIMS. They are awarded in the categories of Facilities/Safety/Trades, Research and Advisory Service, Technical Support, and Administrative Support.
The winner of the 2009 Outstanding Classified Employee for Administrative Support is Ms. Ruth Hershner.
For the past 32 years, Ruth Hershner has worked to make everyone else at VIMS look good—at least in print. She has been a part of every version of a Publications Center VIMS has ever had. From the time when the IBM Selectric typewriter was state-of-the-art, Ruth has produced draft and final output for students, faculty, staff, and administrators. In doing so she has dealt professionally with poor syntax, lousy spelling, quirky personalities, and the pervasive disrespect for impending deadlines. She started her career typing flawless versions of final reports, theses, and dissertations. She moved to cut and paste layouts of reports, when cutting and pasting actually involved scissors and glue. She has taught herself every version of new publications software that came along for the past three decades, learning to design everything from brochures to books. Ruth transformed herself into a graphic artist responsible for many of the Institute's most notable print products.
Beyond her professional accomplishments, Ruth has been an active member of the VIMS community during her entire tenure. For many years she has been a regular volunteer in all sorts of public events for the Institute—staffing booths, putting up signs, answering questions, driving vans, whatever has been needed. She has also been behind the scenes for many VIMS social events from the original pig roasts and Zeiglerama dances, to both the original and the newer version of Santa's annual visit to VIMS. Ruth has also played an unsung, but critical, role in managing the management of the Center for Coastal Resources Management throughout its existence.
For all these reasons, for sustained commitment to excellence, selfless dedication to service, repeated performance under pressure, and demonstrable success making others look good, Ruth richly deserves the award for Outstanding Administrative Support.