Mauricio Benitez, executive administrator in the Department of Chemistry, received special recognition at the Sept. 19 Rice Board of Trustees meeting for outstanding service to his department, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the university.
Daniel Carson, dean of the Wiess School, praised Benitez’s work ethic, professional development and outstanding advocacy for his employees.
In a letter nominating Benitez for the honor, Carson described him as a compassionate and understanding supervisor who listens and assesses before acting to resolve personnel matters.
“Mauricio is simply one of the nicest people we have had the privilege to work with at Rice, both during his tenure in Natural Sciences, and also during his time in Human Resources and Engineering,” Carson wrote. “He has earned the respect of his peers, central administration and faculty across campus.”
Seiichi Matsuda, chair of the Department of Chemistry, praised Benitez’s work throughout the staff member’s 20 years at Rice to promote the university’s mission “to better our world through path-breaking research and unsurpassed teaching.”
“Mauricio has an insatiable appetite to learn new skills and has a warehouse full of expertise gained from working many positions at Rice,” Matsuda wrote. “He has been terrific at promoting the faculty’s efforts to raise funding and he helps us maximize the impact of our funding.”
Matsuda credits Benitez’s success as a great manager to his ability to understand people.
“He has been tireless in his efforts to promote best practices and maintain high expectations,” wrote Matsuda. “In doing so, he has developed a more effective staff, a more successful faculty and a substantially stronger Department of Chemistry.”