Wayne Robinson honored with Elizabeth Gillis Award

In nominations for the 2013 Elizabeth Gillis Award for Exemplary Service, colleagues described Wayne Robinson as the man who “saved the Centennial Celebration.” While his 11th-hour creation of an invitation and RSVP system for centennial events drew the admiration of his associates, it is just one of many accomplishments during Robinson’s 21 years at Rice.

Wayne Robinson and Gillis

Wayne Robinson and Elizabeth Gillis

President David Leebron presented Robinson, director of development administration for Development Services, with the award during the town hall meeting April 4 in Student Concert Hall. Established in 2000 by the Rice Board of Trustees, the Gillis Award recognizes outstanding achievements and service by a staff member in support of the university’s mission.

Darrow Zeidenstein, vice president for resource development, said that throughout the centennial year, many employees shined, but no one’s achievements surpassed Robinson’s.

“No one individual worked harder or gave more of his time and spirit to the centennial than Wayne Robinson,” Zeidenstein said. “Wayne developed the budgeting system and, though sleep-deprived, spearheaded the invitation system that enabled the Centennial Celebration to launch and be the success it was.”

Not only has Robinson developed a reputation for stepping up in times of crisis, he is also known for his year-round positive attitude.

“Wayne’s spirit of customer service and can-do attitude is universally acknowledged across the division,” Zeidenstein said. “One clear instance that comes to mind occurred at a Resource Development Division meeting when I announced Wayne’s 20th anniversary working at Rice.

“Instead of the usual polite applause, Wayne received a standing ovation.”

Karen Rubinsky, executive director of development services, said Robinson is an integral and delightful part of the team.

“He embraces all tasks, no matter how large or how small, with professionalism, thoughtfulness and dedication,” she said. “Wayne is very organized and constantly searches for ways to improve and streamline processes.”

Robinson joined the Rice staff 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.

In 2004, Robinson was recognized by the Rice Board of Trustees as part of the universitywide team that designed and implemented Rice’s first Administrative Career Training program. Last year he was named a Centennial Star for his contribution to excellence at Rice.

Robinson joins a distinguished list of recipients of the Elizabeth Gillis Award. To view past recipients of the award, visit http://people.rice.edu/ GillisAward/.



About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.