Meet this week’s Centennial Stars

Ebling and Robinson lauded for can-do attitudes

To celebrate Rice’s centennial, this year the university will honor 100 staff members who represent the best of Rice culture. Each week, Centennial Stars will be recognized for their contributions to excellence, and we’ll introduce them in Rice News.

This week’s Centennial Stars are recognized by their colleagues for their professionalism and can-do attitudes. They are Pam Ebling, an accountant in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Wayne Robinson, director of development administration for Development Services.

Pam Ebling

Ebling, who came to Rice in 2008, is touted by her colleges for her outstanding accounting and organizational skills, professionalism and meticulousness.

“Her efficiency and pleasant personality make our department a better place to work,” colleagues noted in a nomination letter for the award.

As a “model colleague,” Ebling contributes significantly to the continuing success of the Chemistry and Bioengineering Department, the letter said.

“Pam joined us in the spring of 2008 while our department was in the middle of a significant staff transition,” the letter said. “Despite the fact that we could offer her only minimal support at that time, Pam hit the ground running and was able to clear a huge backlog of outstanding invoices, travel expenses and grant accounting issues.”

Ebling then began to streamline the accounting procedures of the department.

“With her professionalism and attention to detail, Pam was also able within a short period of time to re-establish an atmosphere of mutual trust between our department and other key administrative offices,” the letter said. “To put it simply, Pam has made everybody’s life simpler and enabled the faculty in the department to become more efficient and to focus on their research, teaching and other duties.”

In 2010, Ebling received the Distinguished Employee Award for her contributions.

Wayne Robinson

Robinson has spent 21 years at Rice, beginning in 1991 as a database management coordinator in the Department of Physics. He was promoted to laboratory administrator in Bonner Nuclear Lab in 1994 and transferred to Development Services in 1997 before being promoted to his current position in 2008.

“Wayne is our division’s go-to person for all logistics,” wrote colleagues in a letter nominating him for the award.

During his more than two decades of service, Robinson has been “a key force in Rice’s success,” colleagues said.

“His calm demeanor and can-do attitude inspire confidence in his colleagues … and he delivers results,” the letter said.

In his current role, Robinson manages the day-to-day details for the division’s budget and personnel activities. He has worked to create divisional policies to balance the university’s documentation needs with the division’s workload, the letter said.

“Even before the university worked on a digitized filing solution, Wayne implemented a digital filing cabinet for divisional documents, saving space and increasing the ability to locate needed invoices,” colleagues wrote. “When called upon to aid in special projects, he is always willing to lend a hand and has recently built a comprehensive database for tracking centennial event invitations.”

In 2004, Robinson was recognized by the Rice Board of Trustees for representing a working group that designed and presented the university’s first Administrative Career Training program.

To nominate someone as a Centennial Star, go to For more information, contact Rebecca Millet at

To view previous Centennial Stars, visit

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.